Online Reviews for Lawyers: How to Gather & Manage Them

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Online reviews matter. Whether you’re the neighborhood bistro or the prestigious family law practice in your city, what the Internet has to say about your business affects potential consumers and clients. A lawyer’s reputation on and off the web can make or break a legal practice.

If you’re unsure of how powerful internet reviews are, consider the following statistics:

  • Internet reviews can impact over 65% of consumer/client decisions
  • About 84% of web users trust online reviews as much as in-person recommendations
  • Roughly 74% of consumers develop more trust for a business when they see positive reviews
  • Approximately 65% of people trust web searches over all other sources of information

 

Reviews matter for all kinds of businesses and services, including law firms. In fact, 83% of a firm’s potential clients will perform an internet search and read reviews before ever calling a legal practice to set up a consultation. Additionally, law firms with positive reviews get more clients than their competitors. According to a survey conducted by Software Advice, 70% of people looking for a lawyer would be willing to drive farther for the firm with the best reviews.

Now that we’ve established how important attorney reviews can be, let’s discuss how to get them.

Asking Clients for Reviews

The best way to receive positive reviews is to ask your clients for them, but make sure you’re asking the right way! An essential part of this process is making it as easy and efficient for your client as possible. Equally, if not more important, is that you are requesting reviews from clients who were satisfied with your services and/or the outcomes of their cases.

Your first step to get that good review is simple – when a case closes, send an email to your client asking for a review. Be sure to convey to your client that you appreciated working for him/her.

It’s fine to use an email template to start off with, but it certainly helps to add a personal line or two. Mentioning something as simple as a favorite sports team you both love to a specific note about something you helped your client with touches on the emotional connection you share. Besides, your client will be more incentivized to leave a review knowing that a) you will read and respond to it and b) that you care about their experience with your law firm.

In order to make the review process simple for your client, your email should contain links to your law firm’s profiles on review sites like Yelp, Facebook, GMB and Avvo. This extra step saves your client the time and increases the likelihood that they will write you a review.

Best Websites for Law Firm Reviews

Did you know that about one third of all potential clients start their attorney search online? This means that one out of every three people will trust the internet over a referral from a family member or friend. For your practice, that means that it’s important to know where to make sure your review presence is strong and positive. Some popular attorney review sites are: Yelp, Super Lawyers, Martindale-Hubbell, and Avvo.

Beyond these sites, Facebook and Google are beneficial. Most people have a Facebook and know how to use it, and law firms of all practice areas and sizes utilize this social network to market and advertise their services. Google also acts as a review platform by aggregating reviews in its maps and business listings. Google reviews are especially important as they rank high in SERPs (search engine results pages).

Responding to Reviews

It is important for attorneys and/or their administrative personnel to respond to positive and negative reviews productively. Responding to positive reviews shows your gratitude for your clients’ time and respect for their opinion.

When it comes to responding to favorable lawyer reviews, consider the following:

  • Do not give too much identifying or case-specific information in your response to respect your client’s privacy
  • Do maintain a personal tone by thanking your client for their review
  • Do convey your pleasure for resolving their case

It’s impossible to please everyone, and it’s pretty much inevitable that you’ll receive a negative review on occasion. Here’s how to handle a negative legal review with grace:

  • Do thank your client for leaving their review
  • Do not engage with back-handed or passive aggressive responses
  • Do keep it short and professional
  • Do invite your client to resolve the issue privately with you or your administrative team

Sometimes lawyers receive illegitimate reviews. These reviews might be left by unscrupulous competitors or clients from other firms who are on the other side of a genuine client’s case. If you find yourself the victim of a user posing to be one of your clients, simply respond with something like:

While we appreciate feedback, we have no record of working with you on previous or current cases. Feel free to call or email us to discuss this issue further.”

Statements like this alert potential clients to the illegitimate nature of the review without sacrificing your integrity or appearing petty.

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