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

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

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

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

eDiscovery and the Ethics of Social Media [Slideshow]

On Friday, September 25, 2015, I gave this presentation on the ethics of social media in litigation at the North Carolina Association of Defense Attorneys conference for insurance defense attorneys and insurance adjusters, in Greensboro, North Carolina. It was an impressive event. Below, you will find my slideshow from the presentation, as well as some additional information and helpful links that I promised to upload, including the sample request for production of documents I use for requesting social media evidence in discovery. eDiscovery and Social Media: 2015 NCADA CLE Presentation from Brian Focht If you would like to download a copy of the supplemental documents prepared for this presentation, including the updated version of North Carolina 2014 Formal Ethics Opinion 5, click on the download button below: Here is the sample language from the discovery request I use to obtain social media evidence in motor vehicle accident cases: Copies of any notes, diaries, logs, journals, letters, electronic mail, text messages, calendars, Facebook postings, tweets, or other social media messages that relate or refer to the accident described in the Complaint, or any injuries or damages you contend resulted therefrom. Additionally, here are a few good resources for litigators who want to make sure they’re doing their due diligence and obtaining all the potential evidence available: A Social Media Evidence Checklist – Slaw.com Lawyer’s Duty to Preserve Social Media Evidence – JD Supra A Measured Response to Social Media Evidence – Bow Tie Law (Case law review/update) A Social Media Subpoena Guide (2015 Edition) – Associate’s... read more

6 Unparalleled LinkedIn Tools You Ignore Every Day

LinkedIn is the social networking site for lawyers – despite Thompson Reuter’s best, and entirely useless, efforts. More attorneys are active on LinkedIn than on any other social network, and nearly 100% of law firms have a presence – no other social network comes close. And unlike your local bar association, LinkedIn has plaintiff’s lawyers and insurance defense lawyers, white collar criminal defense attorneys and your local DA. And judges! (But be careful!) The opportunity to establish a powerful network is immense, if you know how to use the LinkedIn tools available. Six incredibly powerful LinkedIn tools exist right under your nose. You’ve been ignoring them. It’s time to take a look at the Relationship Tab. The LinkedIn Relationship Tab Open up one of your contacts on LinkedIn, preferably one you you don’t mind knowing that you looked at their profile. (For this, sadly, you have to be on your desktop – no mobile option as of yet) Right below your contact’s photo, you’ll see a separate box with two tabs on it: Relationship and Contact Info. It will default to the Relationship Tab. Despite it’s fairly understated look, this tab contains several incredibly useful tools to help supercharge your networking. The information in each contact’s Relationship Tab is visible only to you, so don’t worry about what you put in there (unless you don’t follow my password advice, that is). The information is also unique to each contact, so you don’t have to worry about mixing up your contacts. So how can these LinkedIn tools help your networking? 1) Remind Yourself About When You Connected Let’s be honest, we all look at... read more

10 Simple Ways Twitter Will Make You a Better Lawyer

Twitter is probably my favorite social network. Sure, when I’m at home, I might spend more time on Facebook than Twitter. LinkedIn may be a more “professional” way to network with other professionals. And Google+ is much easier to make fun of. Yet I always come back to my Twitter feed (displayed nicely on TweetDeck). There are a lot of really nice things about Twitter, most of them completely contrary to the negative opinion that many lawyers I talk to have built in their minds. There are a ton of people there, the news comes fast and furious, and there’s always something new. But most importantly (particularly for this post), it’s simple. It’s easy. Really, it is. What you see is what you get. You don’t have to worry about which one of your privacy settings were just reset, without warning, by Mark Zuckerberg. Every Tweet is public, so no worries about someone pulling a SnapChat and holding your private posts for ransom. It’s simple. And amazingly effective. Best of all, you don’t need to be a computer programmer or social media guru to get the most out of Twitter. Here are 10 simple ways Twitter will make you a better lawyer: 1) Generate more leads by interacting with prospective clients and using targeted ads. Your clients and prospective clients are on social media. While they may not all be on Twitter, a lot of them probably are. As I’ve mentioned countless times before, social media marketing is more about being social than about marketing, so engage already! Reply to Tweets, and respond to those who reply to yours. It’s a conversation. Beyond simple... read more

5 Tools LinkedIn is Giving Away for Free

LinkedIn’s publishing platform has been an absolute gift to a lot of people in the B2B (Business-to-Business, for those, like me, who had no damn clue until a few weeks ago) world. If you’re on LinkedIn (we’ve been over this… if you’re a lawyer, you’re on LinkedIn!), you’ve seen the updates come through when one of your connections posts something new. While I particularly enjoy my WordPress platform, there’s a lot to like about LinkedIn’s publishing system (as I’m learning – a version of this post will be my first LinkedIn article!). However, what really caught my eye this week was a recent update to their already impressive (but not yet Google Analytics-like) trackers. A good analytics program will give you information about what happened in the past. A really good analytics program will thoroughly educate you about why those things happened in the past. But a truly great analytics program will tell you all those things, and give you the tools to be even better tomorrow. Wow. Ok, motivational speaker mode OFF. Here are 5 Tools LinkedIn is Giving Away for Free:  1) View performance statistics for each post you’ve published There’s only one real way to know what your connections are interested in. Try a bunch of different things, and see what gets the best response. There are no guaranteed winners, and frequently you’ll be surprised by what makes the biggest splash. (My biggest post, by far, was a relative afterthought on a Sunday afternoon). LinkedIn Publisher’s update allows you to view analytics for any of your old posts, with data and stats going back six months. Oh,... read more

5 Proven Tips for Better Social Media Marketing

Sunny San Diego. I’d quote Ron Burgundy, but that seems a little inappropriate. Last month, San Diego was host for Social Media Marketing World 2015 conference. Many of the world’s top social media marketers gathered to talk about the current and future world of social media. (For anyone interested, they have put a lot of the presentations from the conference online. It’s worth a look.) There were plenty of important takeaways for anyone who uses social media for any aspect of their business. For lawyers and law firms, an industry that hasn’t really jumped on board with social yet, there may have been more. Among the important aspects, the conference gives our profession the chance to innovate with strategies that have been tested by some of the best in the social media marketing industry. So lawyers, here are 5 Proven Tips for Better Social Media Marketing: 1) Video is the king of content… on all networks. There’s really no way for me to say (again) how critical video content is for effectively marketing your law firm. Whether it’s on your website, in your ads, or in your social media content, you simply cannot reach the same audience without it. Everyone knows how big YouTube has gotten, but you may have missed how effective video embedded directly onto Facebook can be. 57% of professional marketers are using video in some portion of their marketing. 72% plan on using video marketing in the near future. There are plenty of tools available to help you too. Whether you’re looking for professional grade video editing (Final Cut Pro just announced an upgrade allowing you... read more
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