When the towns of Malden and Pine City were destroyed by fire in 2020, the residents were left with nothing and are still trying to pick up the …Why Young Attorneys Fear Working in Rural Areas and Why They Shouldn’t
Starting today through December 31 get 50% off all CLEs by entering the code SAVE50 at checkout! Visit Oregon Law Practice Management On Demand CLE and choose from any of these programs:
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Today’s marketing tips come courtesy of the ABA Journal. Here are the highlights:
1. Call current and past clients to check in on how they are coping.
2. Turn your attorneys into visible experts online.
3. Spend four hours per week on business development.
4. Beef up your website to get new clients.
5. The more you blog, the more clients you will get.
6. Build good word of mouth with online reviews.
7. Out-market your competition—figure out how much to spend and where to spend.
8. Market with millennials in mind.
9. Make sure your website is easily accessible for mobile users.
10. Set up a video studio.
11. Your attorney bio should not be a dead end.
12. For social media, focus on Facebook and forget the rest.
I encourage you to read the full article. The author, Larry Bodine, has excellent insights and marketing data to back up each of his recommendations. He also shares specific action steps you can take now.
Have we heard some of these ideas before? Yes. Reminders never hurt. There are also plenty of new suggestions. If you implement even one or two of Larry’s suggestions you will be ahead of the game.
All Rights Reserved 2020 Beverly Michaelis
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?
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.
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
Last weekend the Oregon State Bar held the first ever Solo & Small Firm Conference in Bend, Oregon. The lineup included nationally recognized speakers and Oregon-based experts, including the incomparable David Elkanich of Holland & Knight.
David gave two great presentations at the conference, and I promise to blog about both. Today I start with a subject near and dear to my heart: The Ethics of Social Media and Online Marketing. Here are a few tweets to give you the flavor of David’s presentation:
A complete compilation of David’s tips can be found here.
Over the next days and weeks I will share other gems from the conference, including “best of” tips from:
- Exchanging Documents Electronically
- How Clients Can Win with Your Small Firm Resources
- Tame the Digital Chaos
- 60 Legal Tech Tips
- and more!
All Rights Reserved 2016 Beverly Michaelis