Archive for March, 2011

Managing Your Reputation Online – Unavoidable

March 19, 2011

Carolyn Elefant, who writes the Nolo’s Legal Marketing blog has an excellent post on how attorneys can handle negative posts on Avvo, Yelp etc.  She points out the need to respond publicly but not defensively to criticism.  Carolyn reassures attorneys that negative criticism is not the norm, only 17% of Yelp ratings are one or two stars. She also makes the point that there is no point in attempting to bury your head in the sand.  If you are practicing law, you are subject to online criticism whether or not you are active online.

Additional Steps

  • I would add to her suggestions by encouraging attorneys to utilize social networking and providing content either from their website or blog and disseminate through LinkedIn, Twitter and the like because that give you control of your message and will help drown out the negative comments on Yelp etc.
  • Also, I would recommend setting up a Google alert on your name and law firm.  That way anytime your name or firm name are mentioned, you will know and then you can craft your response.
  • Finally, if the criticism is downright abusive most of these sites allow you to report the abuse and you should do so.

LinkedIn Premium – Good for Lawyers?

March 18, 2011

While I know one lawyer who has used her premium LinkedIn account to reach out to in-house counsel and likes it, I’m not convinced that a premium account makes sense for most professionals.  Here is a link to a list of ten reasons why it DOES make sense to upgrade your LinkedIn account.  You decide!

FTC Report on Protecting Consumer Privacy

March 17, 2011

Yesterday, the Senate held hearings the state of online privacy and the FTC issued this report.  Here is a summary of the “Do Not Track” proposal.

  • Any Do Not Track system should be implemented universally, so that consumers do not have to repeatedly opt out of tracking on different sites;
  • The choice mechanism should be easy to find and easy to use;
  • Any choices offered should be persistent and should not be deleted if, for example, consumers clear their cookies or update their browsers;
  • A Do Not Track system should not only allow consumers to opt out of advertising, it should allow them to opt out of tracking altogether; and
  • A Do Not Track system should be effective and enforceable without technical loopholes.


Do Small Firm Lawyers Get Social Media?

March 15, 2011

Here is an article talking about this report.  The article talks about how these lawyers don’t “get” social media and aren’t using it for marketing.  However, beneath the pie chart describing the various marketing methods they use, they have a section that lists various popular promotional tools and more than a third name online networking and social media as things they do.

Not Listed as Most Effective Marketing

They may not view these efforts as “marketing” because they aren’t paying for them but doesn’t mean that 1. they don’t know what they are or 2. that they don’t find them useful.

MD Bill Restricts Employers Social Media Rights

March 14, 2011

According to this article from Cozen O’Connor, Maryland’s Senate Bill 971, if enacted, would prohibit employers from requiring employees or applicants from disclosing their user name and password for any Web or social media website.

Interestingly, if the employer terminates the employee, the employer is not prohibited from “requiring” the former employer from sharing this information.  Of course, what kind of leverage does an employer have over an ex-employee?

LinkedIn as Attorney Profile of Record

March 13, 2011

Kevin O’Keefe makes the point that LinkedIn has surpassed Martindale as the “profile of record” for attorneys.  He points out the benefits of using Linkedin to connect to the folks you want as clients or referral partners.

LinkedIn Upgrades

I do think that LinkedIn could improve what it provides for attorneys to avoid ethics issues.

  • Allow “specialties” to be a changeable text field so attorneys can mention their practice areas without worrying that what they say conflicts with state bar rules about legal certification
  • Allow for inclusion of notice and disclaimer fields so that attorneys can state at the bottom of their profile page that this is an advertisement if required to do so by their state bar association
  • Allow for contacts to be viewable by their network on an individual rather global basis

Testing twitterfeed!

March 12, 2011

Increasingly social media dissemination needs to be customized to particular messages which is why it is great that twitterfeed allows users to choose which posts to share with Twitter and which not to.

This is my first attempt and I am hoping that you don’t see show up on my Twitter but only here and on my LinkedIn profile.

Judge in Debt Collection Case on Solid Ground

March 11, 2011

Yesterday I posted about a judge who prohibited a debt collector from contacting friends and family regarding money owed.  This article explains that the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) and many state laws prohibit collectors from disclosing to a third party that a debt is owed.  Furthermore, they can’t misrepresent or use deceptive means to connect with the debtor.

Given that, its hard to see how a collector can use social networking proactively to make contact with a debtor.  They could use the public information available on these websites to located the person through other legal means but not through the tools provided by Facebook etc.

Judge Says No to Debt Collectors

March 10, 2011

MarchOne, a debt collection agency, is prohibited by a Florida judge from contact the friends of a debtor through Facebook or any other social media website according to this news account.


Will this become more common?  Or is the judge out on a limb?

Police & Social Media

March 9, 2011

I have written several posts about the use of social media by law enforcement.  One of the big issues is the lack of a policy for how to use social media.  This article is symptomatic of a disconnect.   It starts off talking about how the police alerted people about a water main break but not about a dangerous suspect being hunted on foot through residential neighborhoods.

Later in the article, it states that no real training is needed to post on Twitter or Facebook.  Really?  Perhaps the technical act of posting is pretty easy but that doesn’t mean that when, what and where to post what kind of information is that straightforward.