Confidentiality Still Applies When Rebutting Online Reviews

We’ve chatted before about online reputations and how to respond (if at all) to negative online reviews. Defending yourself is a natural reaction, but usually the wrong call as an Oregon lawyer recently discovered.

In a case now on appeal to the Oregon Supreme Court, an Oregon lawyer was suspended for 30 days for revealing a client’s identity and the details of his criminal conviction in response to negative online reviews.

Isn’t it Self Defense?

We don’t really know.

The trial panel did not consider the “self-defense” exception to Oregon RPC 1.6, finding the lawyer did not show that the details contained in his rebuttal were “reasonably necessary” to reveal.

The bar argued the “self-defense” exception applies only to formal proceedings, such as responding to a legal malpractice claim or bar complaint.

Read the full post on NW Sidebar.

What We Do Know

  • The identity of your client is confidential.
  • Revealing details about a case can be equivalent to revealing the client’s name in a universe where people can follow the dots.
  • If you engage online, the fuel you add to the fire will likely push the negative post upward in search results.

What You Should Do

Going back to my post from 2017, here are some suggestions:

  • A reasonable and measured response is key. Blasting people who give you a negative review is not a good business model.
  • You can try contacting the review site and asking for the review’s removal if you can prove the review is false, defamatory or written by a competitor. In the case described above, the lawyer contacted Google, Yelp, and Avvo to have the negative reviews removed. All three sites refused, telling the lawyer they considered the reviews the former client’s personal opinions. In another instance, the Washington Court of Appeals refused to force disclosure of an anonymous online reviewer’s identity. See Thomson v. Jane Doe, 189 Wn. App. 45, 356 P.3d 727 (2015).
  • You can respond directly to the review on the site. Be courteous and explain that due to your duty of confidentiality, you can’t address the facts of the complaint, but that you do not believe it presents a fair and accurate portrayal of the events. Make clear that you are always available to meet with former clients and address any concerns they may have.
  • If possible, try to contact the reviewer directly and seek to ameliorate the situation or explain to them further why the representation unfolded as it did. If this is successful, don’t hesitate to ask for an updated review.
  • Try to avoid further negative reviews by soliciting client feedback directly as the representation continues and in exit interviews. Try to give your clients every opportunity to air their grievances with you and your firm directly so they don’t have the need to vent in public.
  • Lastly, the best antidote to a negative review is positive reviews. Keep your profile updated and facilitate the opportunity for your other clients to post their own satisfied reviews.

We’ve all heard the old saw, grow a tough skin. If you’re a lawyer, it better be twice as thick as everyone else’s.

All Rights Reserved 2020 Beverly Michaelis

ABA TECHSHOW 2020

It’s officially a wrap. Did you miss ABA TECHSHOW 2020? Get all the apps, gadgets, tech, and tips fit to print right here on Wakelet! Topics include:

  • Artificial intelligence
  • Best practices
  • Client screening
  • Cloud computing
  • Ethics
  • Gmail, iPhone, Outlook, and PowerPoint tips
  • Marketing
  • Security
  • Windows 10

While you’re at it, be sure to check out the TECHSHOW blog.

All Rights Reserved 2020 Beverly Michaelis

10 Products, Platforms, and Services for Lawyers

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I am always on the lookout for new ideas, tools, or products that are helpful to lawyers. If you have 2 minutes to spare, watch the video at the end of this post compiled by Streaming.Lawyer blogger Mitch Jackson. It highlights how Mitch uses the following every day in his law practice:

bombbomb – an online service that records, sends, and tracks simple email videos to stand out in your client’s crowded inbox.

Zoom video conferencing – Modern video communications, with an easy, reliable cloud platform for video and audio conferencing, chat, and webinars. (I use Zoom for online CLEs and recommend it highly.)

eCamm – live video streaming for Mac platforms. Compatible with Facebook Live, YouTube Live, Periscope, and Twitch.

AgoraPulse – social media management. Should you have a presence on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and YouTube? Yes, but who has the time. This product allows you to schedule content, get reports, and engage followers with one simple tool.

GoogleKeep – Keep is simple way to capture notes, lists, and reminders on the go. Record voice memos and Keep will automatically transcribe them! Check off completed tasks; add a collaborator to notes and lists; add photos and drawings, or draw on photos; search notes by automagically created topics; group notes together with #labels; color notes; access your notes on any device; syncs automatically to your phone, tablet, watch, and laptop via the Google Keep website, or Chrome app.
Use “Ok Google” voice commands to “take a note” or “add to to-do list.”

