Online reviews are enormously important for a law firm. Many potential clients thoroughly review the online reviews of a law firm (and do other research) before deciding to hire that law firm. The prevalence of online reviews is not new. Online reviews have been around for a while. And to the chagrin of many, they are not going away.
But this is different from how the legal practice used to work before the advent of the internet. Before the arrival of the internet, upset clients could not voice their displeasure in a public forum. But by the day, the number of online review sites is growing.
Even legal directories that have been pillars of the legal industry for years are allowing online reviews now. For example, directories like FindLaw and Lawyers.com eventually jumped onboard by allowing reviews.
What some lawyers and law firms have done to build up their reputation is to create a testimonials’ page on their webpage. On the testimonials’ page, the law firm posts glowing reviews from former clients. Some lawyers might even post a positive review on their webpage biography page.
The hope is that potential clients will read the glowing reviews on their webpage. The potential clients will then decide to hire the law firm. In theory, this makes sense, but there is a problem with the analysis.
The problem with the analysis is most potential clients can quickly tell that the reviews are all glowing. The prospective clients can also easily see that unhappy clients are unable to post their reviews on the testimonials’ page because the law firm created and controls it.
The fact that potential clients can easily see that the law firm is cherry-picking glowing reviews is why these testimonials’ pages have little value. Most potential clients will instead go to other third-party sources to read online reviews. On these third-party sources, the potential clients can see good reviews, bad reviews and those that are mixed.
For this reason, lawyers and law firms should focus their efforts on getting positive reviews on third-party sources. The number of third-party review sites is vast in number. But to the extent lawyers and law firms are concerned about online reviews, they should focus on these third-party sites versus a testimonials’ page on their webpage.
If a law firm is going to have a testimonials’ page on their webpage anyway, they should be realistic about the impact. While there is nothing wrong with having one, the truth is that it will not help much and does not negate these third-party sites.
If you have any thoughts, feel free to share them below