Feinblatt Attorneys Named Super Lawyers

The law firm of Gordon Feinblatt LLC announced that 22 of its attorneys have been named 2014 Maryland Super Lawyers and nine of its attorneys have been named 2014 Maryland’s Rising Stars in Maryland Super Lawyers Magazine.

Super Lawyers is a rating service of outstanding lawyers from more than 70 practice areas who have attained a high degree of peer recognition and professional achievement. The selection process is multiphased and includes independent research, peer nominations and peer evaluations.

HFAM To Offer Wound Care Training

The Health Facilities Association of Maryland (HFAM) has been awarded a $109,850 grant from the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene’s Office of Health Care Quality to offer nursing home staff wound care education. A Wound Care Training and Certification course will be offered to the provider community of Maryland’s Eastern Shore. The grant will subsidize the cost of providing this week-long training.

In 2010, HFAM offered the wound care training and certification course for the first time, and it was attended by 143 individuals representing nursing homes, hospitals, home health and rehab facilities. There is a high demand for this type of training on the Eastern Shore. The program is not limited to HFAM members nor is it limited to nursing home staff. Registered nurses, licensed practical nurses, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, physical therapists, occupational therapists and medical doctors can all participate.

Gildenhorn Announces Scholarship

The Joseph and Alma Gildenhorn Institute for Israel Studies at the University of Maryland is pleased to award the Gildenhorn Family Scholarship to Michelle Thomas.

Thomas is a junior who is pursuing a double major in biochemistry and physiology and neurology, as well as a minor in Israel studies. She is the first recipient of this new scholarship and will receive a $1,000 award, which will be applied to her tuition in the coming spring semester.

Helmsley Announces Grants

The Helmsley Charitable Trust has announced almost $22 million in grants to four Israeli institutions. These grants are part of a continuing effort to invest in Israel’s leading institutions and critical initiatives with the goal of strengthening the country.

The grants were awarded to Magen David Adom and Barzilai Hospital to help strengthen and protect facilities in the event of natural disasters or regional conflict, to a new marine studies center at Haifa University and to Friends of the IDF to provide scholarships for disadvantaged soldiers.

CCBC Brochure Honored

The Community College of Baltimore County’s brochure promoting the institution’s many travel offerings was included in a showcase of internationally exemplary programs at the Learning Resources Network’s annual conference Nov. 21-23 in San Francisco.

“Travel, Learn and Grow” received an award for excellence. CCBC’s travel opportunities for international study includes the Netherlands and Belgium.

HIAS Announces Three New Additions

HIAS, the 130-year-old international Jewish nonprofit dedicated to welcoming and protecting the rights of refugees, has announced three additions to its senior management team. The new managers will join recently appointed president and CEO Mark Hetfield.

Rabbi Jennie Rosenn is assuming the newly created role of vice president for community engagement; Riva Silverman will join HIAS as vice president for external affairs; and Melanie Nezer is being promoted to vice president for policy and advocacy.

When Critics Speak

A while ago, the most powerful man on Broadway was not a performer or producer. Frank Rich was a critic for The New York Times who could single-handedly launch a show to great success, but he earned the nickname “The Butcher of Broadway” because a bad review from him could close a show instantly and put hundreds out of work.

Today, the power of the reviewer has been taken on by the masses at websites such as Angie’s List and Yelp, where customers provide grades and reviews. Businesses that amass high grades and positive reviews benefit from unbiased testimonials, which can frequently include those of customers publicly raving about their experiences.

But low grades or bad reviews can harm companies. One Chicago company sued a woman for $10,000, claiming that her grade of an “F” damaged its reputation. Another contractor launched a $750,000 defamation suit against a Virginia customer over her one-star review.

Lawsuits are frowned upon, but what can you do with a bad review? Most companies with a solid performance record, good customer service and a positive reputation won’t be sunk by a few bad reviews. But if your company has scads of negative reviews on the web, it means you’re doing something wrong.

“Knowing that people are publicly grading you keeps you at the top of your game,” said one CEO, who proactively speaks with customers about their concerns in hopes of maintaining a good relationship. What else should you do or not do?

• Do not ignore bad reviews. Respond to the writer directly to show that you are committed to customer satisfaction.

• Do ignore reviews with inappropriate language or distasteful comments. You never want to stoop to that level. You can also flag inappropriate posts.

• Do offer customers who have written negative reviews a small incentive, such as a discount or coupon, to give you a second chance.

• Do not give too much away or others may take advantage of your well-intentioned offer. They might see it as “write a bad review, get a free pizza.”

• Do encourage your customers to write positive reviews without being pushy or “bribing” anyone.

• Do not try to “game the system” by loading the site with false good reviews. It’s unethical and probably won’t work; review sites have algorithms to prevent this.

• Do read your reviews regularly. If you see legitimate criticism or a pattern emerging, address the problem internally and let the public know what you have changed. For example, if there are many complaints about service being slow, fix it, then publicize that you now offer faster service.

• Do (if it doesn’t conflict with a site’s rules) use positive reviews in your favor, such as utilizing third-party endorsements from recognized organizations, i.e., the Better Business Bureau or the Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval.

Any site that allows customer reviews can be a benefit if your house is in order. But you need to monitor the reviews you receive, be ready to respond, and be patient. It takes time to build a good reputation, especially in a world where everybody is a critic.

Jon Goldman is president of Brand Launcher and a board member of Jewish Entrepreneurial Trust (JET). To learn more about JET or to get involved, contact info@jetbaltimore.org.

Year 3 as Super Lawyer

Family law attorney Julie Ellen Landau, founder and principal of The Law Offices of Julie Ellen Landau, has been named to the 2014 Super Lawyers of Maryland Top 100 List and to the 2014 Women Super Lawyers Top 50 List.

Landau, a strong proponent of alternative dispute resolution, received both honors for the third year in a row.

UMUC Introduces Scholarship

University of Maryland University College has introduced a new scholarship program for graduates of Maryland’s 16 public community colleges that will reduce the cost of earning a bachelor’s degree in any of UMUC’s undergraduate programs to about $20,000. The scholarship covers all programs, including the in-demand cybersecurity, health-care and public-safety programs.

Tel Aviv Startup Wins Developer Contest

Moments.me, a Tel Aviv-based startup, won the Walgreens API developer contest. Moments.me’s newly launched app is an intuitive iPad photo book maker. Completed books can be printed and picked up the same day at Walgreens or Duane Reade.