Even in this high-tech age, a majority of attorneys maintain that they obtain a considerable percentage of their clients through word-of-mouth referrals. With that said, even when a word-of-mouth referral occurs, odds are that a prospective client is going to do some due diligence and check out the background and reputation of a lawyer. This will include Internet research.
21st century attorneys and law firms need to pay keen attention to their reputations. They must have a reputation management scheme, perhaps even the services of a reputation management firm, according to the American Bar Association.
Proactive Approach to Reputation Management
The wisest course of action for an attorney to take in regard to reputation management is a proactive approach. An attorney cannot be passive when it comes to building a reputation, either in the brick and mortar world or online. A lawyer must be diligent about building a reputation on his or her own initiation.
A proactive approach to reputation management is holistic and preemptive, as a PR firm trusts can attest.
The Bill Clinton 1992 presidential campaign really coined the concept of rapid response. In short speed, the concept of rapid response expanded beyond the political arena and became an effective tool for a business or professional facing an assault on his or her reputation.
A lawyer or law firm is wide to integrate a rapid response protocol into an overall reputation management scheme. By this it is meant that a lawyer or law firm needs a viable strategy by which a quick response can be made to a reputation assault. In most cases, ignoring an attack made on the reputation of an attorney is not the correct course to take.
Crisis Management Plan
Although a lawyer or law firm can hope to never face a time when a crisis erupts, in this can and age, that likely is wishful thinking. Even a diligent, hardworking, honest attorney can end up under attack by a former client or someone else. Moreover, what is being said about a lawyer very well may be entirely false. But, it is being expressed in public.
Having a crisis management plan in place before such an event occurs can make the difference between successfully navigating the situation or falling flat into the associated muck. In most cases, an attorney is best served engaging the services of a media relations professional to develop a useful crisis communication plan. There are professionals that specialized in crisis communication, including preventative strategies and planning. In more recent times, there are crisis communications professionals that focus their work in representing attorneys and law firms.
Hire a Professional
The reality is that the typical attorney is overworked. In addition, while an attorney typically has a broad skill set, reputation management is not necessarily part of the mix and they may be well served engaging the services of a reputation management professional.