Regular Minnesota Litigator readers will note that, among other recurring themes, we are preoccupied with marketing for legal services and lawyers and reputation. We should not have to point out the critical overlap of these areas of interest. We have also found defamation in the internet age to be a fertile ground for posts and, again, the overlap of interest is self-evident.

That brings us to today’s post.

“Mike H” is the only person to have reviewed LEVENTHAL pllc via a “Google review.” A month ago, he gave us one star out of five. “Mike H” did not explain the low rating nor did he give any clue as to how or when he has worked with or been represented by LEVENTHAL pllc, if, in fact, he ever has (which we very much doubt).

For a month, we mulled over how we should respond to this public slight. (But is it public? Or have we just amplified something that otherwise would have been in “practical obscurity”? Even if such an uninformative speck of datum were widely viewed, would it make an impression on anyone? Would it have any impact at all?) (Ed. note: By pure coincidence, the NY Times weighed in on this subject two day ago.)

If you go to the “Google review” in question, you will see that we have posted a response to Mike H’s rating saying the following:

LEVENTHAL pllc records do not appear to include a client by the name of “Mike H” or any similar name but, as it happens, our records do include such a name as an adversary in a recent commercial litigation matter. We encourage clients and potential clients to evaluate their lawyers based on reliable information. An anonymous negative rating without any facts is not that. Go to www.leventhalplllc.com to see our qualifications and experience. Thank you

And, in addition, we have just created a “testimonials page” on our website with genuine comments from real LEVENTHAL pllc clients who put their names behind their opinions.

Clearly, there is no “right answer” to lawyer marketing. Maybe the only wrong answer is when lawyers ignore the need to promote themselves in any way.

Recognizing a need to market one’s skills and capabilities, it still leaves us at a loss for how to deal with “reputation repair” or “reputation management,” whether concerning recovery from defamation or an actual professional set-back. We can, of course, pay people money for reputation repair or management. Think of the challenge people these businesses have in their marketing. They certainly can’t tout testimonials or identifiable case studies. (On the other hand, this constraint frees the unscrupulous among them to fabricate anonymized case studies or to exaggerate their power to “bury” bad search results.)

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