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WMT: Everyone’s A Critic (Online) – How a Lawyer Should Respond to Internet Criticism

After taking a one month “sabbatical” from my monthly Web Marketing Today article, I address a topic that is becoming increasingly important for the legal professional–how to respond to online criticism.

How Lawyers Should Respond to Online Criticism addresses dos and don’ts as they relate to the growing slate of websites that allow for posting of “reviews”, whether you are a plumber, doctor or lawyer. As I often teach, this is not an area where you have the option to participate. If I’m a client and want to post a positive or negative review of your professional product for the world to see–I can.

I’ve often used the power of Internet-based reviews myself. When my realtor pissed me off a few years back, I let a number of websites know what I thought of her. It did not go unnoticed. I’m a huge review contributor to Open Table–posting at least one a week after every dining experience. I often hear back from restaurants for the good and the bad.

We lawyers are not built to handle negative criticism that well in an online world. The adversarial nature of the business is not conducive to the court of public opinion–now readily accessible via Yelp, Avvo, Google Plus and a myriad of legal and non-legal, consumer and business sites.

The anonymous reviewer makes this tricky. In some cases, protected by the First Amendment. In other cases, litigation seeks to unmask a perpetrator. This month’s WMT contribution addresses the issues, discusses real-life examples and provides tips for avoiding and/or responding to trouble.