October 4, 2022

Volume XII, Number 277


October 03, 2022

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Less Than Glowing Online Reviews of Your Law Firm–And How to Respond

Nine out of 10 people consider online reviews as valid as personal recommendations, according to a recent study by BrightLocal. Your law firm must prepare for—and know how to respond to—negative reviews. (Note: this figure is up from 72% in 2012). Although 75% of online reviews are positive, any legitimate business should expect less than glowing reviews to appear as well, and consumers have come to expect them too.

It is clear that online reviews have become today’s word of mouth marketing. In the past, happy (or unhappy) clients would tell their close friends and family about their experiences with your law firm—maybe eight or 10 people total. In today’s world of social media and reviews sites, one review can potentially reach hundreds, if not thousands, of potential clients for years to come.

Responding publicly to a negative, false or defamatory review of your products or services may encourage the reviewer—or the site administrators—to remove the post. If not, it will at least demonstrate that your firm cares about its customers by immediately contacting the unhappy client and attempting to resolve the situation. See the below screenshot of a Long Island personal injury attorney responding to a searing review:Thumbs Down, Negative Online Review

As we conduct Web research, my colleagues at Consultwebs, a legal marketing firm, and I have seen negative reviews for law firms left by angry clients. Many times when confronted, however, those same disgruntled customers actually removed their feedback. Everyone has bad days, and normally, if you empathize with the review posters and remind them that we are all human, they will change their minds and edit or delete a particularly negative review.

Yelp has published guidelines on responding to negative reviews, including a brief video from a small business owner and answers to FAQs such as “What should I say in a public comment?” and “How should I respond if a review is completely false?” I have written tips on Yelp reviews for law firms, which I encourage you to examine closely.

Do you trust online customer reviews as much as personal recommendation?

Grant Brott, my teammate who specializes in local search marketing, also has written about responding to negative online reviews.

Finally, keep in mind the following tips from Mike Blumenthal when responding to negative feedback online:

  • Admit the problem (if it was true)

  • Explain why future clients would not have this problem

  • Offer to fix the problem (within reason)


A review

© 1999 – 2022 Consultwebs.com, Inc.National Law Review, Volume IV, Number 196

About this Author

Since its establishment in 1999, Consultwebs.com has grown into one of the country’s leading providers of law firm Web design, marketing and consulting products and services. We have played a significant role in advancing Internet-based legal marketing, and we believe the future holds endless possibilities for online legal marketing.