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A Lawyer’s Word of Mouth Today is Social Media


A lawyer’s word of mouth today is in fact social media. If you fail to develop and maintain your online reputation, it might be developed anyway and not represent the best you have to offer.

This from attorney and legal blogger, Jennifer Brandt, who co-chairs the family law group at Cozen O’Connor, a 700 lawyer firm in 26 cities.

Despite the benefits of having an online reputation and presence, many lawyers feel this is somehow beneath the level of the profession. Many of these same lawyers adhere to the antiquated notion that business should be developed by word of mouth only and not through what they may deem as online “advertising.”

What these folks don’t realize, however, is that the word of mouth today is in fact social media. Moreover, if you fail to develop and maintain your online reputation, it might be developed anyway through online rating systems or client commentary – and it may not represent the best you have to offer. (emphasis added)

Having no presence on social media is just as bad for lawyers.

If there is a dearth of information about us online, a prospective client may question why this is so and thus similarly question our fitness to take on their matter.   They may view us as old-fashioned and not in touch with current trends that could benefit their representation.  As such, it important for both seasoned and new attorneys to consistently monitor and improve their online reputations.

The average person using the Internet spends over two hours per day on social media. About 80% of people under age 50 use social media, with the number only dropping to 64% for those age 50 to 64. (Pew Research Center)

People receive news and information, collaborate professionally and engage each other personally across social media. Social media, blogging included, represents the town square, the coffee shop and the bar association meeting and more of today.

The first thing I look for when hiring a professional today — lawyers included — is their Internet presence. What are they saying, what are their peers saying about what they are saying and what are their patients, customers and clients saying about them.

I just retained legal counsel today to represent LexBlog on various transactional matters. I knew of the lawyer and his expertise from his blogging and social media use. It was another lawyer, who I first met via her blogging, who suggested I hire him. Believe it or not, I am more like your public today than you think.

I’m with Brandt, on the value of a reputation – and today, an online reputation.

It is well established that a lawyer’s greatest asset is his or her reputation. In this day and age, this includes one’s online reputation. Developing and maintaining an online reputation can be done for little to no cost, and the return on this minimal investment is astounding.

Lawyers generate their best work via word of mouth and relationships. The Internet did not change this. The Internet accelerates reputations and relationships. No online presence just accelerates how far you are falling behind in the public’s mind.