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Reputation Management for Attorneys

18 min


Feb 6, 2024
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Modern clients rely heavily on online reviews before choosing legal services. About 90% of consumers make decisions based on these reviews. If your law firm's name is associated with negative reviews, clients are much less likely to do business with your organization. Conversely, if a client researches your law firm online and finds you flush with five-star reviews, they will be confident that your organization can assist with their legal needs.

Therefore, proactive law firm reputation management is crucial. This often-underestimated aspect of digital marketing is just as essential as legal search engine optimization or lawyer pay-per-click advertising to ensure your success.

Start Reputation Attorney Research

If your law firm has an online presence, it can begin accumulating reviews, even if you have not established your own formal review mechanism on your website. These reviews will most likely be posted on your Google Business Profile page or listed on third-party review sites.

When researching your law firm, make sure to check popular review sites like Yelp and Lawyers.com. In addition to searching these review sites, conduct inquiries on the Better Business Bureau database, Martindale-Hubbell.

Pay special attention to negative reviews, as these will provide insights into client perception of your law firm. Negative reviews are of particular concern because they can affect your reputation online and diminish the efficacy of your search engine optimization and pay-per-click (PPC) marketing efforts, but more on that topic in a later section.

Google as Your Investigative Resource

Google as Your Investigative Resource

You do not need to perform an independent search on every website. The majority of your online review research can be conducted exclusively through Google.

When using Google as your primary investigative resource, we suggest putting your browser into "incognito mode" by pressing CTRL+N+Shift simultaneously. Otherwise, Google will display tailored results to you if it determines that you are affiliated with your law firm.

There are several different tactics that you can use to conduct lawyer reputation management research. The simplest approach involves querying the name of your law firm. The search engine results pages should contain your law firm's Google Business Profile page, your company website, and any reviews from past clients. If any past clients have reviewed your law firm on third-party review sites, those web pages should appear in your results as well.

In addition to querying the name of your law firm, you can also search for the names of individual attorneys who work with your organization. Another tactic involves searching for competitors in your area so that you can gain insights into their online reputations.

Establish Your Brand Assets

The natural starting point is to confirm that you have claimed your business on Google. If you have, then you will be able to leverage your Google Business Profile to monitor client reviews. Google reviews are highly regarded by 87% of users, and you will also be able to provide some information about your business on the Google Business Profile, including your phone number, email address, practice areas, and business hours.

After you have set up your Google Business Profile, turn your attention to some of those third-party review sites that we discussed earlier. Lawyers.comAvvo, and FindLaw are great resources for making your law firm more visible on the world wide web.

When setting up each account, ensure that your law firm information is consistent across every platform. Inconsistencies will negatively impact your online reputation and make it challenging for you to acquire new clients.

While you are in the process of setting up these lawyer directories, be on the lookout for negative reviews. Many of these platforms allow past or existing clients to leave reviews, even if you have not officially claimed your business or created a profile.

Learn How to Deal with Reviews

Learn How to Deal with Reviews

Once you have conducted your initial online reputation management research, you will have a much better understanding of the public perception of your law firm. The next step is learning how to respond to both negative and positive reviews.

Positive Reviews Approach

When a past or current client takes the time to leave your law firm positive feedback, you should return the favor by responding to the message. Specifically, we recommend that you do things like:

  • Say "thank you"
  • Drop the name of your law firm in your response
  • Engage in some mild self-promotion
Remember, other potential clients will see these reviews and your responses. If you post the same generic reply to every client, your law firm may come off as impersonal.

An example of a generic response is "Thanks for choosing our law firm." Instead of using vague verbiage, your reply should look something like this "Thank you for the positive feedback. [Your law firm's name] was glad to provide expert legal services to assist with your need."

The above example includes the name of your law firm and describes your legal services as "expert." While these small details may seem insignificant, they will influence public perception of your law firm.

Negative Reviews Approach

Handling negative reviews requires much more finesse.

When responding to negative reviews, we suggest that you:

  • Empathize
  • Promote
  • Move the conversation offline
  • Keep it professional

Showing empathy is by far the most important aspect of managing negative reviews.

If you browse business review boards, there are plenty of examples of business leaders failing to show empathy. These exchanges are cringe-worthy, and they make the companies look terrible, even if the client review was unnecessarily harsh. Examples of what not to do include:

  • Placing blame on the reviewer
  • Arguing online in a public forum
  • Making snide or sarcastic comments
  • Engaging in multiple exchanges with the reviewer

When responding to negative reviews, start by apologizing for the inconvenience or issue. Phrase your apology in a way that does not necessarily accept responsibility for the issue but still demonstrates that you would like to remedy the problem. For instance, you could inform a disgruntled client that you are "sorry that you are experiencing these concerns."

After you have demonstrated empathy, you should engage in some light promotion and then attempt to move the conversation out of the public forum.

You could use phrasing such as "We strive to provide our clients with expert legal guidance and would like to discuss your concerns in greater detail. Please contact our office at your earliest convenience so that we can gather additional information about the issues that you experienced."

