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Law Practice Management and Technology

The Bottom Line Volume 34, No. 5, December 2013

MCLE Self-Study Article Online Reputation – Occupational Hazard for Lawyers

By Jay Bettinger, Esq.
Bettinger, LLP

Lawyers are often shocked to find letters or emails they wrote to adverse parties appear online — even more so when hateful, usually anonymous, Internet comments target them. Consider what happened to the NFL attorney who was caught in the crossfire when she sent cease-and-desist letters on behalf of the NFL to neighborhood churches to prevent them from using the term “Super Bowl” to promote hosted parties.

Online reputation is a tool in legal disputes to affect the outcome of otherwise unremarkable, routine legal matters. Though they often dodge the attention of high profile blog sites like AboveTheLaw.com or Volokh.com, solo practitioners and small firms should pay close attention to their online reputation, for it is quickly becoming an occupational hazard.

In the context of online reputation, every lawyer should think about online sites that cater to attorney reputation, such as AVVO.com, Lawyers.com, Martindale.com, and SuperLawyers.com. Most are managing their profiles on LinkedIn.com, Facebook.com, and Twitter.com, and almost everyone is aware of sites like Yelp.com, HealthGrades.com, TripAdvisor.com, Glassdoor.com, and RateMyProfessors.com.

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