The presentation this past Tuesday in Philadelphia on "Managing Your Law Firm's Online Reputation" for the LMA Quickstart program went well (at least it seemed that way to me, IMHO). The overall theme of the presentation was that lawyers need to realize that Google is no longer just a search engine, it's a reputation engine that can dramatically impact perceptions of you and your firm.
In other words, clients, prospects and other individuals who interact with your firm will be plugging your firm's name (and the names of its individual attorneys) into Google, and whether they find positive or negative references will play a major role in how they perceive your firm and its lawyers.
As such, it is critically important for firms to:
(i) use tools like RSS feeds and email alerts to monitor traditional media sources, key legal industry blogs, and social networking sites, for both positive and negative references to their firm and key attorneys (and respond as may be necessary - an art in and of itself best left to experienced online PR professionals), and
(ii) proactively seek to develop, publish and promote content that reflects positively on the firm and its individual lawyers (e.g., articles, case studies, press releases, blog posts) through various Internet channels such as PR Web, blogs, social bookmarking sites, and Wikipedia (and not solely the firm's website).
These efforts will stack the deck on Google in favor of positive references to your firm and lawyers (and overwhelm any negative references - hopefully there are none).
For those who missed the presentation, here's a link to the Flash version of the Powerpoint slides (incidentally, for any law firms wishing to convert Powerpoint slide presentations to Flash, feel free to contact us). We also recommended that attendees purchase the book Radically Transparent: Monitoring and Managing Reputations Online, by Andy Beal and Dr. Judy Strauss, for an excellent overview of the process of monitoring and managing an online reputation.