If the disgruntled reviewer never contacts your firm or leaves a malicious reply, do not pursue the matter further. The exception is if they make libelous statements intended to damage your online reputation. In this scenario, file a grievance with the review platform.

Be sure to read our dedicated blog post on the 10 Best Lawyer Review Sites for enhanced law firm reputation management.

Collect More Reviews for Attorney Reputation Management

Collect More Reviews for Attorney Reputation Management

When it comes to reputation management for lawyers, the volume of reviews plays a crucial role. Acquiring a substantial number of positive reviews can be quite challenging due to the hurdles of time and effort. If the process of leaving a review is too tedious or time-consuming, clients are less likely to provide feedback. To tackle this, it's essential to make the review process seamless and efficient, while actively seeking reviews from satisfied clients through effective review collection strategies.

It's worth noting that most web users scan search results pages and pay attention to review count and score. They are more likely to click on results with more reviews, even if it's not in the top position. Striving for a higher volume of reviews becomes even more crucial in law firm reputation management.

Below, we examine how you can more effectively solicit reviews in a manner that does not negatively impact the client experience.

Request Reviews in Time

When it comes to soliciting online reviews, it is critical that you make these requests at the right time. For example, you probably should not ask for online reviews immediately after discussing topics like your fee schedule and retainer amount. Discussions about financial topics already have a high likelihood of causing friction, so why add to the tension?

Clients are much more willing to spend time and energy reviewing your law firm after you have successfully helped them navigate a significant legal issue.

Remember, in-person requests are far more effective, so ask when you are face-to-face if possible. However, there is nothing wrong with sending online review requests via digital channels, especially if this has been your primary method of communicating with the client throughout the relationship.

Assess Client Satisfaction

When preparing to ask for a review, gauge the client's contentment. You can ask something like, "are you satisfied with the services that our law firm has provided?" Their answer will reveal whether you should request a review — and possibly areas in your practice that you can improve upon.

However, a client's satisfaction levels can be much less clear when providing general legal services such as document preparation. While you definitely do not want to request online reviews from disgruntled clients, you may not want to solicit them from clients who are "lukewarm" towards your law firm.

Use Email to Request Reviews

Email review requests can be an effective tool for online reputation management. Sending review requests via email is fast and efficient. More importantly, it provides clients with the opportunity to leave positive reviews immediately.

When you request a review in person, you have to hope that clients will not forget about your request by the time they leave your office. Conversely, sending review requests via email allows you to include the link to your review page or Google Business Profile directly in the body of the message.

Remember, the more convenient you make this process for your clients, the better the chances that they will actually review your law firm.

Make a Proper Fill-In Form

Make a Proper Fill-In Form

While there are many review sites out there, you should still include a review or testimonials page directly on your website. In order for this tactic to be effective, you will need to create a custom review form and publish it on your site.

When creating your fillable form, make sure to provide spaces for the following information:

  • Identifying client information
  • The type of services rendered
  • The results
  • What the client liked about your law firm

Keep in mind that some clients only want to provide basic information about the review. Therefore, most of the fields on your form should be optional. This setup will give clients the freedom to leave as many — or as few — details about their experience as they would like.

The goal is to create a universal form that applies to all clients. Users should be able to leave a review whether you provided extensive legal services or simply assisted with document preparation.

Simplify the Review Process

If you want to accumulate as many positive reviews as possible, then you must make the process extremely simple.

When clients visit your review page, the form should be easy to find and user-friendly. While it is important to leave enough space on the form for clients to provide detailed feedback, the form should not take more than two to three minutes to complete.

By creating a simplified review process, you can demonstrate that you value your clients' time. You will also increase your ability to acquire reviews. In turn, this will improve the effectiveness of your digital marketing efforts and help you optimize your online reputation management capabilities.

Avoid Falsified Testimonials

When engaging in online reputation management, some businesses elect to create fictitious reviews to bolster their brand images. Not only is this approach immoral, but it can absolutely ruin your law firm's credibility for the foreseeable future. As if that were not bad enough, Google and other search engines have taken a hard stance against falsifying testimonials.

As noted above, you can actively solicit reviews from customers. You can even offer them incentives for leaving your law firm a review. However, these incentives must be reasonable and cannot be contingent on them leaving a positive review.

Top Tips for Managing Your Attorney Reputation Strategy

If you want to create an effective reputation management strategy for your law firm, we recommend that you:

Optimize Your Google Business Profile

Optimize Your Google Business Profile

An optimized Google Business Profile will lay the foundation for all other reputation management efforts. Formerly referred to as "Google My Business," Google Business Profile is a platform designed specifically for local companies in specified industries, including the legal sector.

The first step to optimizing your Google Business Profile page is to claim your business. To do this, visit the Google Business Profile site and select "Manage Now."

From there, you will be prompted to input the name of your law firm. Follow the subsequent on-screen prompts and provide the requested information about your business. If your law firm has multiple locations in different cities, you will need to repeat this process for each address.

