7 Simple, Fraud-Free Ways to Handle Negative Reviews

I’ve been lucky, and I have no problem admitting that. To date, I haven’t had a client who, either during or after completion of my representation, decided to burn me by posting a scathing negative review online. While I may have had a few clients that might have been inclined, I’ve done everything I could to manage the situation before it came to hostile words being shared to the world online. Like I said, that doesn’t necessarily make me good, it makes me lucky. Many other lawyers, unfortunately, haven’t been so lucky. I’m not talking about those lawyers who treated their clients casually, failed to return phone calls, or truly caused their clients harm through negative actions or omissions. They deserve all the ink they get. I’m talking about lawyers who, despite their best efforts, just couldn’t deliver what the client wanted or expected. Whether you deserve the online tongue-lashing you ended up getting or not, once it’s posted, you need to do something about it. And when I say “something,” I most certainly mean something OTHER than what these lawyers are accused of doing… You Should Already Know that Committing Fraud is Wrong, But Just So We’re Clear… If you haven’t heard the story, two lawyers have been engaging in “online reputation management” through some allegedly sketchy, unethical, and illegal means. According to a lawsuit filed in US District Court for the Northern District of California, the lawyers would attempt to have negative reviews that had been posted on various sites online taken down. When a site refused, the lawyers would file a defamation lawsuit – either on... read more

How to Make Even the Best Law Firm Website Fail Miserably

You make sure nobody knows how to contact you! Last week, I had a little bit of free time at the office and decided to update my contacts (yes, I actually do this). Several contacts, as happens, were missing phone numbers, email addresses, and other information. Some were literally nothing more than a name that I’d saved to remind myself to follow up about something – the fact that they’re blank indicating that the reminder to follow up didn’t work. So as I looked around online for updated information on a bunch of attorneys I know, I ran into a problem I’d experienced in the past, and found remarkably frustrating – the information I was looking for was NOWHERE TO BE FOUND on the law firm website. “Ah, now I remember,” I thought to myself, “why so many of my contacts don’t have full information.” I also remembered exactly how frustrating it was when what seemed like such basic information was unavailable. Imagine how your prospective clients feel. Basic Contact Information is Nowhere to be Found on your Law Firm Website I mean NOWHERE. Sure, several of the bigger firms had downloadable vCards (extremely helpful, thank you), and some had the slightly less helpful listing of phone numbers and email addresses on attorney bio pages. However, the MAJORITY of law firm websites I visited did not list the email addresses for individual attorneys. Many also did not list direct phone numbers. A disturbingly large number of them also didn’t provide a phone number, and only provided a contact form on one page of their site. Once someone is on... read more

4 Reasons Lawyers Will Love Twitter’s Latest Update

In the event you don’t know, I’m a pretty big fan of Twitter. No, I wasn’t an “early adopter” of Twitter like I was with Facebook. In fact, my serious use of Twitter only really started after I started this blog around three years ago. However, since then, Twitter (and more specifically, TweetDeck) is where I go immediately after I read my daily news from Feedly. Even better, I just keep a browser window open there, because so much great stuff is regularly coming from the people I follow on my lists. While there are a great many people who don’t like Twitter, or are simply unwilling to take the time to learn it, one thing cannot be denied – it’s not exactly intuitive for the first-time user. The 140 character limit is really only the starting point in a collection of hidden, obtuse rules that limit your ability to share your thoughts even further. While power users have adapted, many of these barriers have prevented more casual users from getting the most out of the program. Until now… This week, in a part of a long-running campaign to make Twitter more accessible to new and less-experienced users, CEO Jack Dorsey announced a series of changes that will be put in place over the coming months (to give developers time to adjust). All of the changes, at least in part, are being implemented to make sure that users don’t have to shorten an already short message based on the content of the message. Here’s what’s changing: 1) Replies, Not Tweetstorms How it was: When you replied to a tweet,... read more

Does Your Law Firm Need a CRM System?

Special Guest: Michael Chasin Download this Episode: Download Audio How do you guide your prospective clients through your sales funnel, taking every opportunity to ensure that they’re satisfied with their experience and making it as easy as possible for them to hire you? Ok, better question to start with: do you have a sales funnel? Do you know what a “sales funnel” is? To be honest, if you’re already familiar with the concepts of your law firm’s sales funnel, you’re probably not in the market for a CRM system. You, more likely than not, already have one. You have a functioning system in place for guiding your prospective clients and managing your network of referral sources. You’re also, most likely, in a very small minority in the legal profession. Because most lawyers don’t. That’s what CRM systems are designed for – to help businesses who may not have the clearest idea how best to turn “prospective clients” into “actual clients.” That’s what Lexicata CRM is for law firms – a tool to guide client intake and for managing your relationships with your existing network. Is Lexicata – or even some other CRM platform – right for your law firm? Well let’s start from the beginning. What is a CRM System? CRM stands for Contact (or Client) Relationship Management. A CRM system generally has two different purposes, and it can be deciphered somewhat from its own title – Contact Management & Relationship Management. Depending on the contact, your goals may require entirely different actions, even though the end goal is to drum up business. The first purpose is for tracking a prospective client.... read more

How to Create a Successful Law Firm Website: Web Hosting Services

Creating a new website for your law firm, whether you’re opening up a new practice or updating a dated law firm, can be an immense task. I’d love to say that following this guide will allow you to put together a successful and profitable website in your spare time. It won’t. However, in this series, I will walk you through the critical steps of putting together an effective website. Some of those steps inform you to go get help from someone else. Unless you’re a veteran computer programmer, a marketing expert, and a practicing, there’s a lot that’ll probably be over your head. Don’t worry about it. In this four-part series, you’ll learn the basics of setting up a website that, as part of your overall marketing plan, will help convert visitors into clients, and give you a competitive advantage in your market. Part I: Getting Started Part II: Your Domain Name You have your domain name, now it’s time to get technical – first up on that list is finding the right web hosting service for your new website: Most people think of a website based on what they see. Well, this is the part that nobody sees. Just like a play, the most important elements to making sure what happens on stage is working right is performed out of sight. For your website, that’s what your web hosting and your platform are all about. We begin with web hosting. Understanding Your Web Hosting Needs: 5 Questions Before you begin searching for a web hosting provider, there are a couple of questions that you should ask yourself. Trust me, once you start... read more

