Published to: 000113, 000116, A Small Town Lawyer's Perspective, advertising, lawyer ratings, office management, Perspectives of a Small Town Lawyer, social media, West Virginia Lawyer - Tips and Techniques, word of mouth, yellow pages
on July 21, 2014 2:08 pm
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My colleagues and I in WV have been largely spared the instant feedback that online lawyer ratings provide, and the threat, challenge, and opportunity of this “Brave New World”.
Even today, the Yellow Pages brings in as many clients as my Internet advertising, and simple “word of mouth” brings in more that all my advertising combined.
But, that’s about to change, big time! My first warning of this was 2-3 years ago, when I learned that a couple fellows had ganged up and posted several pejorative comments of me. They had me pleading a guy guilty to DUI even though I don’t handle DUI case. They also had me telling a male client he had no chance for “custody” when that term has been outmoded in WV for ten years. Truth is, we can get parenting time, shared decision making on major matters, and shared access to all the child’s records, for every fit parent.
Getting decent reviews means we have to do good work and ask our clients for feedback. This can be a humbling experience. Answers can be surprising. One lady was furious at me because her prior lawyer did not get an agreement to provide medical insurance for their daughter through college, something the law does not require of any father. Our results were excellent in collecting back due support monies, but not up to her expectations, so I am sure I would not get a good review for her.
Recently, I was called “a jerk” online by someone named “janajaiyne”. In checking her other posted review, I saw she trashed a local mediator on the same day she took me to task. Turns out that, with the skillful help of the mediator, we reached a compromise agreement that the client testified she was satisfied with. The client chose the sure result in order to avoid the cost, delay, and risk or rolling the dice.
Recently, I have been getting some very touching reviews by good clients who entrusted their lives and families with us. I posted this in response to such a good review:
I did not respond to the early, negative, reviews of my services, when I stumbled on them @ 3 years ago. Once I figured out who wrote them, everything became clear.
The person who wrote this review is a dear person. She was brave and determined during a time of adversity.
Our firm’s early reviewers had an agenda. Both had a fee dispute, and I found both impossible to get through to.
My experience is that the most demanding and critical of clients are also the most indignant over having to pay for our services.
I am tough on clients. They must confirm to standards of good parenting and good sense.
We give the troubled ones many chances to improve. I sometimes have to withdraw if a client persistently fails to follow my advice or act in their children’s best interests.
I am been told I am not tactful. I am working on that.
Some clients arrive with such pre-conceptions about our court system or lawyers in general that I never can gain their trust. Those who buy into my system of preparing for cases, and who cooperate fully, tend to write reviews like we have received for the last two years.
I am sorry I cannot please everyone, but I am happy that most of my clients eventually learn to hunker down, prepare, and behave. They are the ones who make me want to get out of bed in the morning.
This post was written by Burton Hunter