As a third year lawyer I found myself assisting with a weeks-long trial in California that centered around two power-house Hollywood types, both out for blood (breach of contract case, but yes, blood). The opposing party, Michael Sitrick, is known as the "king of crisis PR" and a master of "spin." His work involves representing high profile companies and celebrities when they have run-ins with the law, the media, and one another. Rightly or wrongly, he restores their reputation. It's a dirty business, but someone's got to do it. And, by all accounts, he's great at it. While you likely don't need the kind of help Sitrick can offer, as professionals, our image and reputation should always be at the forefront. Keep reading to learn a few simple reputation management techniques for your legal practice.
These days, with your consent or without, every one of us has an Internet persona claiming to tell others some story about who we are. We have public artifacts, so to speak, indicating where we went (go) to school, where we live, where we are employed, and, in some instances, who our friends and colleagues are.
Whether your artifacts appear on your firm website, LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, etc., they are out there, and, generally speaking, the artifacts are incomplete. You are bigger than the sum of the parts, anyway. This week, take a moment to ensure the information reflects who you are, and in the best possible light.
1. Google Yourself
If you have not done so recently, take a few moments to Google yourself. What results do you see? If the results are unfavorable in any way, take action. Take down any questionable photographs, or set them to private. Delete any blog posts or comments that, in retrospect, may offend a potential employer or client (or simply give your opposing counsel something to hold over your head).
2. Update Existing Profiles
Your firm biography, LinkedIn profile, Twitter biography blurb, and any other bios out there should be kept up-to-date and should reflect only the most flattering things about you and your professional life. Whether you are a law student or practicing lawyer, you have crossed the threshold into the professional world. Your priority, on the Internet and otherwise, is to reflect a formal, professional, accomplished persona.
3. Contribute To Educational & Other Reputable Journals, Blogs, Etc.
If you run a Google search for anything, as I am sure you have thousands of times, you will start to detect a pattern. Certain sites are favored by Google, and those sites will take a more prominent place in the search results than other sites again and again. In a professional context - legal, specifically - if you can associate your name with a law firm, academic institution, or reputable legal journal, your chances of appearing prominently in Google will increase. In upcoming months, make it a goal to contribute in some way to a prominent academic or other legal publication. Not only will this lead to a positive search result associated with your name, there is prestige in contributing to any such publication. When you do contribute, remember to update your resume, bio, etc. accordingly.
In short, tell your story. As Sitrick says, "If you don't tell your story, someone else will."
Desiree Moore is the President and founder of Greenhorn Legal, LLC. Greenhorn Legal offers intensive practical skills training programs for law students and new lawyers as they transition from law school into their legal practices. Ms. Moore is also an adjunct professor at Loyola University Chicago School of Law and was an associate at the law firm of K&L Gates. She can be found on Twitter at @greenhornlegal.