Opinion on the Internet: the risk of the star race for lawyers

On the Internet, you can now write down everything from your street corner pizzeria to your hairdresser to your dentist or lawyer. Only here, everything is not the same. If the pizza maker can defend the quality of his pizza in response to a negative comment, the lawyer is bound by professional secrecy, which condemns him to suffer insults and unjust comments in silence. A situation denounced by Me Michèle Bauer.

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cute little heart I left you a review”, this is how the day sometimes begins for a lawyer who feverishly opens the Google Business notice.

“Sorry, you got a star from cute little heart “, a link leads to the opinion of this little starry heart.

The lawyer then hesitates to click, he knows his day will be ruined, but he can’t help it.

“I advise against fleeing! »

He was right to hesitate: “Master Trolos is arrogant, complacent, he only knows how to ask for money and then there’s no one left, I advise against fleeing, if I had known I wouldn’t have come! And then there isn’t even an elevator and you can’t come with a stroller”.

Pale, the lawyer eviscerates the opinion of the Little heart not adorable at all, try to find out who is behind this ridiculous nickname, review “the movie” from the last two weeks, which customer was he arrogant or smug with? When did you receive a customer or customer with a stroller?

No matter how much he searches, he can’t find who it is Little heart and is annoyed by this bad comment which has lowered the average, from 4 out of 5 stars it goes to 3.7 out of 5, one star is slipping away, at the next comment it goes to 3.

To reassure themselves they say that nobody is perfect, having 5 out of 5 stars is suspicious…

However, he’s frustrated.

Firstly for this opinion which is not verified, cute little heart is he really a customer of the company? Wouldn’t that be an opponent who hasn’t backed up his effective defense? Impossible to know, anyone can leave a comment, Loulou34 how Dede the funnywithout revealing his real name, no identity verification is carried out by Google Business, which makes it clear: Google does not verify reviews, but looks for and removes false content when identified.

Then, since the lawyer cannot reply to a comment whose author he has identified, he is subject to professional secrecy and is therefore prohibited from discussing the details of a file. Then you become younger, become a child again learning to accept frustration. The entire day of the lawyer who has lost a star is devoted to buying five new ones.

Go on the hunt for satisfied customers to increase their average

Then he contacts Madame Gentille who has thanked him at least ten times for “divorcing him”, asks her if she can give him 5 stars.

“But how do you do it, I would like to but I have to create a gmail address, and then I really don’t want my friends to see that I’m divorced, sorry Master, it’s too complicated”.

On the third call, Mr. Sauveur agrees to leave a comment, he gives 5 stars without further details, that’s already the case, the average goes back to 3.8.

Ten days later, notification “Alain ARMAND has left you an opinion”, he starts again, with the same feverishness, the lawyer reads this notification “Bravo, you have received 5 stars from Alain ARMAND”.

This identified client leaves a dithyrambic comment: “Super Avvocato, after twenty years of seniority, got my employer condemned, thank you Avvocato, I really recommend it. »

The reviews published by customers, sometimes opponents, produce the effect of an emotional uplift because we unfortunately know that the new star wars (term borrowed from the book by Vincent COQUAZ and Ismaël Halissat) have been declared by Fred Reichheld, American consultant, inventor of the NPS (Net Promoter Score), improved satisfaction questionnaire that becomes a recommendation questionnaire.

Is this marketing, from which we return, suitable for the legal profession?

The profession has never asked this question, on the contrary, the National Bar Council (CNB) has tried to promote starred lawyers by publishing a report on October 12, 2019. This report by the Perspectives and Innovation Commission started from the postulate that the rating of lawyers it was a fatality, one had to accept it “so goes my good lady”.

The worrying addiction to Google Business

Unfortunately, contrary to what the foresight and innovation of the Commission thought, according to an opinion study, 45% of clients come to consult a lawyer by word of mouth (friends or family), 37% of clients have found their own lawyer via the Internet, first via the lawyer’s website (43%) and 38% via reviews, tied with their city’s court website.

Reviews are one way to find your lawyer, but not the only way.

Stars begin to grow in importance as they can turn into customers.

The lawyer becomes a trader concerned about his reputation, feeling compelled to respond to a negative comment as suggested by e-reputation companies.

He apologizes for the bad experience and assures that next time, the soup, uh no, the service will be better.

The reliance on Google Business is concerning because it undermines the attorney independence enshrined in our oath.

The starry score worries the lawyer as much as some of his clients.

“Master, I won’t pay your last fee, I change my advice, and don’t you dare sue me before the president of the order because I won’t hesitate to give you a star on Google”.

Some customers don’t hesitate to leave several reviews using different nicknames, bordering on defamation or even cyberbullying, which makes some of my colleagues sick. Sadly, King Google refuses to erase these public slurs.

To avoid the Streisand Effect, silence is golden, but it proves painful in these extreme cases.

In conclusion, isn’t it time to think more seriously about the danger this new Star Wars poses for lawyers?

How long will we agree to being seen as vulgar highway toilets?

When are we calling for a law banning the rating of lawyers in the name of protecting our professional secrecy and our independence?

I hope for the moon? Let me dream!

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