The Tyranny of Two Stars

Here is what Yelp, Google, Avvo did for my business when I started in 2007:

  • Increased sales.
  • Brought in a large number of clients.
  • Gave me an online presence when I didn't have one/couldn't afford what my competitors were doing.
  • Allowed clients to use reviews as referrals
  • Made me feel like I "made it" because the phone was ringing all the time.
  • Made me a lot of money.
  • Artificially inflated my ego when I read good reviews (I only sent it to clients I knew would leave good reviews, thereby skewing.)


Here is what Yelp, Google, Avvo did for my business after a few years:

  • Made me incredibly nervous (lose sleep) because of the chance someone would leave a bad review.
  • Made me spend hours arguing with Yelp that a bad review was fake (it was) as opposed to billing that time (I'm a fan of hourly billing).
  • Made me continue to represent people I should have fired because I was petrified they'd leave a bad review (sunken cost).
  • Made me hate my competition because I knew they were receiving fake reviews (i.e. User-ImmigrationLawyer4uinBrooklyn).
  • Made me furious that "good" reviews would not show up on Yelp.
  • Made me pay hundreds of dollars to Yelp to ensure good reviews would show up.
  • Made me question whether I was a good enough lawyer when I received a bad review.
  • Made me talk to clients who would called to price shop (the worst clients).


Moving Forward

Review sites will lose their status as something you can count on very soon. Too many fake reviews out there. Too many emails requesting endorsements. Too much information out there to make a decision.  Not everyone is 5 star. Almost no one should be 5 star.  I am recommended for appeals work on LinkedIN.  I've never done an appeal. 

Reviews are irrelevant.  Treat them as such.  Some clients are fantastic people.  Others are psychotic.   Some clients have been cheated on and hate the world.  You will never make this client happy.  You should stop trying.  If they leave you a bad review, I assure you the that life will go on and people will still hire you and your spouse will not leave you.  If they leave you a good review I assure you that you will not retire even a day earlier than you would have otherwise.  Start practicing law the way you want to practice law.  Do good work every day.  Let go of what you can't control.  Put more time into what you can.  You did not spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on law school to be defined by a fucking system of stars.