Maximize Your Business With Law Firm Reputation Management
By Adrian Aguilera
Reputation has built up the tiniest of law firms and torn down the mightiest legal empires. If you want consistent client leads and conversions (without becoming blacklisted by prospects), focus on your firm’s public image. Law firm reputation management centers around treating clients well from start to finish—no matter how big or small the case. Then, requesting them to leave a positive (hopefully detailed) online review of their experience.
Your firm should also form a strategy for responding to negative reviews/feedback and build a proactive media relations campaign.
In this article, we’ll discuss why reputation management for lawyers is important and share practical tips for effectively managing firm reputation.
Why is Law Firm Reputation Management Important?
No matter how great of an attorney you are in the courtroom, actively monitoring your online lawyer reputation is vital for continued business.
Consider these statistics from a 2022 consumer review survey conducted by BrightLocal (an SEO marketing agency):
- 76% of respondents consider online reviews as ‘important’ or ‘very important’ when hiring an expert in the legal services industry
- 77% of consumers ‘always’ or ‘regularly’ read online reviews when browsing for local businesses—with 49% trusting consumer reviews as much as friend and family recommendations
And with online business on the rise (especially on mobile devices), proactive attorney reputation management needs to be one of the biggest, ongoing elements of your marketing strategy.
How Can I Improve My Law Firm’s Reputation?
Reputation management for lawyers should include a proactive and reactive strategy involving all online news and reviews. Below, we outline the elements of how to build this campaign.
Determine Your Firm’s Current Reputation
The first step in building and maintaining a positive image is determining where it currently stands. Start by searching for your firm in Google—preferably under incognito mode, so your search isn’t influenced by your browsing history.
Key terms you should use for searching your firm’s reputation include:
- Firm name
- Attorneys’ names
- Attorneys’ names followed by the word “attorney” and “lawyer”
- Your firm’s name plus the word “reviews”
Peruse all review sites and take inventory of all positive and negative reviews. If you have a few negative reviews, don’t become alarmed. This information provides the base point of how clients view your firm.
Sites that provide the greatest amount of reviews typically include:
- Google Reviews
- Better Business Bureau (BBB)
If you do not have a profile on any of the sites above, create one to get your business started. In addition, search key terms (using the same recommendations above) among your three biggest competitors to measure how you stand against them.
Ask for Client Feedback
As the old saying goes: “You miss 100% of shots you don’t take.” If you’ve put in the hard work and delighted a client, politely ask them to leave a review on a review platform. If one site suffers from a slew of negative feedback, direct them specifically to that platform to balance out the responses.
Also, try to secure as detailed a review as possible to build your firm reputation. This ensures that people who read your firm’s positive reviews don’t assume they are fake. For example, if most of your good reviews state vague comments like “best attorney ever,” it may cause people to second guess the legitimacy of the feedback. It also doesn’t provide any true value on how your firm solved their matter.
Below are questions you can ask when requesting a detailed review:
- What specific challenge(s) led you to choose our legal services?
- Did our firm communicate with you during all aspects of the case?
- How did we help resolve your matter?
- Were you pleased with the result?
- Would you refer any family and friends to our firm?
- Are there any other elements of our service that you enjoyed?
- Do you mind providing your name and a photo so we can include your review on our website?
Lastly, follow up on your request via email and include a link to the review site of your choice. You can also provide an incentive, such as a drawing to win a gift card.
There are, however, certain ethical guidelines for these types of exchanges. Check your local firm’s jurisdiction to ensure you are in compliance before providing any value incentives in exchange for a positive review.
Collect Positive Reviews and Respond to Negative Feedback
Not every review will contain a glowing overview of why your firm is “the best.” That’s why ongoing reputation management for lawyers accounts for positive and negative reviews. Collect the most nuanced feedback for positive reviews and include these on your website.
For negative feedback, politely respond to each post with an apology (if the review is accurate) and an offer to make things right. Include your professional contact information so the reviewer can directly reach out to you. Also, include any updates regarding new customer service changes within the firm. For example, adding a customer relationship management (CRM) software would warrant a mention as it contains various tools for improving client communication.
Responses to negative reviews provide some potential benefits:
- The reviewer may update their review so it reads more positively.
- Your response shows all other readers that your firm values exceptional customer service.
On the other hand, you should also follow a few don’ts when replying to a negative review:
- DON’T argue with the reviewer, as this shows that you care more about being right than valuing their business.
- DON’T disclose any details of the client’s case as this goes against confidentiality ethics.
- DON’T respond without a way of remedying the situation. A response without a way to contact you directly (and in private) defeats the purpose of trying to make the client happy.
Lastly, if a site generates a high amount of negative reviews with a consistent complaint, immediately fix the issue within your firm.
For more information on improving client communication, check out this article highlighting how lawyers can better communicate.
Create a Media Relations Plan
A media relations plan is an essential element of proactive attorney reputation management as it’s a way to secure a news article on your law firm. You may also be able to publish guest posts, where you write content for other websites to generate brand awareness and traffic for your firm’s site. Start by creating an Excel sheet with at least 10 of the top legal industry trade publications.
Examples of trade publications include:
- Attorney At Law Magazine
- Law Technology Today
- The National Law Review
- Above The Law
- American Bar Association (ABA) Journal
Reach out to the editor of each relevant publication and request a guest post on a topic that benefits their readers. For example, you can pitch a guest article on the growth in the usage of case management software for improving client communication. Once you secure a guest post, write your article specifically on the subject. Do not over-promote your firm. Any firm promotion should be in the boilerplate with a very light mention within the article (where relevant).
As a result of regularly securing guest posts, you’ll improve your firm’s credibility, which enhances lawyer reputation.
Use MyCase To Boost Your Firm’s Reputation With Clients
When it comes to attorney reputation management, MyCase has the software tools you’ll need to improve your client communications and productivity.
MyCase software helps by:
- Boosting client intake
- Maximizing client communication
- Automating redundant workflows
- Improving invoicing and payments
- And more!
Try MyCase today risk-free with a 10-day free trial. We offer affordable monthly and yearly subscriptions. Plus, no commitment or credit card is required, and you can cancel anytime.
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