Online Reputation Management for Lawyers: How to Be Proactive and Monitor your Reputation
As a lawyer, your reputation is an important part of your practice, your business and your livelihood. If you’re like most lawyers I’ve worked with over the past 15 years, you receive a vast majority of your clients (and by implication, your income) from word of mouth referrals.
Since your ability to win new clients flows from your reputation, it is prudent to protect that reputation to the best of your ability. Today, in the internet age, a smudged reputation is but a mouse click away. A disgruntled client, a former employee, contractor, neighbor, spouse or other person can launch a near full scale war on your reputation in their spare time and from the convenience of their neighborhood coffee shop.
It’s more important than ever to be equipped to fight this battle and to protect what you’ve worked so hard to build up over many years. Today, I’m going to highlight just a few of the area you should pay attention to, and recommend a few tools to get you started. In a future post we’ll take a deeper dive and look more closely at some specific recommendations.
Adopt a proactive mindset.
This is the hardest thing to change, because it involves our own preconceived notions around what’s “possible.” We all think it can never happen to us. Trust me on this. You’re one decision away from a PR crisis. It can happen to anyone.
When it comes to your reputation, ignorance is definitely NOT bliss. You simply must make this a priority. I know there a million other responsibilities pulling at you and vying for your time: clients, payroll, lease negotiations, blah blah blah. Reputation management is exactly like networking in this critical way: If you wait until you actually need it, it’s too late
Monitor your online reputation.
If you are not monitoring your online reputation, you could be under attack right now. An attack could be under way for weeks or months and you would not know about it.
There are two things you should do right now:
- Run a search for your name and your firm name in both Google and Bing. Make sure you are logged out of each service to replicate what someone who didn’t know you would see (personalized search results can skew what you see if you are logged into your accounts). Take note of what you see. Run these searches monthly. Put a tickler in your file to do this the same time each month.
- Set up a Google alert for your name and your firm name. This will alert you when any material is picked up and indexed by Google with those words on the page.
That’s it for today. Those two things should get your started. We’ll revisit this topic within the next few weeks and I’ll make some specific recommendations about ways you can proactively manage your reputation.