Increasing Lead Flow
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Updated: June 10, 2020

Is Your Martindale Hubbell Rating Still Worth the Effort?

There was a time when Martindale Hubbell was probably one of the most widely used reference books in a firm's law library. The heavy volumes were not only the simplest way to locate law firms and attorneys, but they were also full of other useful information.

That leather-bound book contained summaries of the laws in every U.S. state as well as many foreign countries. Need to refer a client to an estate planning attorney in Michigan? Check Martindale Hubbell. Need to find out about the statute of limitations for a personal injury case in Ohio? Check Martindale Hubbell. Need to know the Service of Process rules in Canada? You guessed it - check Martindale Hubbell.

Is Your Martindale Hubbell Rating Still Worth the Effort?

History of the Martindale Hubbell Law Directory

James B. Martindale founded The Martindale Directory in 1868 with the goal of furnishing lawyers, merchants, real estate agents, and bankers with the address of a single reliable attorney, real estate office, banker, etc. in every U.S. city.

In 1930, the company acquired the rights to Hubbell’s Legal Directory, which was an existing law digest for each U.S. state. In 1990, Martindale Hubbell law directory was purchased by LexisNexis and eventually that one or two volumes of data exploded into 26 volumes and a directory of over 1 million attorneys.

In 2014, Martindale-Hubbell became part of Internet Brands, and in 2018, Internet Brands rebranded its legal group under the name “Martindale-Avvo.” This is interesting because Martindale and Avvo use similar methods for compiling their attorney ratings.

legal marketing network

How is Your Martindale Hubbell Rating Compiled?

The Martindale Hubbell rating that most attorneys post on their websites is a peer review rating. In other words, they are based on what other attorneys think of them, not clients. While few potential clients care about what another attorney thinks of you, they will probably be impressed by a badge that shows you’ve attained the “highest marks, ” or an AV Preeminent rating.

So, how does this work? First, you’ll need a profile on Martindale.com. If you don’t already have one, you can create one.

highest level of professional excellence

The next step is to request that Martindale begin the peer nomination process. While you don’t have to be a subscriber to do this, the site makes it easier on subscribers by giving them direct access to the Peer Reference Nomination Tool. Otherwise, you’ll need to email the company.

Next, you should have a compiled list of 20-25 (or more) attorneys and judges that are familiar with your legal abilities that you will list as peers. Each party you include must also be listed on Martindale.com to participate in the process. Finally, Martindale suggests that you reach out to each of your listed peers to let them know an email message from Martindale will be forthcoming.

Your peer review ratings are based on several factors:

  • General Ethical Standards – This rating relates to your adherence to professional standards of conduct as well as diligence, reliability, and ethics. The desired rating is V for “Very High.”
  • Legal Ability Ratings – This rating considers the professional abilities of the attorney in their practice areas, their expertise, and other professional qualifications. The three possible ratings are C = Good to High, B = High to Very High, and A = Very High to Preeminent.

peer reviews

When a sufficient number of peer ratings are returned, a rating is provided. There are three possibilities:

  • CV® Peer Review – This is the maximum rating a lawyer can receive after being admitted to the bar for 3-4 years. It is a confirmation of unquestionable ethics and above-average ability.
  • BV® Peer Review Rating – This is the maximum rating a lawyer can receive after being admitted to the bar for 5-9 years. It is considered an excellent rating for an attorney with more years of experience.
  • AV® Peer Review Rating – Once an attorney has been admitted to the bar for 10 or more years, they are eligible for this rating. It is the highest mark of achievement with Martindale.

Martindale Client Ratings Are Different

Martindale ratings used to be entirely based on peer reviews, but this has changed. Consumer preferences demand that there be more opportunities to read about the experiences of former clients as well.

Now, a Martindale Hubbell attorney search also provides users with client review ratings. Clients are asked to complete surveys that rate the attorney on a scale of 1 to 5 in four categories: Communication Ability, Quality of Service, Value for Money, and Responsiveness. Clients can also provide additional written feedback in a review.

client reviews

In addition to the reviews being available on your profile, Martindale also has an annual Client Championship awards program, which delivers three levels of awards (Silver, Gold, & Platinum) based on client reviews.

Is Pursuing a Martindale Rating Worth the Effort?

While the Martindale Hubbell rating seems like a lot of effort, it may be worth some of the headache thanks to the broad reach you’ll receive. Now that a single company owns so many legal directories, Martindale claims that it is posting the same profile information on Lawyers.com as well as Nolo.

Martindale also offers quite a few upsells, such as lead generation and website building services, which we don’t recommend. These are incredibly costly and won’t provide you with the best return on your legal marketing dollars.

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About the Author
Stan Bogdashin
Stan co-founded Comrade Digital Marketing and serves as its marketing strategist and IT expert recruiter.

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