Continuing our online legal marketing redux, we come to our next tip:
You should always remember that clients, judges, lawyers and jurors might find what you publish online.
In the scramble to attract attention from potential clients, lawyers often forget that there are many other people that will probably stumble upon the stuff they put online.
Some lawyers work with very sensitive clients. But even if your clients aren’t sensitive, what you put online can have an impression on them.
Spending your whole day tweeting? What impression does that give your client?
Representing a business in toxic tort litigation? You might want to reconsider that post decrying the evils of big business.
Does that mean you should just avoid the internet altogether? Maybe. That is if you aren’t willing to be conscientious about the potential impact of your online engagement.
But do you live by this rule in the real world? Some of you might.
You might avoid talking sports, politics and religion in professional situations that could give rise to problems.
You might reserve your passion for the Michigan Wolverines for tailgating with your college buddies.
But on the web, “stuff” becomes public and permanent. You really can’t effectively shield the different shades of yourself.
So, you should think about what impact your online activities will have on your clients’ perceptions of you.
But does that mean you shouldn’t “attend?” I don’t think that’s wise either.
Yes, even judges use the internet. Some have even had blogs.
But most are still probably lurkers.
So, if you blog about how much they have aggravated you, don’t be surprised if that has some impact.
Does this mean that you shouldn’t talk about judges? Probably, at least in most cases.
But again, it’s more about making conscientious decisions about what you write, tweet, share, etc.
Colleagues, competitors and opposing counsel are also watching.
Some lawyers like to share litigation strategies online. I’m particularly fond of Plaintiff Trial Lawyer Tips.
Knowledge sharing is an excellent way to nurture professional relationships.
But keep in mind that the enemy is watching too.
Again, it shouldn’t be a straight binary decision. It’s about how you do it.
If you’re a trial lawyer, jurors pose an additional layer of complexity to your web presence.
In fact, some lawyers will show completely different websites when they’re at trial.
From a search perspective, that’s not something that I recommend.
But again, it’s worth consideration.
Is what people can find out about you when they search for you online an asset or a liability?
The point of this post isn’t to scare you into not doing anything online. In fact, ignoring the web won’t solve your problems. You will be reviewed. You will be rated. You will be talked about. You will be searched for online.
The point is to think about what impact what you do online will have on these various audiences beyond just the potential clients to whom you are marketing.