Managing your online reputation - the first step is the easiest.

In the "lawyer business" reputation is critical to success - perhaps more than any other profession or business venture in these economic times. So, how do you monitor your reputation? It's easy for people to talk about you online - and easy for you to take the first step to monitor what they are saying too.

Check out Google Alert to get free alerts by email whenever your name is mentioned online anywhere. It's easy. You just tell it the email address to send the alerts to along with those phrases that you want to hear about when they show up online.

Obviously, list as many variations of your law practice name and your personal name as you can.

Set the frequency of alerts - daily or less often? And then sit back and wait. Anytime one of your keyward terms is used online, you'll get an email alert from Google that gives you the link to that spot so you can check it out.

Google Alert can also be used to keep tabs on others too, like the opposing counsel in a hotly disputed case - or their client when their name shows up online from asset transfers or sales or any of a hundred financial or business transactions that could affect your case.

Google Alert is the easiest way to monitor anything on the internet that you want to know about - whether it is your own reputation or deeper, background info that may get posted about someone else.

It's the first step to take to protect yourself from unfair and misleading slander and online disparagement - and one that every business professional should take. And when I hit the "return" key in a minute, I'll get an email about this post, too.

Ron Burdge
Helping lawyers helping clients, for over 30 years.