The Martindale-Hubbell® Peer Review Ratings™ help you, the consumer of legal services, identify, evaluate and select the appropriate lawyer for your legal issue. Peer Review Ratings™ identify lawyers with the highest ethical standards and professional ability. The ratings can be a useful aid when hiring an attorney. Combined with the Martindale-Hubbell® Client Review Ratings™ and a lawyer's professional credentials, the Peer Review Ratings™ help provide a comprehensive view of a lawyer's abilities.
The Martindale-Hubbell® Peer Review Ratings™ are an objective indicator of a lawyer's high ethical standards and professional ability. Attorneys receive a Peer Review Ratings™ based on evaluations by other members of the bar and the judiciary in the United States and Canada. The first review to establish a lawyer's rating usually occurs three years after his/her first admission to the bar.
LexisNexis facilitates secure online Martindale-Hubbell® PEER REVIEW RATINGS™ surveys of lawyers across multiple jurisdictions and geographic locations, in similar areas of practice as the lawyer being rated. Reviewers are asked to assess their colleagues' general ethical standards and legal ability in a specific area of practice.
The Ratings Explanation
Martindale-Hubbell® Peer Review Ratings™ reflect a combination of achieving a Very High General Ethical Standards rating and a Legal Ability numerical rating. A threshold number of responses is required to achieve a rating.
The General Ethical Standards rating means the attorney adheres to professional standards of conduct and ethics, reliability, diligence and other criteria relevant to practicing law. Those lawyers who are judged to have "Very High" General Ethical Standards can proceed to the next step in the ratings process - Legal Ability.
Legal Ability ratings are based on performance in five key areas, rated on a scale of one to five (with one being the lowest and five being the highest). These areas are:
- Legal Knowledge - Lawyer's familiarity with the laws in his or her specific area of practice(s)
- Analytical Capabilities - Lawyer's creativity in analyzing legal issues and applying technical knowledge
- Judgment - Lawyer's demonstration of the salient factors that drive the outcome of a given case or issue
- Communication Ability - Lawyer's capability to communicate persuasively and credibly
- Legal Experience - Lawyer's degree of experience in his or her specific area of practice(s)
After lawyers have been evaluated on their legal ability, they will receive one of three ratings:
- AV Preeminent® (4.5-5.0) - AV Preeminent is a significant rating accomplishment a testament to the fact that a lawyer's peers rank him or her at the highest level of professional excellence.
- BV Distinguished® (3.0-4.4) - BV Distinguished is an excellent rating for a lawyer with some experience. A widely respected mark of achievement, it differentiates a lawyer from his or her competition.
- Rated (1.0-2.9) - The Peer Review Rated designation demonstrates the lawyer has met the Very High criteria of General Ethical Standing.
LexisNexis uses a specific practice area list in the review process to help ensure that lawyers are rated upon equivalent practice areas, regardless of how individual lawyers choose to articulate their area of expertise. This allows users of ratings to compare and contrast lawyers with a specific area of practice. The Martindale-Hubbell® PEER REVIEW RATINGS™ area of practice list is based on user behavior, research on emerging areas of law, and other forms of legal research. LexisNexis updates the list regularly to reflect the changing needs of the legal industry.
Feedback and Comments
Martindale-Hubbell® Peer Review Ratings™ also allow reviewers to provide written feedback on the lawyer under review. Feedback is displayed anonymously in conjunction with the review results. Lawyers may place a one-time comment next to any of the feedback they receive. Martindale-Hubbell® subscribers are able to highlight two peer feedback comments and position them at the top of their ratings display.
Peer Review feedback and comments are published for all attorneys who are listed on our Martindale-Hubbell® database. LexisNexis Martindale-Hubbell® publishes rating information it has gathered about lawyers and law firms and provides a forum for others to share what they'd like to share about any particular lawyer(s) on our websites martindale.com and Lawyers.comSM. The site is not law firm advertising and LexisNexis Martindale-Hubbell® is not acting as agent for any lawyer or law firm in publishing this information. Each lawyer and law firm must decide for itself how it wishes to use any Martindale-Hubbell® Peer Review Ratings™ information and each lawyer and law firm is wholly responsible for ensuring that any use it makes of Martindale-Hubbell® Peer Review Ratings™ or of data is compliant with the ethics rules affecting that lawyer and his or her law firm.
Each lawyer actively practicing law who is currently listed on martindale.com and Lawyers.comSM (including subscribers and non-subscribers to LexisNexis Martindale-Hubbell®), who has been admitted to a bar in the U.S. or Canada for at least three years and who is in good standing is eligible to receive a peer rating.
