One of the most common questions we get from attorneys who contact us for an initial consultation is “what can we do to get rid of a negative review?”
One frustrated former client or disgruntled former employee can write a negative review with untrue or misleading information about the law firm. What can be done?
The answer depends on the depth of the law firm’s internet presence. For instance, some law firms have almost no internet presence. Therefore, when you Google the name of their law firm or an individual lawyer working for the firm then one of the first things to pop up on the search engine is the negative review.
Obviously, this one review can make a huge impact on the business because it makes up a huge portion of the law firm’s on-line presence. However, for law firms with little or no internet presence, the best cure for a negative review is to create numerous pages of positive information about the law firm on hundreds of powerful websites.
For law firms that have begun the process of creating a strong internet presence, fighting negative reviews requires strengthening the ranks for the positive material so that the few pieces of negative content are more difficult to find. Contact Internet LAVA to discuss how we can help you quickly create a professional and powerful on-line presence.
When You Find a Negative Review Try and Correct the Concern
For most attorneys, when a negative review is posted the attorney knows exactly who posted the negative review. When possible, contact the former client and offer solutions to address their concerns. The client will often be impressed that their voice is being heard. The source of their frustration is often feeling powerless. By responding to their concerns immediately you are showing the client that you care about their opinion and that you are willing to help make them satisfied with your services.
In other cases, the attorney or law firm may not know who posted the negative review. In many of these cases, one negative review serves as a wake up call to the business to pay attention to difficult clients and try to stay in close communication with them so that their concerns and frustrations are heard.
When that One Negative Review Actually Helps Your Reputation
With a powerful internet presence, one negative review has almost no impact. In fact, it may actually help the business because it shows that other reviews and information about the law firm are also genuine. In other words, the numerous positive reviews for the law firm become more powerful when the viewer also sees one negative review. No viewer would believe that any business could have nothing but positive reviews. So the viewer tends to trust the positive reviews more when they also see one isolated negative review.
Getting Numerous Positive Reviews of Your Law Firm
Getting positive reviews tends to happen naturally as you increase your internet presence. When your clients tend to find you through your on-line presence, they also tend to be the types of clients that would leave a review about your business. Depending on the bar rules for your particular state, you can send your client a closing letter inviting them to make a comment about the quality of your legal services on one of your business listings that makes leaving such a review particularly convenient. Make sure to not ask for a review until the representation is completely concluded.
Most of our clients report that during the initial consultation the potential client will mention, “I decided to hire you because I read a lot of positive reviews about your practice.” These same types of clients tend to be the type of person most likely to leave a positive review at the end of the representation if they are highly satisfied with the attorney’s services. As these reviews become more and more common, managing your on-line reputation also becomes more important.
The Future of On-Line Reputation Management for Attorneys
The internet has consistently changed businesses and entire industries by making information more readily available. It should come as no surprise to attorneys that these reviews by former clients are expected to increase exponentially over the coming years.
As bar associations struggle with ways to manage an attorney’s efforts to advertise on-line, the market place is quickly sorting out the regulation of shady attorneys with incredibly efficiency.
Although not a perfect system, if all clients left reviews about all dealing with all attorneys the public would have a tremendous amount of information at their disposal. Over the next five years we predict these types of comprehensive reviews of attorneys (and all business people in the service industry) will be more common place. Those attorneys and law firms that get control of their on-line reputations early will have a clear advantage.
How Can I Create this Comprehensive On-line Presence for My Law Firm?
At Internet LAVA we create an entire on-line presence for the attorney so that the entire first three pages of Google are content about the law firm and attorneys that we create. For instance, our attorneys have the following on-line presence when you Google their name:
- The law firm’s main website;
- The law firm’s main blog;
- On-line business profiles or local business listings on the map function of Google, Bing and Yahoo;
- Facebook Business Profile;
- Merchant Circle Business Profile (similar to Facebook for small businesses but better for SEO purposes);
- LinkedIn profiles for each attorney and for the law firm (these often show up at the top of the search engines especially for the names of the individual attorneys);
- Law firm and attorney specific business profiles such as LawLink profile for each individual attorney, an AVVO profile for each individual attorney, and a Justia / Cornell LII profile for each individual attorney;
- Other professional profiles such as BizNik and Naymz; and
- Hundreds of other business and attorney profiles on some of the most powerful websites such as Insider Pages and Yelp.
Our Problem is Bigger Than One Negative Review
For certain types of legal practices, negative reviews are more common just because of the type of clients that they represent. For example, individuals in family law cases tend to be very emotional when a ruling doesn’t go their way. After all, the individual’s personal wealth and child custody issues can be affected. Obviously, family law attorneys have to be careful to manage the expectations of their clients and to stay in close contact with them about the developments in their case.
The less obvious answer involves being aware of the negative review as soon as it is posted. By knowing about it when it occurs, you are in the best position to contact that client to discuss their frustration with them. In many cases, you can ask the person to take down the negative review. Just the fact that you contact them to discuss their frustration may make a difference in the way they view the situation.
However, if you don’t know about the negative review for several months then your options are more limited. Additionally, the individual that posted the review becomes harder to identify and harder to contact. Even if you discuss the matter with the individual months later, they would be less likely to take down the review given the lack of a timely response.
Our Solutions – We Help You Own Your Name On-line
Working with an internet marketing company that cares about your on-line reputation is equally important. Attorneys understand that their reputation is everything. These attorneys work hard to impress the other attorneys, judges, and business people that they come into contact with each day. As internet marketing becomes increasingly important, attorneys will also start to realize that their on-line reputation will become influence their off-line reputation as well.
Contact Internet LAVA to discuss your internet marketing needs. We would with attorneys interested in dominating the search engines for their particular practice areas in their particular jurisdictions. We work with medium and large law firms to manage their on-line reputation. Contact us today at 1-800-292-LAVA (5282) for a free consultation to discuss your concerns and long-term goals.
Read more about: Law Firm Reputation Management