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Bar Association of San Francisco Member Benefits: Publications

Managing Your Firm’s Online Reputation


By Marcie Areias, Golden Gate University School of Law

With social media now mainstream, the responsibility of understanding online personal branding and how it affects your legal practice is more important than ever. Clients, colleagues, and potential employers make decisions based on online credentials, and therefore, it is critical for attorneys to monitor and build their online reputation.

Monitor Your Reputation

Even if you don’t use social media, your reputation is not immune from its reach. Monitor what information is online about you by running a simple Google search and visiting people search engines such as Pipl ( At a minimum you should set a Google alert ( for your name and your firm name. If you find something you are not proud of or that is false, go straight to the source or hire a professional organization, such as (, to manage and defend your online reputation. Also, regularly check settings on social networking sites, such as Facebook, that frequently change their default privacy settings. Monitoring your online reputation should be done as often as once a week.

Build Your Reputation

An absence online is a lost opportunity to promote your legal practice; therefore, it is critical to build a positive online reputation. LinkedIn is one of the best tools for creating an online professional presence, and a basic account is free and easy to use. The number of legal professionals using LinkedIn is growing exponentially, and it is being used for everything from generating business to keeping up with practice area trends. “It is not enough to just be using social media,” said Doug Mandell, founder and managing partner at Mandell Law Group and former general counsel of LinkedIn. “Attorneys of all ages and experience levels need a strategy for how to promote their professional brand. LinkedIn provides a simple yet powerful tool for lawyers to execute their strategy online.” To get started, Mandell suggests identifying all the offline networks you are part of, including your law school, undergrad and law firm. Next, identify your top connections in each group and “link them in.” But don’t feel like you have to limit your network to professional connections. For example, connecting to members of your running club or volunteer organization can lead to opportunities you don’t expect.

Whichever way you choose to build your online reputation, remember that clients, colleagues, and potential employers are evaluating your judgment and credentials based on the results of a simple online search.


Marcie Areias is Assistant Director of Professional Development at Golden Gate University School of Law where she writes, presents and advises on professional development topics.

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