How Reputation Management Lawyers Can Heal Your Online Reputation Featured Image

How Reputation Management Lawyers Can Heal Your Online Reputation

When searching for effective reputation management services to protect your or your business’s reputation, there are many agencies and companies to choose from. However, hiring an attorney carries specific benefits—especially in such a broad and oftentimes predatory landscape.

For example, reputation management attorneys are bound by confidentiality and ethics obligations, and they must be licensed to practice in their local area. An experienced reputation management lawyer can help repair your online reputation through a strategic mix of both legal and public relations strategies. They can assess your specific case and provide expert legal advice, engage in negotiations and settlements, and take legal action to protect your reputation.

At Minc Law, our experienced legal team has helped thousands of clients restore their reputations after being targeted by harmful online content and defamation. Having removed over 50,000 negative pieces of content from the internet and launched an in-house reputation monitoring service, we understand the complexities and challenges involved in not only identifying digital threats but mitigating them as soon as they appear.

In this article, we establish the benefits of hiring a reputation management lawyer. We also explain the specific services these professionals offer, as well as how to choose an attorney to help protect your online reputation.

Importance of Online Reputation in the Digital Age

The role your digital footprint plays in shaping your overall reputation (both online and offline) cannot be overstated. For individuals, your online reputation can affect your professional success, relationships, and even mental health.

For businesses, their success can hinge on elements like online reviews and word-of-mouth marketing. In fact, almost 75% of consumers make purchase decisions based on recommendations. Further, the same percentage will not engage with a business without reading its reviews first.

This section explores the impact of online reputations on both individuals and businesses. Then, we explain how to conduct an initial audit of your online footprint.

Why is a Positive Online Reputation For Individuals & Businesses?

Your reputation is how you are perceived by others. On a personal level, a positive reputation helps others trust and respect you. Individuals with good reputations can more easily build relationships, advance in their careers, and succeed socially. A negative reputation, on the other hand, can cause others to avoid or even exclude you.

Reputation is also extremely impactful on a business’s overall performance. Investors, customers, partners, and employees all decide whether to interact with a company based on its public perception. Businesses with a strong reputation often see the following benefits:

  • Increased sales,
  • Higher public trust in their brand,
  • Improved employee retention and performance,
  • Increased customer loyalty, and
  • Higher revenue.

Conversely, a damaged reputation can depress sales. For example, if you have a 2-star rating or lower on review platforms, 87% of consumers would likely avoid patronizing your business. A negative public perception can also discourage potential employees and investors. Each of these outcomes directly impacts your bottom line and longevity.

Audit Your Online Presence

Because your reputation has such a large impact on your personal and business success, it is important to stay aware of your overall digital footprint. A digital audit is a holistic assessment of how your business or personal identity is perceived online.

To effectively manage your online footprint, you need to be aware of any publicity you receive. That way, you can work to suppress negative stories while promoting positive content.

Start by searching your name or business on Google and other search engines. You can also set up a free Google Alert for your chosen keyword. The tool sends you notifications anytime that word or phrase appears online.

For businesses, it is also important to use social media listening, website analytics, and real customer feedback. These techniques show you how consumers perceive your brand, which can impact your strategy decisions.

Benefits of Hiring a Reputation Management Attorney

It can be difficult to manage your online reputation on your own, especially for public figures or business owners. An experienced reputation management attorney can help you curate and protect your digital footprint via navigating platform content removal procedures, PR and brand building, sending demand letters to online defamers (and unmasking them), filing defamation lawsuits to compel the removal of content, and more.

In this section, we explain what reputation management attorneys do and how they can benefit you.

Definition & Role of Reputation Management Attorneys

Reputation management lawyers offer legal services tailored to protect and repair the online reputation of individuals and businesses. In an era where your digital presence impacts almost every aspect of life, these services are crucial.

