Take a look at any successful law firm and what you’ll notice they all have a glowing reputation in common. There’s no doubt that having a strong track record contributes to this image, but prospective clients won’t have any notion of this unless you spell it out on your website. Testimonials for law firms and other forms of word-of-mouth equity account for 20-50% of buying decisions in our consumer driven world. If that seems like a high percentage, that’s because it is. With such a strong influence then, why aren’t more lawyers collecting and showcasing client reviews and testimonials for law firms?
Some lawyers may be on the fence as to what constitutes the ethical boundaries of these review sites and there’s a great deal of validity in that concern since each state’s rules of professional conduct differ. Before implementing any changes on your website it’s important to first learn which advertising guidelines are relevant to you. For example, some states require endorsements or testimonials for law firms to be followed by a disclaimer while other jurisdictions have more stringent regulations as what constitutes an advertisement.
In this article we’ll take a look at 7 ways for your firm to find meaningful testimonials for law firms.
Wouldn’t you know it, but Yelp has been named the most trusted review site for law firms across the board, according to a recent survey which makes it a great place to ascertain testimonials for law firms. The popular review site gets an average of 139 million visitors each month and what’s even more surprising is that it was rated more popular than attorney listing sites like Avvo, Super Lawyers or Martindale-Hubbell.
According to Yelp guidelines you are permitted to use reviews posted as long as they:
- Are not taken out of context
- Don’t change the intention of the reviewer
- Receive permissions from the original reviewer with attribution
- Source Yelp as the original source with the appropriate logo
Haven’t claimed your business on Yelp yet? It’s imperative to do this as soon as possible and while you’re at it, make sure all the basic information is accurate including your address, phone number, website link, hours of operation, and category. Be aware that you are responsible for the contents listed on your profile and it should abide by the professional conduct advertising rules established within your state.
For example, the New York Rules of Professional Conduct states:
“A lawyer or law firm shall not use or disseminate or participate in the use or dissemination of any advertisement that: (1) contains statements or claims that are false, deceptive or misleading; or (2) violates a disciplinary rule.”
These are not the only regulations which apply to testimonials for law firms which is why it’s best to explore your state’s specific rules.
Avvo, touted as an online marketplace for legal services, offers a trove of information related to lawyer ratings and advice. Clients and other individuals who rate lawyers on Avvo can indicate their level of professional conduct, industry recognition, overall experience and a number of other factors. Client reviews are located towards the bottom of each attorney’s profile just above peer endorsements.
LinkedIn is a superhub for personal recommendations, colleague reviews and other testimonials from existing connections. What’s more, you have the ability to see a detailed profile of the individual who wrote the review or recommendation including their professional networks. Not only is this beneficial for boosting the credibility of your sources but also expanding your immediate organization.
If your Facebook or Twitter profiles have a large following, it may be a good place to find testimonials for law firms. You do, however, need to receive client consent prior to using any information shared with your firm via social media. On that note however, in many states including Florida, law firm websites and their corresponding social media pages are subject to the same restrictions imposed on other advertising channels. Below is a snippet of the Florida Supreme Court’s recent ruling:
“There are two distinct types of lawyer communication that are now subject to the same restrictions and regulations: (1) the traditional forms of paid advertising such as television, radio, and billboards, which as a general rule given the time and space limitations, do not provide a potential client sufficient information from which to make an informed decision; and (2) other forms of communication, such as websites and information requested by a prospective.”
A user looking for a law firm using the Google search engine will typically see Google+ reviews at the top of the organic results page. For that reason, having positive client testimonials on these profile pages can offer tremendous benefits. It’s also a great place to highlight reviews from customers.
6. Getting Testimonials for Law Firms From Exit Surveys
After wrapping up a case, if your firm sends out a satisfaction survey it can be helpful to include a section with an optional review/testimonial for law firms portion. Valuable testimonials for law firms are those which highlight your company’s strengths. Also, more specific testimonials tend to be more helpful to prospective clients, assuming no client confidentiality agreement is violated. A few questions to help generate thought include:
- Would you recommend our legal services to a family member or friend? Why?
- How would you summarize your experience with our law firm?
7. Personal Requests
When it comes to garnering testimonials for law firms a personal request can go far. If a client sends you an email expressing satisfaction with their case, take the opportunity to ask for a recommendation while the case is fresh. More often than not, they’ll be happy to write it for you.
Testimonials for Law Firms Recap
As a general rule of thumb it’s a good practice to receive permission in writing to publish any testimonial from a current or former client. These seven ways are usually effective at getting client testimonials but remember to first check with your state’s advertising regulations before publishing any new material.
Disclaimer: For legal purposes, this information regarding testimonials for law firms should not be considered legal advice nor should it be used exclusively to make decisions pertaining to your firm.