Negative reviews of lawyers

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Apparently, some attorneys have interpreted my suggestion to post a review of your competition on your website to mean, “post a negative review” and don’t like the idea. They think a negative review will reflect badly on them in the eyes of prospective clients or cause the legal community to see them as a trouble maker.

Fair enough. But I never said you had to post a negative review. The point of my post wasn’t that you should report negative information about another attorney in an effort to dissuade prospective clients from hiring them. The point was to mention this lawyer’s name so that when someone searches on that name they will find your site, read your review, and look at what you have to offer.

You don’t have to post negative reviews of lawyers.

You can post a neutral, “here’s what I know about this firm,” review. Talk about what they do, how many attorneys they have, how long they have been around. Basic information you may know about them or can find on their website.

Or, you can post a positive review. Describe cases where you have worked together and how they were always professional and courteous. If you have witnessed them in court and thought they were good, say that. If you have talked to other lawyers who know them and think highly of them, repeat what they have told you.

You can almost always find something nice to say about another lawyer. (What would you tell a jury about them if you were defending them?)

And yes, a neutral or positive review will make you look good in the eyes of prospective clients and keep legal wolves from baying at the moon. But while this may be the safe approach, it may not be the intellectually honest one.

If you think your competition is a scoundrel, if you have proof that they don’t play fair or they are borderline incompetent, if they have numerous complaints against them, do you think it’s right to sweep this under a rug? If your sister was thinking about hiring that lawyer and asked for your opinion, would you lie (by omission) and let her hire them?

You can post a negative review. If it’s fair and you can back up what you say. Will you make some enemies? Probably. The lawyer you outed won’t like you, but so what? Other lawyers may look down on you for breaching the code that says “we protect our own even when they are bad,” but again, so what?

You may make enemies but you will also make friends. You will be admired for being honest and protecting the public. You will be seen as a leader and you will attract people who want to know you and follow you. People will write about you and link to your blog. They will ask to interview you. They will hire you and refer cases to you.

On the other hand, the odds are that your competition isn’t all bad. So, post a balanced review. Comment on the lawyer’s strengths and positive aspects, and also comment about their weaknesses or shortcomings. Talk about the positive first, then the negative. Or, if negative is too strong a word, comment on their differences.

One more thing. If the idea of writing a review about another lawyer makes you queasy and you don’t want to do it, don’t do it. There are other ways to mention the names of your competition.

You can comment on one of their cases you are familiar with.

You can comment on their ads or their website.

You can create a post that includes them in a “directory” of attorneys in your area who do what you do.

You can promote the charity event they are sponsoring. Or congratulate them on getting married, having a child, or winning an award.

If you want more search engine traffic, it doesn’t matter what you say about them. Just make sure you spell their name right.

Learn more about internet marketing for attorneys. Click here.

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