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"He who steals my purse, steals trash," William Shakespeare wrote, explaining that money doesn't last. "But he who filches my good name robs me of that which not enriches him and makes me poor indeed."
The great writer bled wisdom on the pages of literary history, leaving such truisms that adorn centuries of libraries and the freshest web pages today. Of course, he also wrote that the first thing to do in a new order is to kill all the lawyers, so whatever.
The point is, protecting your law firm's reputation is worth at least a quick read. Here's a to-do list:
This is no time for fake news. Build a reputation by doing something real. Four words: Volunteer. Mentor. Pro Bono.
Volunteer at a local non-profit, religious institution, or charitable organization. You don't have to volunteer law work. Just help build the community, and people will see your values.
Mentor students and you may inspire someone to become a lawyer. It also helps that high school and college students spread information on the internet faster than flooding in California.
Pro bono is not begrudgingly working for clients who don't pay their bills. It means willingly working without charging for your time. The difference is huge in creating a reputation.
If Shakespeare had lived in the internet age, he would have had a website. He might have cut his hair and changed his manner of speech, too, but the lesson is that everyone who would pen their reputation should be online.
It takes more than writing a law firm profile or an article, however. Because the internet is different, lawyers need to approach it differently.
Start a legal blog or contribute to a legal website, and your writings will proliferate. Set up a Google alert to keep track of your name and to follow subjects that you may want to write about.
It's not about boasting; it is about branding. Get your name online but focus on content.
For better or for worse, the internet is a powerful tool in creating a reputation. Even Yelp, once primarily a domain for reviewing restaurants, is a popular place for comments about lawyers.
According to a FindLaw survey, 57 percent of consumers left online reviews or ratings about their lawyers. And it wasn't only the complainers who reviewed attorneys online. Most clients leave positive reviews.
Want more information on building your practice? Let the experts at FindLaw's Lawyer Marketing give you a hand.
Meeting with a lawyer can help you understand your options and how to best protect your rights. Visit our attorney directory to find a lawyer near you who can help.