Lawyer Certification from Martindale-Hubbell's "AV" Rating
You may notice a trend in these 3 good types of lawyer certification - you can't buy your way in. To get a high Martindale-Hubbell rating, you can't pay to upgrade to first class; you have to earn your way there.
Martindale-Hubbell conducts its ratings in 5-year intervals after your admission to the bar. They request confidential opinions from other members of the bar, including other rated individuals and those who are not, as well as judges in your jurisdiction. On average, more than 400,000 individuals are contacted to establish or confirm ratings on more than 115,000 attorneys each year.
To be Martindale-Hubbell rated, you are evaluated on your legal ability in your practice area, including adherence to professional standards of conduct and ethics, reliability, diligence, and other criteria relevant to your professional responsibilities. The rating system is defined by:
- C - good to high;
- B - high to very high;
- A - very high to preeminent; and
- V - very high, the general ethical standards rating.
Martindale-Hubbell is quick to remind curious clients that just because a lawyer may not have an AV rating does not mean they are a bad lawyer. There are many reasons a lawyer may not have an AV rating yet, so don't fret if you're not yet rated. However, if you do have an AV rating, don't hesitate to display this on your lawyer advertising.
Lawyer Credentials to Avoid Wasting Advertising Space On
There are many catchphrases seen in bad lawyer advertising that seem relevant to clients, but the smart ones will realize that they're just fluff words. Here are a few other phrases to avoid when listing your lawyer certification:
- "Member of Million Dollar Roundtable/Advocate Club" - Technically means the attorney has settled or won a case for $1+ million. Remember that this could have been a poorly argued $5 million case that got reduced to $1 million - good lawyers have consistent results, not one highlight case.
- "Member of the American Bar Association" - Meaningless, because all it takes is a check.
- "____ State Bar Certified" - This is a no-brainer, you have to be certified by your state bar to practice.
A general rule of thumb is that if you had to pay money to say that you're "_____ certified" or a member of the "______ club" it's not that important. If all it takes is a check or credit card to be approved by a "professional organization" then how can you guarantee your fellow members are as professional as you are?
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