Here is some information about the reviewers and the process:
- The reviewers are members of the bar and judiciary (lawyers and judges). They are from similar areas of practice and/or industries as the lawyer being rated, who attest that they know or have worked with the lawyer under review, and are able to rate the lawyer on his or her professional ethical standards and legal ability.
- All Martindale-Hubbell® PEER REVIEW RATINGS™ review material are treated as anonymous. LexisNexis Martindale-Hubbell® takes steps to protect anonymity (e.g., not associating reviewer names with their responses and aggregating their responses with responses from other reviewers before sharing or publishing them), but it is possible that responses may contain sufficient information to allow the rated lawyer to ascertain the identity of the reviewer.
- Although Martindale-Hubbell® Peer Review Ratings™ are anonymous and reviewers' identities are not published, in an effort to provide more details to the users of Martindale-Hubbell® Peer Review Ratings™, LexisNexis will aggregate reviewers' basic demographics, including general position and general geographic location. Examples of basic demographics are "private practice lawyer, senior partner, New York, USA."
- A lawyer may also request a review by nominating his/her own peer references who have personal knowledge of his/her general ethics and legal ability in a specific area of practice. LexisNexis then requests that the prospective reviewers complete the secure online peer review evaluation. Those references will be incorporated into the process along with other reviewers who are randomly selected.
- Peer reference nominees must be: lawyers or judges; from outside the lawyer's organization; and listed on martindale.com. References must not consist of more than two lawyers from any one organization. A lawyer may submit peer references only once annually and there must be a minimum of 18 references submitted for a peer review process to be initiated. To ensure a credible process, LexisNexis will include several randomly chosen reviewers in a similar area of practice and/or geographical location along with the submitted peer references.
LexisNexis Martindale-Hubbell® facilitates the peer review process by gathering responses, validating their submission, and aggregating results for display online. The content of the responses is entirely from reviewers, the peers of the lawyer. Peer reviewers must affirm that they are a peer of the lawyer identified for review. A peer can submit only one review for a specific lawyer within a 12-month period.
Though a lawyer's rating generally may improve over time, Martindale-Hubbell® Peer Review Ratings™ can be revised downward or even removed if a decline is noted in ability or ethical standards.
LexisNexis Martindale-Hubbell® conducts regular random periodic reviews of all Martindale-Hubbell® Peer Review Ratings™ to ensure they accurately reflect the reviewing peers' input. Where necessary, a lawyer's rating may be deleted, raised or lowered.
LexisNexis Martindale-Hubbell® PEER REVIEW RATINGS™ for any disbarred or suspended lawyers are automatically removed as soon as LexisNexis Martindale-Hubbell® is notified by a state bar. Other types of lawyer disciplinary actions administered by the appropriate bar or judicial authorities may also be grounds to remove a rating. While bar-admitting authorities supply LexisNexis Martindale-Hubbell® with disciplinary information, LexisNexis Martindale-Hubbell® also reserves the right to investigate information from the bar or the judiciary regarding rated lawyers that may impact the ethical standards of a rated lawyer.
It is important to note that because LexisNexis Martindale-Hubbell® does not conduct Peer Review Ratings™ for all lawyers, the fact a lawyer is not rated should not be construed unfavorably.
If a law firm or lawyer chooses not to display the Martindale-Hubbell® Peer Review Ratings™, all numeric ratings and feedback will be removed from display and language will appear that states "Ratings not Shown."
Any Martindale-Hubbell® Peer Review Ratings™ feedback or comments that are submitted by reviewers are published. Prior results described by a peer do not guarantee a similar outcome in the future. LexisNexis Martindale-Hubbell® accepts no responsibility for the content or accuracy of any comments or responses displayed by LexisNexis Martindale-Hubbell®. LexisNexis Martindale-Hubbell® may use comments/responses in accordance with the Terms and Conditions, but is not required to do so. LexisNexis Martindale-Hubbell® reserves the right, in its sole, unrestricted discretion, not to publish or otherwise use any submission it receives.
No subscription or listing on martindale.com or Lawyers.comSM is ever solicited or accepted on the promise of publication of a particular Peer Review Rating. No preferential consideration is ever given to any lawyer or law firm. There is never any payment made to lawyers and judges who participate in rating reviews. The process is a cooperative service with the bar and the judiciary.