When creating your Google Business Profile account, make sure to complete the "Additional Information" section. While this section is not necessarily required, it does give you the opportunity to provide some critical information about your services, including your areas of practice.

Once you are done providing the requested information, you will need to complete the verification process. You can do this via phone or email. Phone-based verification is the most expedient, which is why we generally recommend this approach.

Next, you will need to add some offers to your profile to make your services more appealing to prospective clients. For example, you can advertise free case reviews or consultations.

You will also need to ensure that you do not have any duplicate listings. If you or another member of the firm has previously created a listing on Google and you later create a new Google Business Profile account, a duplicate will exist.

To check for duplicates, search your firm name and the city where you are located. If more than one profile listing appears, notify Google that one of them is a duplicate by selecting the "Edit Business Details" option from the menu.

The final step is to start acquiring reviews. Accumulating these reviews strengthens your profile's visibility in Google's algorithm, boosting online reputation management for law firms.

For a more detailed guide on optimizing your Google My Business profile, check out The Ultimate Guide to Google My Business for Lawyers

Use Review Manager

Review management software does much more than just managing your client reviews. The best solutions will help you locate duplicate listings on Google and third-party websites. This approach gives you the opportunity to report duplicates and improve your online visibility.

Modern review management solutions increase transparency as well. These platforms make it easy to track, sort, and respond to reviews about your business. Although managing your online reputation will still require you to dedicate considerable time and resources, review management technology can make the entire endeavor less tedious.

To dive deeper into the benefits of law firm automation, be sure to explore our blog post about Law Firm Automation

Monitor Reviews Data

One of the biggest challenges associated with managing your online reputation is keeping up with all of your various business listings. While listing your business on a multitude of platforms is critical to maximizing visibility, it is all too easy to overlook some of these listings when monitoring review data.

Review management software can simplify this process by categorizing reviews by provider. These technologies also allow you to monitor trends and see how your firm's online reputation stacks up with that of the competition.

However, you are still responsible for performing the review monitoring.

Implement PR Strategies

Effective law firm reputation management often involves strategic PR efforts. Attending industry events and participating in conferences can significantly bolster your firm's image. These engagements provide opportunities to network with peers, showcase expertise, and build credibility. By speaking at conferences or hosting informative sessions, you can position your firm as a thought leader in your legal field.

Additionally, actively engaging in public relations, such as issuing press releases or contributing legal insights to publications, can enhance your firm's visibility and reputation. Crafting a positive public image through these PR strategies can help attract clients, instill trust, and solidify your law firm's standing in the legal community.

Renovate Your Reputation Management Plan

Whether you choose to use reputation management software or partner with a dedicated firm, you will still need a cohesive plan. If you choose the former approach, you will have to create this plan yourself. Once you have created your plan, you will need to routinely revisit it to ensure that it is producing the desired results.

If you elect to partner with an experienced reputation management firm, they will create the plan for you. This approach is particularly appealing to many legal professionals because it gives them the freedom to focus on the day-to-day operations of the firm.

Final Thoughts on Online Reputation Management

Looking for the best lawyer reputation management? Grow Law Firm has got you covered. Our legal marketing team appreciates the complexities of your field and is perfectly positioned to guard and enhance your reputation. We help you attract new clients while letting you focus on what you do best.

Don't take on reputation management alone, especially if you're new to digital marketing. Partner with us for an effective law firm SEO services. Discover more about our online reputation management services and reach out to Grow Law Firm today.


  • Do Anonymous Reviews Damage Reputation Management for Lawyers?

    Anonymous reviews from trustworthy websites like Avvo, Lawyers.com, or Google won't harm your reputation. But be cautious of reviews from suspicious third-party sites, which can undermine your reputation management efforts. If anonymous reviews seem generic, potential clients may doubt their authenticity. Use anonymous reviews to your advantage by capturing screenshots from reputable platforms and featuring them on your testimonials page.

  • Can Attorney Reputation Management Help Your SEO?

    Lawyer reputation management has minimal impact on general SEO rankings, but it's crucial for local SEO. Google prioritizes local businesses with good reviews. Align your reputation management and SEO strategies to address this. Consider getting law firm reputation management and SEO support from a versatile digital marketing firm to ensure success.

  • Do Reviews Affect PPC?

    Reviews don't directly impact PPC, but potential clients make quick judgments based on reviews. Negative reviews can deter them from engaging with your ads or content. Positive reviews increase the chances of them checking out your content. Effective PPC management is also important. Consider partnering with a firm that offers PPC services for lawyers to maximize your paid marketing efforts.

  • How Do I Act in Case of Defamation?

    Defamation can be addressed through legal action, but it's time-consuming. Reputation management services can resolve client concerns and prevent PR issues. For clear instances of defamation, you can file a complaint with the review platform. If you can prove the reviewer never did business with your firm, the platform may remove the review and potentially take action against the reviewer.

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