Most reputation management attorneys have backgrounds in public relations, brand-building, or internet defamation and content removal. These licensed legal professionals help individuals and businesses manage their public and online brands. They assist in navigating the intricacies of defamation, privacy, and media laws.

What Area of Law Typically Applies to Repairing Online Reputations?

Unfortunately, much of your online reputation is built by what other people say. Whether it is through customer reviews, comments on social media, or news reports, the public has a great deal of power in shaping your reputation.

When your reputation is severely damaged online through no fault of your own, such as fake consumer reviews or other malicious content, the incident often involves defamation. Naturally, the legal framework for addressing a ruined reputation involves defamation law and its respective remedies.

Unlike a simple insult, defamation is a statement conveyed to a third party that materially harms the subject’s reputation. Defamation encompasses both libel (written defamation) and slander (verbal defamation).

When You Should Consider Hiring an Attorney to Handle Your Reputation

Reputation management can be a full-time job in itself, which is why it is helpful to have an experienced professional on your side. It may be hard to know where to begin in protecting your reputation.

Further, you may not have the time or energy to consistently monitor your digital footprint, curate a positive online presence, and fight back against internet defamation.

An experienced reputation management attorney can provide the expertise and knowledge required to effectively protect your public image. They are also bound by confidentiality requirements and will work discreetly on your behalf.

Key Benefits of Hiring a Reputation Management Lawyer

There are many reasons why you might consider hiring an attorney over a standard online reputation management(ORM) agency. For instance, an experienced internet lawyer is:

  • Transparent about ways to contact them,
  • Licensed and held to professional standards,
  • Experienced in identifying and deleting harmful content, and
  • Able to file defamation lawsuits to protect your reputation and hold defamers accountable.

Reputation Management Lawyers Are Easily Contacted

Some ORM services conduct all their business online or over the phone, and clients are never able to meet them face-to-face. It can be difficult to find an ORM company that operates in your area or has a physical business location. If the relationship goes south, they can make it hard for you to contact them or take legal action against them.

Attorneys, on the other hand, must be licensed to practice in their local area. When you choose an internet attorney, you can easily find their Google My Business address and phone number. They will be willing to meet face-to-face, either by video chat or in person at their office.

You can also search them on the American Bar Association website and read reviews from their past clients on directory sites like Lawyers.com and Avvo.

In other words, there are dependable ways to ascertain whether an attorney is legitimate and well-respected in their field.

Reputation Management Lawyers Are Licensed & Held to Professional Standards

Attorneys must also be licensed and meet ethical standards to remain in good standing with the Bar Association. They must hold Bachelor’s and law school degrees, and their licenses can be revoked if they do not act ethically. Every client relationship holds great professional risk if the attorney does not act responsibly.

Attorneys are also professionally required to keep you updated on your case. They must consult you before acting on your behalf, send you clear billing statements, and communicate with you regularly.

Because they are required to keep detailed billing records, you can always be sure where your money is going. There will not be vague charges (such as a service fee) on your invoices. There are also established methods for any billing disputes, such as taking the case to small claims court or the state’s bar association.

Reputation Management Lawyers Are Experienced in Identifying & Deleting Harmful Content

Harmful and defamatory online content about you online can have a catastrophic effect on your reputation. In the most severe cases, negative posts and videos can lead to lost business, damaged personal relationships, and even anxiety or depression.

One of the most noteworthy benefits of hiring an internet defamation attorney is that they know how to navigate the latest technological trends. They know the best ways to detect digital risks and use web monitoring tools to identify negative content, remove it at the source, and continuously monitor and protect your reputation.

If malicious online actors are attacking your reputation, it is crucial to remove that content as soon as possible. Our content removal services at Minc Law can swiftly and discreetly remove most types of damaging internet content.

Reputation Management Lawyers Can File Suit to Remove Content & Hold Defamers Accountable

Lawsuits are costly in both time and money and should always be a last resort. However, if the situation calls for it, a reputation management attorney is a valuable ally.

