Immigration Practice News

Volume 3, Issue 3

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Client Testimonials: Easy—And Free!—Advertising By Eve Guillergan I t has been said that "a good reputation is more valuable than money" (credited to Publilius Syrus, Roman writer, 1st century BC.) That couldn't be more true in our modern age where we are bombarded with so many options. I was recently retained by a new client who had read a positive online testimonial about my immigration law practice—someone he didn't even know. The Internet has become a game-changer in the way that consumers gather information, includ- ing shopping for attorneys, and you can use that to your advantage. It doesn't cost you anything to collect a testimonial and a positive one can be the determining factor in someone deciding to hire you. This is particularly good news to attorneys with law practices who don't have a lot of money to spend on advertising. You can post testimoni- als in both general directories, such as Citysearch. com or yelp.com, or websites targeted at rating attorneys such as Lawyers.com, Avvo.com or LawyerRatingZ.com. You should also post testi- monials on your law firm's website. A positive review for a lawyer can help ease a potential client's nerves about hiring someone they don't know. A good review can help a lawyer stand out from the crowd. Before asking for a testimonial or posting one on your website, check your state's bar association ethics rules. Even the happiest of clients would not likely vol- unteer to give you a positive testimonial, so you will have to ask for it. Understand that not all clients will want to participate. The best time to ask a client to write a review is when he is happy with the work you've done. Potential clients are not only seeking an expert in immigration law but someone whom they trust. The review should include not only the outcome of a case but what made it an overall positive experience such as, "She returned my calls quickly," or "He had a firm understanding of the law." If you're uncomfortable asking a client directly for a review you can ask for it in your firm's written customer satisfaction survey. Remember to tell the client how you will use the testimonial. If possible, you should review your client's testimonial to make sure he did not write inap- propriate comments. Be aware that you may not always be able to edit what's been posted. Ask the client to put the testimonial in his own words and keep it short. Don't panic if a client posts a negative comment about you. An occasional moderate, or even bad, review gives credibility to the many good reviews you'll hopefully have. Clients understand that ev- ery attorney has had a dissatisfied client at some point in his career. If you feel strongly about a bad review, you can post a response explaining the is- sue to potential new clients. Eve Guillergan is a sole practitioner in New York. BETTER BRANDING CONTINUED FROM 1 >> others. As such, attorneys who contribute online must maintain a keen eye on which members of its wide audience are likely to view a post and what message they intend to convey. Watch out for unauthorized practice of law. The practice of immigration law is not as federal as it used to be. As state and local governments implement their own immigration measures, attorneys might find themselves in hot water for commenting on matters outside the jurisdictional bounds of their law licenses. Additionally, attorneys should be careful that information posted on social media is not considered legal advice. For this reason, immigration attorneys should disclaim any information posted electronically and should take steps to ensure that an implied attorney-client relationship is not created. Regulate your online presence. Social media policies are becoming the norm in the workplace for good reason. Responsible law firms should carefully draſt social media policies that tackle the potential pitfalls of being interactive online. What social media outlets will the attorney use? How oſten will social media be updated? Who will have access to create social media posts? Good social media policies answer these and other important questions and ensure a quality online presence. A well-planned and well-executed online presence is paramount to ensuring a positive response to an attorney's social media presence. Just remember, a feed of a thousand tweets begins with a single, responsible post of 140 characters. Ryan A. Adair is an immigration and employment lawyer in Denver, Colorado. www.aila.org 2

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