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Some of the lawyer directories most frequently used by consumers also incorporate lawyer ratings. With potential clients seeing these ratings on your profiles, it is important to understand how directories determine what your rating may be.
If you have ever searched for a product or service online, you likely are familiar with the influx of reviews and ratings that you see in the search results. From consumer goods and products to restaurants, businesses, and professionals, everyone seems to have an opinion they are sharing online. These reviews and ratings influence people’s decisions when researching and choosing products and services.
Lawyers are not exempt from this phenomenon. People can review your services through Google, social media, and numerous websites, including several of the leading lawyer and law firm directories. Some of these directories take this process one step further and incorporate lawyer ratings into your profile.
In this post, we are explaining how a few of the most well-known lawyer directories, or the companies that run these lawyer directories, calculate the lawyer rating that may appear on your profile and other places online.
Justia Lawyer Directory
Because our own Justia Lawyer Directory incorporates the Justia Lawyer Rating and Reviews system, it is only fitting that we start this post by explaining how our program works. As you may be aware, Justia allows both client reviews and peer reviews from other attorneys. However, only peer reviews factor into the Justia Lawyer Rating.
Your Justia Lawyer Rating quantifies reviews from peers who are familiar with your work to help provide transparency and simplify the search process for people in need of a lawyer. Colleagues who have claimed their Justia Lawyer Directory profile are eligible to leave you a peer review on our site.
The Justia Lawyer Rating is then calculated using the average score you receive from your peers. In addition, scores are calculated for the following categories: Legal Knowledge, Legal Analysis, Communication Skills, and Ethics and Professionalism.
Reviewing attorneys must provide both a numerical evaluation and a narrative explaining their score. After you receive at least one review from colleagues, scores are averaged to determine your Justia Lawyer Rating. The best possible Justia Lawyer Rating is a 10, while the lowest possible Justia Lawyer Rating is a 1. After your rating is calculated, we add the Justia Lawyer Rating Badge to your Justia Profile. This badge can also be used in your other marketing efforts, such as on your law firm website.
As a lawyer, you cannot influence, change, or remove the reviews your peers may leave. However, you may opt out of the Justia Lawyer Rating system if you so choose. This means you cannot receive peer reviews from other attorneys, but you can receive client reviews. Similarly, you could choose to opt out of client reviews, but remain eligible for attorney reviews, or opt out of our reviews and rating program altogether.
Martindale-Hubbell advertises that it has been evaluating lawyers through a verified peer review system for more than 130 years. The company’s ratings are based on a combination of legal ability, years of experience, and ethical standards.
To get a Martindale-Hubbell peer review, an attorney must contact the Customer Support Team and provide some basic information. Then, the lawyer is asked to provide a list of attorney references who will be contacted via email to complete the reviews survey. The attorney is rated and may earn rating awards ranging from AV-Preeminent to Notable. These reviews and ratings may also be posted on Lawyers.com and Martindale.com.
Martindale-Hubbell also has a rating-based award system that considers client reviews, known as the “Client Champion” award. This award rates lawyers with “Client Reviewed” being the lowest designation, followed by silver, gold, and platinum. These latter awards all require that the attorney have a minimum number of client reviews and an average rating ranging from 4.0 to 4.5 or higher.
According to the company FAQs on peer reviews and client reviews, attorneys may not choose which reviews are displayed on their profiles. Lawyers may opt out of receiving new reviews, but even if a lawyer opts out of receiving new reviews, the existing reviews remain on that attorney’s profile. Notably, if you opt out of reviews, you are ineligible to review other lawyers.
Avvo Ratings are calculated based on the information contained in an attorney’s Avvo profile. Only lawyers who have claimed their Avvo profile receive a numerical rating.
Unclaimed profiles without disciplinary action are displayed with a note that the attorney is not active on Avvo, while unclaimed profiles with public records indicating a disciplinary report display with an “Attention” alert.
The Avvo numerical ratings consider information provided by the attorney, as well as information obtained from lawyer licensing organizations and other public sources. When lawyers add more information to their Avvo profiles, they tend to see an increase in their Avvo Rating. Endorsements from other attorneys can increase your Avvo Rating. However, reviews from clients have no impact on your Avvo Rating.
While Avvo does not publicly disclose the exact formula for Avvo ratings, the company does indicate that all considered data is publicly available on an attorney’s profile. The Avvo Rating ranges from a 10.0 (a “superb” rating) down to a 1.0 (an “extreme caution” rating). When certain publicly available data, such as bar disciplinary action, causes an Avvo rating to drop below 5.0 (which is considered average), the attorney profile will display an “Attention” alert. However, disciplinary action is not a death sentence on Avvo, and some lawyers with minor sanctions from their state receive a 10 rating.
The Avvo Rating may be removed from attorney profiles upon request if the attorney has not been disciplined or is not looking for clients. These profiles have a note that the Avvo Rating is not being displayed and do not appear in search listings on the Avvo directory. Additionally, the Avvo rating is removed “in instances where it would not be useful, such as if the attorney is deceased or serving as a public official.”
FindLaw employs a star rating system for attorneys and law firms. The overall star ratings are an average of all ratings submitted for an attorney or firm. However, any optional rating categories (such as value, quality of service, and professional competence) do not influence the overall rating. Similarly, ratings of a particular attorney do not influence the rating for his or her law firm and a law firm’s rating does not influence an individual attorney’s rating.
Attorneys can mark reviews on Findlaw as verified from an actual client. Additionally, it appears that consumers can mark certain reviews as helpful, so that searchers can determine which reviews were of use to other potential clients.
Reviews left on Findlaw are subject to a 14-day review period before they publish to an attorney profile. This delay is intended to allow attorneys an opportunity to verify that the review was left by someone that they held a consultation with or had as a client. However, lawyers generally cannot prevent a review’s publication.
Lawyers can choose whether to have reviews and ratings displayed on their profiles. Additionally, they may report reviews and ratings that are improper, such as those that contain vulgarity or spam.
Final Thoughts: Why Do You Care?
It is no secret that reviews matter in the present day and age. With your potential clients increasingly searching for an attorney online, it is important for you to fully understand what the ratings and metrics they see on your lawyer directory profiles mean. Armed with this knowledge, you can plan accordingly and set your law firm up for future success.
Ready to get started on your Justia Lawyer Rating? Log in to your Justia Account and request peer reviews for your Justia Lawyer Directory profile today!