Your SEO Strategy is About to be Suddenly Obsolete

You’ve finally decided to get into the game and develop a serious, well-designed website for your law firm. It’s got everything your prospective clients need. But they need to find it first. Sure, many visitors will be looking for you specifically, but you also want to rank well on more general searches. For that, you need to optimize your website – a process commonly known as Search Engine Optimization (“SEO”). You know that SEO is really important to do well, because it determines how your website ranks in various search engines, so you studied up. You fixed what you could, but you also got help from professional marketers. After spending considerable time – and money – you believe that you finally have a solid SEO strategy. The thing is, it’s all about to fundamentally change. How SEO Works: When someone performs a Google search, they enter words or phrases about what they want to find. Google, with a mission to provide the best possible results (and thereby keep people using their search), uses their vaunted algorithm to find the best websites. Relying on a complex list of criteria, Google provides the best possible websites based on two primary criteria: relevance and authority. For more information on how SEO plays into that assessment, check out this post. For 15 years, Google has constantly tweaked its algorithm to provide the best search results, and punishing sites that have used shortcuts to improve ranking. Google remains the most used search engine in the world, so your website – and your related digital marketing – is designed to bring people to your website... read more

Social Media Trends Lawyers Need to Know in 2016 Pt. 3

Part 1: Marketing Your Law Firm with Social Media Part 2: Social Media in Litigation Part 3: Advising Your Clients About Social Media (You’re Here) As the new year approaches, it’s a useful time to look at what we can all look forward to in the new year. I mean, it’s pretty arbitrary in general… except when you’re talking about accounting or CLE requirements. But we do it anyway, because it’s interesting. In reality, the world of social media moves so quickly now that I should probably update you on trends every two or three weeks. But ain’t nobody got time for that! So here is part 3 of my Social Media Trends Lawyers Need to Know in 2016. In this part, the social media trends that will change the way you advise your clients in 2016: 6 Social Media Trends to Know when Advising Your Clients in 2016: 1) More States Adopting Social Media-Specific Ethics Requirements Just as with Part 2, we’ll start with your ethical obligations. More and more states are addressing a lawyer’s duty to his or her client concerning social media. One of the most prominent topics being addressed is what a lawyer can, cannot, and must advise their client about. If you’re in one of the states that has addressed social media, the rules are not entirely consistent as to what you’re permitted to do. One thing, however, is universal: you have a duty to advise your client about any use of social media that’s relevant to the matter. Concerning one crucial topic – the deletion of potentially relevant social media posts – the states have not been... read more

How to Improve Your Local SEO: 4 Simple Steps

Special Guest: Jason Marsh Download this Episode: Download Audio For most law firms, all business is local. Given the nature of our profession – we’re licensed by the state and expected to completely understand the psyche of judges and jurors where we practice – it’s really no wonder. People want a lawyer that understands their situation, their city, and has had drinks with the judge. So it’s really not a surprise that, like politics, a law practice really is “local.” So when your prospective clients are looking for an attorney, they’re likely going to be looking for someone in their area. So what’s the best way to make sure that when someone is looking for an attorney online, your name appears? By maximizing your Local SEO. How is Local SEO different from regular SEO? As I discussed with our podcast guest, Jason Marsh, Local SEO isn’t really a wholly separate, distinct element of SEO. However, it’s also not entirely confined within basic SEO. The most accurate way to describe it would be to consider it a bit of a tangential offshoot of SEO, with its own unique attributes. Regular Search Engine Optimization is “the process of affecting the visibility of a website… in a search engine’s unpaid [or “organic”] results. General SEO strategies combine a knowledge of how search engines work – such as an understanding of the Google Algorithm and what it likes – with what people search for (a.k.a. keywords, key phrases, etc.). Your general SEO strategy involves making sure your website has the proper code, is easily crawled and indexed by search engines, uses the best keywords for your... read more

Social Media Trends Lawyers Need to Know in 2016 Pt. 1

Part 1: Marketing Your Law Firm with Social Media (You’re Here!) Part 2: Social Media in Litigation Part 3: Advising Your Clients About Social Media As the new year approaches, it’s a useful time to look at what we can all look forward to in the new year. I mean, it’s pretty arbitrary in general… except when you’re talking about accounting or CLE requirements. But we do it anyway, because it’s interesting. In reality, the world of social media moves so quickly now that I should probably update you on trends every two or three weeks. But ain’t nobody got time for that! So here is part 1 of my Social Media Trends Lawyers Need to Know in 2016. Up first, social media trends that will impact your law firm’s marketing: 7 Critical Social Media Trends for Marketing Your Law Firm in 2016: 1) Live Streaming is the Next Big Thing If you haven’t heard of Meerkat, Periscope, or Blab, then you’re in a bit of trouble when it comes to social media marketing in 2016. It hasn’t even been a year since Meerkat started the live-stream revolution in social media, and it’s exploded since then. For marketers in general, live streaming is the next level of engagement and communication. It’s not hard to see why – live streaming increases transparency and authenticity, while being new and fresh. How to take advantage of these social media trends in your law firm: Some lawyers and legal services providers have already started to use live streaming in interesting ways, but the most effective in my opinion is the interview. Have someone talk to... read more
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