To date, I have not found myself in need of a lawyer, but I am fully aware that reality can change in an instant. It’s an ugly truth, but one that I face the longer I work with James Attorney Marketing.

Over the past few months, I’ve asked myself how I would find a lawyer, if I needed one. Who could I trust? How could I determine if they would handle my case well?

I would start by asking my friends and family. I’d hit Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn to ask for recommendations. I would Google something like “Anaheim family law” and see who popped up. Then, with that list of names, I would begin my real search.

Each lawyer would be Googled (or Binged) extensively. If I didn’t hit a website, I’d probably cross her off the list, because I want a preview of my attorney, and a site is the easiest way to get it. I’d look for social media, because I want a sense of my attorney’s personality. Are her updates meaningful, or is it one continuous advertisement for the firm?

With my narrowed list, I’d look at each website. I will admit to judging on face value here, because if the site is unattractive, unprofessional, or disorganized, I’d probably look elsewhere.But if the site had a blog updated with useful, fresh content, and pages loaded with helpful information, that lawyer would likely move to the top of my list.

Finally, I’d search for reviews for the lawyer, using sites like Yelp, Google Maps, Bing Local, Avvo, and LinkedIn. I’d want to know what people were saying about her. Now THIS might surprise you, given my quick-to-judge criteria above, but if there’s a bad review for a lawyer I wouldn’t kick her off the list. In fact, a mediocre review among positive reviews would make me MORE inclined to contact her, because such reviews lend authenticity. I know how easy it is to set up a false account, or ask friends and family to leave you glowing reviews. I also know that not every case goes perfectly every time. So having a mixed bag of reviews isn’t a killer–but having zero reviews might be.

It comes down to this–how well can I get to know my lawyer before contacting her? How does she present herself online?

While it might not be a fair assessment of a lawyer’s skills or experience, finding a lawyer through a method like this is increasingly common, especially as the super-connencted Gen Y-ers grow old enough to need legal services independent of their parents.

So Google yourself. Put yourself in the computer chair of a potential client. What comes up–and do you like what you see? Then take proactive steps to ensure that your in-person reputation is conveyed through your online reputation. And if you have questions, I’m an email or a tweet away, and am happy to lend advice.

I could, after all, be your next client.

***

Casey Lynn—your digital go-to girl—is a writer, editor, and digital native who speaks English and LOL. She spends her days immersed in media as the online reputation manager for James Publishing, and probably has an unhealthy love of tweeting. When she’s not in front of her computer screen (or her magic smartphone) she can be found in the library or on her backyard lounger, reading under the Orange County sun.

Find her on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter.

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