Should an attorney be asked whether law firms should allow the public to post their comments on their website and if attorneys should provide answers to user’s questions, it is highly likely that he or she will respond to the contrary? This is because these issues raise the risk of malpractice liability. Some may say that this situation may open a Pandora’s Box. Before any firm can allow comments on its website, several concerns should be addressed.
There is also the need to evaluate some potential advantages. It is true that attorneys address different questions raised by the public online daily. This practice is known to boost the search engine results of a law firm, thus wooing prospective clients.
On the outset, the policy followed by a law firm on website comments must subscribe to applicable state laws. In addition, it must follow ethical rules concerning attorney advertising and highlight when the relationship between a client and an attorney may be established. Moreover, the comment section should be moderated. Any comment made by a user should not go live before it has been reviewed by a staff of the law firm. By allowing users to comment on its website, a law firm enhances interaction with the public. This strategy may make a firm augment its position as a hub of information, where anyone can get an answer.
Responding to Comments
When a law firm responds to the different questions posed by the public in an informative and friendly manner, the users will always answer with a message of thanks. This approach serves different marketing goals, including proving that the law firm channels its energy towards serving clients and addressing their concerns through real-time responses. In most instances, clients who are seeking legal services will always enlist the services of the firm that gave them a positive experience.
Content and visual design, the feel and look, of the website should uphold the image of the firm. The comment section should be set in such a way that it can collect the email addresses of the users. Where necessary, a law firm can address a user privately. In addition, it is prudent to have a comment form that allows users to sign in through Twitter or Facebook. The website should also be designed in such a way that it cannot allow anonymous questions or relay the identity of a user publicly. Longer content generates high traffic through the search engine results pages, thus more prospective clients. Google uses both the content and user comments to determine the value of a page for a certain search term.
Comment Section Tips
It is prudent to use popular questions for purposes of generating more in-depth content. Regularly, attorneys answer questions posed by the users on renowned websites such as Market My Market. This way, they benefit in getting increased visibility. However, responding to questions directly from the website of a firm discards the intermediary, thus delivering all the benefits to the law firm.
Law firms should make it clear that use of the comment form does not establish an attorney-client relationship and responses should not be considered as legal advice. The public should also be made aware that their comments are not confidential, thus they are free to post them pseudonymously and anonymously. While reviewing comments before posting them, it is wise to drown out the negative ones. Notably, a law firm should pay attention to the time used to reply to comments once they have been posted.
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