Does an AV Rating really mean anything?

If a firm is not AV rated does that mean it's no good?ballsnottt04/17/12
I don't think it means too much. I saw a firm advertise itherewillbeblood04/17/12
BV rating is still a big accomplishment.andy04/18/12
Law forms used to receive AV, BV, or CV ratings based upon tlegalace04/18/12
Many firms and attorneys never receive a rating. Martindaleandy04/18/12
That was very interesting. Thank you.ballsnottt04/18/12
Interesting. Seems like there's a lot of strategy of who's karlfarbman04/19/12
>Many firms ... never receive a rating ... Firms no longelegalace04/19/12
The receipt of a rating by any lawyer in the firm used to alandy04/19/12
They do not require free listees to initiate the rating proclegalace04/19/12
Av ratings are nice and all, but nothing compared to being aseverian204/20/12



ballsnottt (Apr 17, 2012 - 2:26 pm)

If a firm is not AV rated does that mean it's no good?

Reply
therewillbeblood (Apr 17, 2012 - 5:47 pm)

I don't think it means too much.

I saw a firm advertise itself as BV rated, which I thought was a little puzzling. Like putting a 2.5 GPA on your resume.

Reply
andy (Apr 18, 2012 - 6:46 pm)

BV rating is still a big accomplishment.

Reply
legalace (Apr 18, 2012 - 1:57 am)

Law forms used to receive AV, BV, or CV ratings based upon the highest rated lawyer in the law firm. However, law firms no longer receive a rating.

Reply
andy (Apr 18, 2012 - 6:42 pm)

Many firms and attorneys never receive a rating. Martindale itself states that not every attorney is selected for consideration. A rating of any level is an outstanding career accomplishment. Reportedly, less than 5% of attorneys nationwide receive the highest rating, "AV."

Having been part of the Martindale peer review "committee" in my area several times, I have a fair understanding of how it appears to work.

1. The individual being rated must have a Martindale listing. For example, I'm on the cheapest plan which is $50 per month. My firm pays separately for its partners' listings.

2. The individual being rated has been an attorney for at least three years. In practice, however, most of the rating requests I've gotten have been for attorneys who are mid-career, like 10-20 years out. Typically they are at medium to large firms that are well-known in my area. I appear to receive rating requests for attorneys in my county only.

3. The person being asked to rate the individual receives an email invitation to a secure page on the Martindale website where the ratings are made. The rater has to know the individual under consideration professionally and not be a relative or co-worker. If the rater does not know the individual under consideration, they indicate this and the rater does not proceed further in the rating process.

4. If the rater knows the individual under consideration, the rater is asked to grade the attorney on ethics. The attorney must receive a rating of "Very High" on ethics in order to proceed further in the selection process. If the individual is rated "Very High" on ethics by a critical mass of his peers, the rater proceeds and grades the attorney under consideration from 0-5 on legal ability.

5. If a critical mass of ratings is received, the individual under consideration receives a Martindale Hubbell rating that corresponds with the numerical rating given by his peers. The ratings are "Rated," "BV - Distinguished," and "AV - Preeminent." AV is the highest level. Any level allows the rated attorney to use the corresponding official rating logo on his website, promotional materials, resume, etc.

Martindale indicates that an attorney can request to be rated once per year by submitting the contact info of 18 or more other attorneys who know the individual professionally. The rating process then proceeds normally.

I've been asked to participate three or four times and rate about five different attorneys each time. In all cases, I did not know any of the attorneys being considered and therefore did not proceed further in the process.

In other words, to be rated it appears you need to:
1. Have been in practice for about 10 years or more.
2. Have practiced in the same geographic area as your peers for an unknown length of time.
3. Have been at the same firm for an unknown length of time.
4. Know at least 10-20 other attorneys in your community well enough that they would feel comfortable rating you professionally.
5. Have "Very High" ethics as judged by your peers.
6. Receive a rating above the median to be "Rated."
7. Receive a rating significantly above the median to be "BV - Distinguished."
8. Receive a rating very high above the median to be "AV - Preeminent."

Case example: my firm and I signed up for Martindale about 9 months ago. My boss received the AV rating last week. His partner received no rating. I received no rating. I have been in practice for 6.5 years and the junior partner for 5.5 years. The junior partner has been at the same firm since he graduated law school and is highly regarded in terms of ability. I started here 1.5 years ago and am highly regarded in terms of ability. Ergo, neither of us is well-known enough in the community to receive a rating. Hell, the boss didn't get a rating until his 35th year of practice. It's a career achievement that not everyone receives. A lot is about who you know, but because the survey is anonymous, your adversaries are free to dump on you so they have no incentive to lie or exaggerate your ability. It says a lot when you're rated 4.5 or 5.0 out of 5.0 by your peers (AV). My boss is 5.0.

Martindale is way, way more prestigious than SuperLawyers. And don't get me started on Avvo. Avvo is a joke. In conclusion, just because a firm is not rated does not mean it's not good. You can find out whether a firm is good by calling up your local AV-rated practitioner and inquiring about the particular firm you're curious about.

Reply
ballsnottt (Apr 18, 2012 - 8:48 pm)

That was very interesting. Thank you.

Reply
karlfarbman (Apr 19, 2012 - 12:26 pm)

Interesting. Seems like there's a lot of strategy of who's contact info you put down.

Reply
legalace (Apr 19, 2012 - 12:00 am)

>Many firms ... never receive a rating ...

Firms no longer receive ratings.

>... The individual being rated must have a Martindale listing. For example, I'm on the cheapest plan which is $50 per month ...

Martindale-Hubbell also has free listings which also allow you to receive a rating.

Reply
andy (Apr 19, 2012 - 10:25 am)

The receipt of a rating by any lawyer in the firm used to allow the firm to say that the firm is rated at that level, even if the firm itself did not receive a rating. I guess they moved away from that, although I haven't checked the customer service page yet to download the customized ratings package (graphics, etc.) to add to our website and marketing materials, so I can't confirm.

Indeed, they have free listings. However, they don't state what impact having a free listing may have on your chances of becoming rated. For lulz they might require more of a critical mass of responses for non-paying attorneys or they might require non-paying attorneys to initiate the ratings process themselves.

More details here: http://www.martindale.com/Products_and_Services/Peer_Review_Ratings.aspx

Reply
legalace (Apr 19, 2012 - 11:31 pm)

They do not require free listees to initiate the rating process, but they do permit them to initiate the rating process. In that event, twenty-two references (who themselves must have either a paid or free listing) must be submitted.

Reply
severian2 (Apr 20, 2012 - 12:30 am)

Av ratings are nice and all, but nothing compared to being a superlawyer!!!!

Reply
Post a message in this thread