Avvo.com Reviews: Should You Trust Them? Are They Reliable?
Time and time again attorney clients of mine ask me if Avvo.com reviews from consumers are reliable and if they should trust their review system.
Whether they think that the reviews may be from fake clients, or they think a review was one upset client that left it, I usually say the same thing.
In my opinion, it doesn’t matter if the consumer reviews were reliable at all. The fact is, that potential clients can see them publicly when doing research and may use that information when deciding on whether or not to hire an attorney. It really doesn’t matter if other attorneys think they’re not worth the ink they’re printed on.
Some attorneys need to have a bit of a paradigm shift and worry more about whether clients believe they should trust them as opposed to other attorneys trusting them.
The reality is though that consumers do trust these reviews or at the very least look at them. How do I know this? A quick search on Quora found questions like “Is Avvo a reliable source to determine if a lawyer is good?” where people are questioning the legitimacy of the reviews. If consumers are asking these questions, then they’re viewing attorney profiles and reviews.
Should you trust Avvo reviews? For Consumers
While this answer should just be a clean cut one it’s not. If you are looking for consumer reviews on attorneys, Avvo should be a good place to start. The issue however is that it can’t be the end all be all. The fact is that even though attorneys are held to ethical standards does not mean that their marketing companies are taking that to heart. It also doesn’t mean that there is not an unethical attorney out there trying to manipulate this information.
Whenever you’re making a decision on hiring an attorney you absolutely need to do your due diligence. The reality is that if someone had a bad experience with an attorney you should be able to find it. While AVVO might be a decent place to start you will also want to Google the attorney name and the law firm name with the word “reviews” following the name. This should come up with a variety of results from across the web where you can learn about their past history. If the attorney was a sleaze ball you should be able to find the complaints with little effort. On the other hand if it’s hard to find a negative review or they are few and far between, it may be a good choice to hire them. Alternatively you may want to think twice about attorneys that don’t have any rating as they may be new. One good thing about Avvo.com and Lawyers.com is that they indicate the year they were admitted to the state BAR so it should be easy to find as well.
Should you trust Avvo reviews? For Attorneys
Attorneys need to come back to earth and look at this problem from a different angle. If you’re an attorney or work for one you should not be concerned about whether or not the reviews are trustworthy. You need to be concerned about reputation management. If someone legitimately leaves a review about you or your law firm they have feedback they want you to see. If its great feedback you should keep up the good work and take any criticisms as ways you can improve your practice. On the other hand if it’s a negative review you should focus your primary efforts on making that client happy if possible, playing damage control, and learning from the mistakes made. You can then help refine your processes and improve your firm from this feedback.
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