Canva – use Canva’s drag-and-drop feature and layouts to design, share, and print business cards, logos, presentations and more. Accounts are free.

Calendly – online scheduling is the most efficient way to set depositions, mediations, and meetings. Free and integrates with Google, Outlook, Office 365 or iCloud calendar so you’re never double booked.

Smartline – a second phone number app from GoDaddy. Unlimited texts and minutes for $9.99 per month (free 30-day trial available). Install the app on your current smartphone. Save your private number for friends and family and use Smartline for business calls.

Ruby Receptionists – a virtual reception service for your law firm based right here in Oregon. A favorite of mine and available at a discount for members of the Multnomah Bar Association.

Nimble – relationship-building software. Log on to your Nimble dashboard to manage client relationships and contacts.

Here’s Mitch’s video:

via 10 “Non-Legal” Products, Platforms, and Services I Use in My Law Practice and Highly Recommend! — Streaming.Lawyer

2019 ABA TECHSHOW – 60 Tips

It could be anything!

If you’re referring to the annual “60 in 60” tips session at the ABA TECHSHOW you are absolutely right! From useful websites to new apps, gadgets, or tools for lawyers – the content is always unpredictable.

For all the details from TECHSHOW 2019, see my full story on Wakelet. Meanwhile, here are a few of the highlights:

  • Checkli.com – free checklist maker.
  • Flow-e – email client that turns your messages into a visual (Kanban style) task board.
  • Instant tethering – use your Android phone to connect more than 45 Chrome/Android devices.
  • MileIQ – free mileage tracking that integrates with Office 365.
  • PassProtect – realtime check for potentially unsafe passwords.
  • Poll Everywhere – polling software that integrates with connected presentations, updating slides in real time as answers are texted in.
  • Rocket Book – a pen and paper notebook that saves what you write to the cloud. Erase your notes using your microwave oven when you use Pilot FriXion pens.
  • Tweet Delete – automatically delete old tweets from your Twitter account.
  • Windows 10 GodMode – If you’re sick of switching between Settings and the Control Panel or searching for your lost settings in Windows, use GodMode.

There’s so much more … like where to find a wireless “endoscope” smartphone camera to explore hard-to-reach locations.

Hopefully I’ve tempted you. Check out the complete list from 60 in 60! Where else will you learn how to enable private browsing, design better slide decks, create shortcuts for your iOS devices, find the best Chrome extensions, or access a legal keyboard with over 35 legal symbols and functions in one keystroke?

All Rights Reserved 2019 Beverly Michaelis

 

The Best of 60 in 60 from the 2018 ABA TECHSHOW

It’s hard to categorize the annual “60 in 60” tips session at ABA TECHSHOW because it could be anything – useful websites, new apps, career resources, gadgets, editing and proofreading tools for lawyers, or anything else the panelists find that we can’t live without.  Below is a sample of what was covered this year.  For the complete list, view my story on Wakelet.

The short list from 60 in 60

  • TimeFlip – a battery-powered cardboard polygon that uses an app on your smartphone to track time spent on meetings, phone calls, email, and other tasks.
  • Dryver – the mobile app where you can hire a driver starting at $15.95/hour to drive you around in your own car.
  • Ceev.io – the free Chrome extension that uses your LinkedIn profile to create a resume. Here’s mine. Choose from four themes, nine accent colors, and five different fonts at no charge. Unlock more options for $10.  My tip: also consider Strikingly, which allows you to create a website using your LinkedIn profile.
  • The Noris digital pencil from Staedtler – an electromagnetic input pencil that feels like your old #2, looks like your old #2, and works with Samsung smartphones.
  • Sideways Dictionary – a site that demystifies tech babble like “sandboxing” or “honeypot,” which have nothing to do with kids playing or bears eating honey.
  • PerfectIt – an intelligent editor and proofreader with a special style sheet specifically designed for lawyers. $99 a pop, integrates with Microsoft Word. Check out the free trial.
  • Flow-e – an email and task management platform combined to transform your inbox into a highly visual task board (Kanban style) or Sanebox, which automatically filters unimportant email out of your inbox (works with Gmail, Office 365, Apple iCloud, etc.).

There’s so much more … like how to create your own digital medical exhibits

Hopefully I’ve tempted you. Check out the complete list from 60 in 60!  Where else will you learn how to validate websites, determine if your passwords have been compromised, use private browsing, convert your blog into a podcast, check Google trends, or mute calls using your Apple watch?

All Rights Reserved 2018 Beverly Michaelis

Postscript

For more summaries of 2018 ABA TECHSHOW tips, advice, and resources for lawyers, see my main Wakelet page.