I am a student of marketing. I read an awful lot on the subject, although I am lousy about implementing what I learn. One recommendation that I have never been able to adopt is the use of any kind of testimonials. These might run the gamut from publishing a list of representative clients to asking clients to say something nice about me. I have always attributed my reluctance in this area to my inate shyness but I was happy to learn that law practice management guru Ed Poll is at least one expert who agrees with me. In a recent column, Poll reminds us that by and large clients value their privacy and confidentiality. Poll writes "lawyers can ask clients for permission to use their name, but I believe most clients are subconsciously reluctant, even if they overtly allow it". Poll also points out that the American Bar Association and many states restrict certain types of lawyer advertising and that by adding the necessary disclaimers, the net effect of the testimonial could be lost. I know that when I went to law school my legal ethics professor preached client confidentiality above all else.
I suppose context is everything – all clients are happy to promote the fact that they just signed a big deal but who wants to publicize the fact that they have just been served in a messy divorce or been accused of financial impropriety?
Anyway, I am glad to have found some support for my views on the subject. I want my clients to recommend me but I also want them to know that I respect their privacy and take that seriously. Having said that, I want to take this opportunity to reprint (anonymously of course) two great client testimonials that I have been saving for a while. These always make me feel good. They are as follows:
"Thanks Trip for taking care of those a--holes for us "and "Thanks Trip, you are the fifth WannaBeatle".