Finding a Lawyer: Google Search vs. Social Media
This is the story of how one person used Google and social media to find a lawyer.
A year after using Google to find a lawyer, a disenchanted friend asked if I could recommend another lawyer. She came to me because of my long history working in the legal profession. Naturally, I didn’t know anyone that fit the bill, so I offered to post her request on Facebook since I’m connected to many lawyers and friends of lawyers. Here’s her story.
Finding a lawyer using Google Search
Because of the very personal nature of her problem, my friend (let’s call her Beth) didn’t want to approach friends or post on social media asking for lawyer recommendations. So, she performed a Google search.
She quickly found a two-person firm that fit the bill – local and experienced. She found them because of their effectively optimized website, and knew they were experienced because of their videos on YouTube and interviews with the press. They didn’t have a social media or blogging presence, but that didn’t bother her since they had other, meaningful online activities.
She met with them and things started well. They were personable, somewhat affordable, and started working on the problem. Then things started to go south – primarily due to a lack of communication and tech savvy: they only communicated via telephone – no email or portal. And, they often failed to return a call. Deadlines were missed and blamed on the client for her lack of “being on top of things.” A year later, she was back to square one and decided to ditch the firm and find a new lawyer.
Using social media to find a lawyer
That’s when Beth asked me if I knew a lawyer that could help her. I posted her request on my Facebook wall and got a few responses from connections who knew lawyers that could help. She contacted two of the recommended lawyers and chose one after a being satisfied with his answers about her situation and how he communicated with his clients.
Beth and her attorney have just started working on her problem, but already she’s more positive and comfortable – and informed – than at any time with her previous counsel. Sure, it’s still early in the relationship, but it’s off to a great start.
- Google search is effective in helping you find a lawyer. The lawyer you find might even be great – mostly because their website says so. Social media also helps you find lawyers who might be great – mostly because others say so. Much better.
- A Google search offers anonymity when searching for a lawyer to resolve a particularly sensitive matter. But, be aware that you won’t necessarily get the best lawyer in the first few results, just the best optimized lawyer websites.
- In addition to feeling confident that the lawyer understands your problem and can help you resolve it, make sure that they’re very clear in how they communicate with you. Beth’s situation has convinced me that communication is key to a good attorney-client relationship. Having a practice management system with a client portal for exchanging documents and messages is ideal. Absent that, there must be access to communication channels besides the occasional phone call.
- A lawyer doesn’t have to be a social media star for you to chose her as your lawyer but it helps to have a presence to allay concerns. It also raises her profile so others can get to know and recommend (or in some cases, not recommend) her.
- Finally, word of mouth still rules. Social media helps spread the word and a website or blog confirms it.
Don’t want to risk a Google search result or not active on social media? There are services, like Rocket Lawyer and Lawdingo, that match up lawyers with clients.
This is Beth’s story but based on many recent conversations, it’s not the only one out there. Each option – Google search, social media, and word of mouth – has merit, but is most effective when used collectively to find the right lawyer when you need help.