Managing Your Legal Firm’s Image in an Online World

So, NASA was recently interviewing professionals to be sent to Mars.

Only one would get to go, and the person would not be able to return to Earth. The first applicant, an engineer, was asked how much he wanted to be paid for going.

“A million dollars,” he answered, “because I want to donate it to M.I.T.”

The next applicant, a doctor, was asked the same question. He asked for $2 million. “I want to give million to my family,” he explained, “and leave the other million for the advancement of medical research.”

The last applicant was a lawyer. When asked how much money he wanted, he whispered in the interviewer’s ear, “Three million dollars.”
“Why so much more than the others?” asked the interviewer.

The lawyer smiled. “If you give me $3 million, I’ll give you $1 million, I’ll keep $1 million, and we’ll send the engineer to Mars.”

This snippet, of course, is just a little joke, but it illustrates well how lawyers can perhaps be judged a little unfairly. Lawyers, firstly, tend to be judged as a group, rather than as individuals or human beings, with both positive and negative characteristics like everyone else.

Most people start out in law school young, idealistic, and hoping to make a difference in the world. And whatever happens along the way, many lawyers always retain something of that youthful idealism, however deeply they may need to bury it in order to get on with the business of daily living, particularly that business which involves solving problems for those who then turn and judge so harshly.

Well, life is rarely fair, right? And the reality of this life is that communication happens at lightning speed, across massive audiences, and via dozens if not thousands of channels at once. How, then, does one attempt to track and control how one is viewed in the online universe?

Who Are You, and What Do You Stand For?

Properly managing public relations and marketing in the online arena means determining the specific image you want to portray and working to show who you are and what you represent in the best light possible. There are many tools available through PR agencies, but there is also a lot that you can do yourself, through social media channels and via your own web site, to represent the quality of person or company you are, and the kind of work you do.

Phoenix, Arizona legal firm Lerner & Rowe have found a proactive approach, starting a segment on their web site that documents news about their organization’s involvement in their local community. Since they give to a lot of charitable causes and participate in various local fundraisers, why not let customers know that they are a law firm that cares?

A web site, however, is only one way of demonstrating online who you are and what you do.

Tools for Managing Your Online Reputation

While some of the more traditional tools used by Public Relations professionals, such as press releases and press kits, are still definitely in fashion, there are many new tools out there, too. Social media releases, SEO, content publishing, podcasting and blogging are some of the better ones out there.

For anyone wishing to more proactively manage their place in the online world, with a little extra effort, using these tools can do a lot to promote a positive reputation that enhances your business prospects. Happy campaigning!