What if I receive a negative review?

Yael Boloker -

It is obviously difficult to receive a negative review. You may feel worried, confused, shocked, and/or angry. In some cases the review may seem to “come out of the blue,” while in other cases you may have had some inkling that the client was not completely satisfied.

Our site rules permit a lawyer to respond once to a review. For a summary of our site rules about reviews, please see “Reviews on Zeekbeek® Summary.” 

If you do plan to respond to a review, we offer the following suggestions for your consideration:

  • Ethical rules require that you not disclose any confidential client information in your response.  (The attorney "self defense" exception in Michigan Rule of Professional Conduct 1,6 does not clearly establish a safe harbor for responding to online allegations of wrongful conduct.)
  • Your reply is a "statement about your services" and must comply with the rules of professional conduct governing advertising.  Therefore, you cannot say anything that could be false, misleading or deceptive or that creates an unjustified expectation about results you can achieve for a client.
  • It may be helpful to wait 24 hours before posting any response so that you can compose yourself and be more thoughtful about what you say.
  • Your response is an opportunity for you to display your professionalism and concern. A neutral statement (such as “I was sorry to hear that you were not completely satisfied with my work”), a general statement (such as “I strive to offer the highest quality representation to my clients”), and an invitation for the client to contact you offline to discuss the matter further, may be preferable to a direct challenge to the review.
  • Most consumers know that some negative reviews are to be expected and, in fact, may not trust a site that displays only positive reviews.
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