Lawyer rating systems marketed by law firm vendors are affected by the necessity to market legal services. Always remember this critical fact when selecting a lawyer in any field. There have been what I consider to be bogus attempts to pad lawyer resumes with labels such as “Super Lawyer” and an even older scam such as the Martindale-Hubble “AV Rating.”
A Florida criminal lawyer is an expert (a specialist) in a particular field such as Criminal Trial Law or is not. There is no middle ground. Since “Super Lawyer” is such an obvious marketing gimmick that let’s compare two of the standard rating systems and see which one holds up:
Florida Bar Certified Criminal Trial Law Specialist rating Of A florida Criminal Lawyer
* Must take an advanced written test created by other certified experts
* Must have a minimum number of legal cases tried to completion
* Must have a certain number of cases of a “serious and complex nature” tried to completion
* Must complete specialized Continuing Legal Education (CLE)
* Peer Review requirements
* “Certified attorneys are the only lawyers allowed to identify or advertise themselves as Florida Bar Board Certified, specialists or experts.” – The Florida Bar Association
* Board Certification is recognized by the Florida Bar Association for a lawyer’s expertise and competence.
Martindale-Hubble “AV Rating”
* No testing
* No trial requirement
* No complexity requirement
* No CLE requirement
* Peer Review requirements
* Any lawyer meeting the legal vendor’s criteria can identify themselves as “AV rated.”
* An “AV Rating” is not recognized by the Florida Bar – for anything.
Rigging The Peer Review Requirements
Both the Florida Bar Association and Martindale-Hubble have a “peer review” component. In fact, for Martindale-Hubble, that’s about the only component they have. Now, check out this gem straight from the Martindale-Hubble website:
“What is the role of the Martindale-Hubbell Ratings Specialist in the rating process?
Peer Review Ratings Specialists work closely with Martindale-Hubbell’s larger law firm clients to educate, engage and assist their lawyers in the Peer Review Process and the marketing opportunities surrounding the “Peer Review Ratings.”
There are no exams, no CLE requirements, and best of all, Martindale-Hubble will “engage and assist” lawyers so they can get a high rating in the “Peer Review Process.” Here’s how they will be “educated” by their “Ratings Specialist”: Contact all of your friends in the legal profession, submit their names to your Martindale-Hubble “Peer Review Ratings Specialist” and flood the “peer review process” with favorable rating reviews. Many lawyers – especially out of state attorneys where they do not have a lawyer specialization program like Florida does – actually believe this system means something!
I am a Florida Bar Association Board Certified Expert in Florida Criminal Trial Law. I am not a “Super Lawyer” nor am I “AV Rated” by some marketing division of a legal publisher. I never will be, either.
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