An experienced attorney can help you evaluate your legal options, devise an effective strategy, and end the harassment in or out of the courtroom – whether it is through obtaining a court order compelling the content’s removal, temporary injunction, or award of financial damages.

Legal Services Offered by Reputation Management Attorneys

Lawyers specializing in reputation management can provide more than online monitoring or content removal. The services offered by most experienced reputation management attorneys include:

  • Legal consultations and advice,
  • Filing defamation lawsuits and obtaining court orders for content removal,
  • Sending cease and desist or retraction demands,
  • Content removal and reporting,
  • Engaging in negotiations and settlements,
  • Crisis management and public relations services,
  • Protecting your intellectual property,
  • Data breach and digital services monitoring, and
  • Online review management.

Legal Consultations & Advice

Reputation management attorneys provide expert legal consultations and advice. They assess your case’s specific circumstances and offer guidance on the best legal strategies to protect or restore your online reputation.

This guidance may touch on topics including:

  • Responding to defamatory content,
  • Avoiding drawing further unwanted attention to the matter,
  • Understanding your legal rights in the context of online harassment, and
  • Navigating complex internet privacy and content removal scenarios.

Your attorney can also help you assess your legal and non-legal options for bolstering your overall online reputation.

Filing Defamation Lawsuits & Obtaining Court Orders

If harmful and defamatory content is posted about you online, your attorney can use legal means to have it removed. Many platforms, including Google, require valid court orders compelling them to take down defamatory content. Your attorney can file a defamation lawsuit against the poster to obtain a court order for the content’s removal.

For anonymous posters, a John Doe lawsuit may be necessary to unmask their identity before holding them accountable.

Sending Cease & Desist or Retraction Demands

Cease and desist letters and retraction demands can be effective strategies for ending defamation and harassment. These formal letters inform the perpetrator that if they do not stop their unlawful behavior immediately, you will take legal action against them.

If your copyrighted images or media are used without your consent, your attorney can draft and send a Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) takedown notice to have the content removed.

Content Removal & Reporting

Reputation management attorneys can navigate complex reporting and removal procedures across platforms. They often have proven expertise in the following services:

  • Removing fake consumer reviews from review platforms,
  • Reporting fraudulent or imposter profiles on social media and dating sites,
  • Removing intimate images and revenge porn from social media and adult content platforms,
  • Opting out of your personal information being collected and sold by data broker sites,
  • Requesting correction or retraction of newspaper articles and outdated content, and
  • Removing untruthful employee reviews from sites like Glassdoor.

It is also increasingly common for malicious actors to use deep fake technology to create harmful videos of their victims. If someone is using your identity or likeness without your permission, an internet attorney can help you remove that content and take legal action against the perpetrator.

Engaging in Negotiations & Settlements

In cases where litigation may not be the most effective approach, reputation management attorneys can engage in negotiations and settlements. For example, most news publications will not delete or take down a news article. They may, however, agree to a correction or small tweak to protect your privacy.

Your attorney can work to reach an agreement that addresses your concerns. Common settlements involve compensation, public apologies, or other forms of restitution.

Crisis Management & Public Relations Services

Reputation management lawyers often coordinate with public relations professionals to manage crises. They provide legal guidance on communication strategies, ensuring that responses are legally sound while effectively mitigating reputational damage.

Protecting Your Intellectual Property

Online attacks often take the form of trademark infringement and website hacking. If your business’s intellectual property is being infringed upon, your attorney can help remove damaging media from search results and popular websites.

Data Breach, Digital Services, & Monitoring

Protecting online privacy is an essential service reputation management lawyers provide. They can help you secure your personal information and protect against unauthorized use, identity theft, or privacy breaches. They monitor and address issues including:

  • Online impersonation,
  • Unauthorized sharing of private images, and
  • Misuse of personal data.

Data breaches can also harm an individual’s or business’s reputation. Reputation management attorneys assist in responding to such incidents. They can take legal action against responsible parties and help protect you from identity theft or other consequences.

