Law Firm Going Digital: What to do with unfavorable online reviews from former clients?

Updated: Oct 14



As a result of COVID-19, law firms find themselves faced with the task of going digital. Having a website and social media accounts is not enough to stand out. A law firm needs to have a culture of social responsibility. A goodwill culture brings value to the client and potential client and the community the law firm serves. Today clients seeking legal representation decide to hire an attorney based on what the community says about its customer care quality and competency. Attorneys are subject to both favorable and unfavorable online reviews on industry websites such as Law.com. Occasionally an attorney will receive an adverse judgment that appears to be a former client's dissatisfaction with the attorney's performance. It is a good practice to respond to a negative review quickly; however, I caution attorneys to refrain from using any or all client-specific information when defending against it. William J. Cobb, Assistant General Counsel for the Georgia State Bar, authored an article, Technology Related Ethical Issues, nawj.org (2013) Chapter III (c)(3) p.26, discusses attorneys defending their reputation form online client criticism and Rule 1.6(b)(1)(iii). The risks of responding to a negative critique while in a state of emotion must be avoided. Refrain from breaching ethical conduct, as seen in Skinner 292 Ga. 640 (2014). It is a good practice to designate someone in your law firm to handle reputation or review management. There are reputation management companies searchable online to assist.

The information provided is for educational purposes. The Karima Muhammad Firm LLC is not a law firm, nor are we attorneys. Therefore, we do not provide legal advice. We are a mediation and conflict management firm that assists people in a variety of disputes.


Paralegal services are available to licensed attorneys; for more information, visit https://www.thekarmuhfirm.com/attorney-support-services.

Sources:

William J. Cobb Technology Related Ethical Issues, nawj.org (2013) https://www.nawj.org/uploads/files/annual_conference/session_materials/attorney_ethics/technology_related_ethics_issues.pdf

In the Matter of Skinner, 295 Ga. 217 (2014)(West) https://www.westlaw.com/Document/Iedd526d6df6011e39488c8f438320c70/View/FullText.html?transitionType=Default&contextData=(sc.Default)&VR=3.0&RS=cblt1.0





 

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