I know you are but what am I?


What do you do when someone posts a negative review on Yelp?

When an unhappy client goes on a rant about what a terrible attorney you are, should you respond? When someone publicly criticizes you, says you’re dumb ass, or greedy, or the Devil’s spawn because you defend child molesters.

What do you do?

Do you defend yourself? Fight back? Send them a horse’s head?

The best thing to do about negative comments is to ignore them. There’s nothing to be gained by getting into a pissing match. Even stupid people are entitled to their opinion.

You’re not going to change the mind of the opinion holder, and if you try to explain or defend yourself in public, you’ll only make yourself look worse.

If the negative comment is on your blog or on your Facebook wall, you should respond. It would look weird if you didn’t. But don’t respond in kind, just point out the facts. Your friends and followers will probably come to your defense and neutralize the negative comment, maybe even smother it.

But if someone posts a negative review about you on Yelp or another public forum, or they give your book a one star review on amazon.com, ignore it.

Let it go. Pour yourself a stiff one.

I see lawyers who are afraid to dive into social media or do anything online because they are afraid of what unhappy clients might say about them.

That’s operating out of fear. Maybe guilt.

Life (and the practice of law) isn’t about the complete avoidance of risk. It’s about the intelligent management of it. If you are alive (or open for business) there will always be risks.

You may have some unhappy clients, and they may share their unhappiness publicly, but. . .

they may not.

Are you going to forgo all of the benefits of being on the Internet because of what one or two Bozos might say about you?

How about all of the other clients who think you’re great? You’re going to get good comments, too.

A lot of people are saying negative things about Dell right now. They get tons of negative reviews. But people still buy their products.

Now if someone is posting untruths about you and not just their opinion, if someone is defaming you, that’s different. You may have to do something. A letter from your lawyer, perhaps. Or a horse’s head.

I say you “may” have to do something because sometimes, it really is better to ignore things like this. Yes, even when they are untrue and causing harm. Life is too short to get all worked up about everything.

Probably the smartest thing to do is to stop reading your reviews. The bad ones will only upset you and the good ones, well, you’re an attorney. You don’t need an even bigger ego.

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