You probably wondering, what is Martindale-Hubbell? Well, it is a comprehensive guide that contains ratings of attorneys. The best part is that no one can pay for a high rating!
So, what does it mean when a lawyer says that they have the “highest rating” or are “AV Preeminent" rated? To put it simply, when a lawyer says any of the above it’s usually a reference to the Martindale-Hubbell directory of attorneys.
The lawyers who are rated in Martindale-Hubbell are rated on both their legal ability and general ethical standards. Their legal ability rating takes into consideration analytical capabilities, legal knowledge, judgement, experience, and the standard of ability for the specific area of the law in which the lawyer practices. The general ethical standards rating covers adherence to professional standards of conduct and ethics, diligence, reliability, and other criteria relevant to the discharge of professional responsibility. The rating for the general ethical standards is V-Very High.
Now onto the ratings, which are: AV Preeminent; BV Distinguished; and Rated. How do these ratings work? Well the rating process is done in five-year intervals after admission to the Bar. The company requests confidential opinions from other members of the bar, which includes individuals who are rated and individuals who are not. In addition, the company also queries judges. On average, Martindale-Hubbell contacts more than 400,000 individuals to confirm or establish ratings for over 115,000 attorneys each year.
Keep in mind that the absence of a rating shouldn’t be viewed unfavorably. There are many reasons why an attorney might not have a rating. However, you can rest assured that an attorney who advertises that he or she is “AV Preeminent” has been judged by his/her peers to rank at the highest level of professional excellence.
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