How To Deal With Negative Law Firm Reviews Left by Non-Clients

The question:

What do you recommend if a non-client leaves a poor review? I’ve had a few that I’ve spoken to on the phone but they apparently didn’t like what I had to say so they left a lousy review. There have even been a few that I’ve never spoken to or have met me in person that still left a bad review.

My answer:

Where bad reviews usually come from

We’ve seen this happen a few times, especially with family law clients. In fact, I’ve seen this happen to multiple clients. They get a really good result for their client and then their client’s spouse will go on and leave a review for the attorney that just beats them up and talks about what a horrible attorney they are.

It’s interesting because they’re not clients. So you just have to respond in a way that is not going to make you look like an idiot. You never want to call somebody an idiot or a liar because you always look bad.

How to respond

Instead, you want to say something like this: “Thank you so much for taking the time to leave a review. We value all feedback and take all feedback seriously. Upon further review, we are not able to find any record of you being a client of our law firm or having ever been a client of our law firm.

“However, we still would like to know what the issue is and what has caused you to be so upset. Please contact me at the office. You can send me an email or call me at the office. I’d love to chat with you and see if we can figure out a way to fix the situation amicably.”

How this kind of response helps you

The reality is that this person is never going to call you. The response to that review is not even for that person. It’s for all the tens of thousands of people that are going to see those reviews in the future because Google will not remove a review just because the reviewer is not a client.

We’ve had that happen many times and we’ve tried to get it removed many times as well. You have to respond in a way that doesn’t make you look like a jerk.

The need to be proactive

You also have to be proactive and get a lot of reviews that are positive. In fact, you should be doing this all the time. That way, one negative review won’t hurt you quite so bad because it’s very rare.

Businesses are run by people and people make mistakes so if you have you know 50 reviews and a couple of them are negative, that’s not that big of a deal. Let’s say you have 44 5-star reviews and then a 3-star review and three 1-star reviews.

Those 1-star reviews are not going to hurt you that much because the majority of people had a good experience with you. That’s going to be reflected. You’re going to have a 4.4 star rating.

If you don’t have many good reviews

If you only have two reviews and one of them is negative even if they were never a client that’s still going to hurt you. We have one client in Cerritos, California, and the only time we ever hear from him is when his phone stops ringing. And every single time that his phone stops ringing I don’t even have to look anymore. I just go into his Google profile and I see that he got some negative reviews and his star rating dropped.

I say, I told you the last three times to go get more positive 5-star reviews and you’ll have a better reputation online, and people will start calling you again. Every single time that happens, I don’t hear from him again for another year until he gets more bad reviews.

That’s one thing that makes a big difference. You really want to protect yourself from having these types of reviews affecting you by proactively going out and getting a lot of reviews.