Many reputation management firms also offer digital risk protection (DRP) services. Minc Law’s DRP service uses a combination of monitoring tools and legal strategies to monitor and mitigate your digital risk in real-time.

Online Review Management

Fake online reviews can have long-term and disastrous effects on your business. A reputation management attorney can work with your customer service team to create a strategy for reporting and removing fraudulent reviews.

For medical and legal professionals, it can also be difficult to respond to online reviews while maintaining confidentiality obligations (such as HIPAA). Your attorney can help you navigate privacy concerns while protecting your reputation on sites like Healthgrades or Avvo.

How to Choose a Reputation Management Attorney to Protect Your Reputation

Do your research before hiring a law firm or attorney to manage your reputation. Each reputation management firm offers different services, costs, and communication styles.

In this section, we provide several tips for choosing the right attorney for your needs. We also list the common costs associated with hiring an attorney—as well as alternative reputation management services to explore, if needed.

What to Look for in a Reputation Management Attorney

When considering a reputation management lawyer, begin by checking reviews from past clients. Attorneys are bound by confidentiality regulations, but they should still be able to produce specific results they obtained for previous clients.

Also, consider the attorney’s wider reputation in your area. Review their website and social media presence. The best reputation management firms publish professional, informative content on their website and social profiles. Check for real customer reviews, and peruse any news articles about the firm. Do they appear to be well-respected? Can you find any red flags, like customer complaints or a PR scandal?

Next, do not be afraid to ask detailed questions before signing a contract. The right attorney should be clear and up-front with you about your situation and options. They will not make hyperbolic promises (like immediately ranking you first on Google or removing all negative content).

Instead, they should provide a realistic, detailed project plan that outlines their expected timeline, strategy, and fee structure. It is also a good idea to ask how often they will communicate with you.

Finally, be sure to meet with the team or attorney in person or via video call. Consider their professionalism, personality, experience, and communication style when deciding if you feel comfortable working together.

How Long Does It Take to See Results?

Because every case is unique, there is a wide variety of timelines for seeing results in the reputation management process. For simple content removals, you may see results in 90 days or fewer. Complex content removal issues, however, can go on much longer.

The type of content, the platform where it was posted, and the cooperative nature of the domain owners can all affect the timeline.

Further, general online reputation management can be a slow process. Because much of ORM involves using search engine optimization (SEO) tactics to influence search engine algorithms, it can take six months to a year to begin seeing consistent results.

Costs Associated With Hiring a Reputation Management Lawyer

The cost of online reputation management varies depending on factors like the scope of services required and the size and industry of your business. Most clients can expect to pay anywhere from $500 to $50,000 monthly. Large organizations with sophisticated representation needs may need a vast array of ORM services, while individuals might need a simpler service package.

For instance, you may need some or all of these additional services:

Filing a lawsuit can incur additional costs—but it can lead to more permanent results in the end.

Finally, remember that quality reputation management comes at a price. Be sure to choose a representative with the experience and skills necessary to provide effective solutions.

When You Should Explore Alternative Reputation Management Services

If your reputation issues involve the infringement of your content or false allegations about you or your business (like defamation or harassment), a reputation management attorney may be an invaluable ally. But if your reputation concerns are more related to general negative perceptions or poor online visibility, you may want to consider an alternative service.

For example, say your business’s primary goal is to build a positive online presence through marketing and public relations strategies. In that case, a digital marketing or public relations professional may be more suited to your needs.

★★★★★
“Darcy was professional and patient with helping with a online reputation matter. She handled all my queries in a timely manner and she got the job done.”

Oliver W.
July 22, 2021

If you would like to explore custom reputation management solutions for you or your business, reach out to schedule your initial consultation by calling us at (216) 373-7706 or filling out our online contact form.

Are you being defamed online? Contact Minc Law today!

This page has been peer-reviewed, fact-checked, and edited by qualified attorneys to ensure substantive accuracy and coverage.

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