Martindale-Hubbell® Peer Review Ratings™ benefit the entire legal community, from buyers and referrers of legal services to the lawyers and law firms whose ratings are published.
Q: What are Martindale-Hubbell® Ratings?
A: Martindale-Hubbell® Ratings help buyers of legal services choose the right lawyer or law firm for their legal matter. Martindale-Hubbell® Ratings include the reviews by peers and clients which, combined, can provide a compelling and comprehensive view of a lawyer or law firm.
Q: What are Martindale-Hubbell® PEER REVIEW RATINGS™?
A: The Martindale-Hubbell® Peer Review Ratings™ attest to a lawyer's legal ability and professional ethics. These ratings are based on the opinion of other lawyers and can help you when making hiring decisions. Combined with the Martindale-Hubbell® Client Review Ratings, self-reported professional credentials and other fact-based performance data, the Peer Review Ratings™ contribute to the comprehensive view of a lawyer.
Q: How does a lawyer obtain a Martindale-Hubbell® PEER REVIEW RATINGS™ review?
A: The majority of reviews are initiated by Martindale-Hubbell® through the random selection of lawyer participants and respondents. A lawyer can also request a review by nominating peer references.
Q: Is an individual required to have a paid listing on martindale.com or Lawyers.comSM to be rated?
A: No. The goal of the Martindale-Hubbell® Peer Review Ratings™ service is to develop objective ratings for as many lawyers as possible.
Q: Why display Martindale-Hubbell® Peer Review Ratings™ on Lawyers.comSM?
A: Adding Martindale-Hubbell® Peer Review Ratings™ to Lawyers.comSM brings ratings to the consumer and small business markets. It helps you make educated more informed decision when hiring an attorney.
Q: How do Martindale-Hubbell® Peer Review Ratings™ take place?
A: LexisNexis Martindale-Hubbell® invites lawyers and judges to provide their opinions on a lawyer. They must attest that they have personal knowledge of that lawyer's general ethics and legal ability in a specific area of practice.
Q: What are Average Martindale-Hubbell® Peer Review Ratings™ on Lawyers.comSM?
A: Average Martindale-Hubbell® Peer Review Ratings™ combines the average ratings of all lawyers in a law firm into a single metric-enhanced rating at the firm level. This helps individuals and small businesses differentiate between law firms when hiring an attorney. Average Martindale-Hubbell® Peer Review Ratings™ appear in search results and on law firm profiles.
Q: Can lawyers remove a review on their profile if they do not agree with it?
A: No, but the lawyer can place a comment next to any of the peer feedback comments. If a law firm or lawyer chooses not to display the peer rating, all numeric ratings and feedback will be removed and language will appear that states "Ratings not Shown."
Q: If lawyers practice in a large metropolitan area where there are thousands of lawyers, how do you identify those who know them well enough to gauge their professionalism?
A: We use various data points (such as area of practice, past reviewers, geographical location, etc.) to increase the likelihood of the random sample knowing the lawyer in question. This makes it easier to gather the data necessary to determine a rating.
Q: What does it mean if a lawyer is not rated?
A: Some lawyers request not to have their rating published, while others may not be rated due to the length of time in practice, the size of the bar, or other reasons unrelated to their legal abilities or ethical standards, such as a legal practice that involves few peers. Lawyers also undergo periodic rating reviews during their career. The absence of a rating should not be construed as unfavorable.
Q: Do lawyers have the option of viewing peer review comments before they are published on LexisNexis online sites?
A: No. After peer review comments have been received for a lawyer, they will be posted automatically. The reviewed lawyer will receive notification to view the resulting Peer Review Rating and any associated anonymous comments. All lawyers are able to comment on any peer feedback and LexisNexis subscribing lawyers are able to select two feedback comments to place at the top of their profiles.
If the firm/lawyer chooses not to participate in Martindale-Hubbell® PEER REVIEW RATINGS™, all numerical ratings and feedback will be removed from display and language will appear that states "Ratings not Shown" Firms and lawyers can no longer suppress or publish specific rating.
Questions about Martindale-Hubbell® Ratings Services can be sent by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Or by mail to:
Martindale-Hubbell® Ratings Services
121 Chanlon Road New Providence, NJ 07974
LexisNexis, the Knowledge Burst logo, Martindale-Hubbell® and martindale.com are registered trademarks, Martindale-Hubbell® Peer Review Ratings™ is a trademark and Lawyers.comSM is a service mark of Reed Elsevier Properties Inc., used under license. AV, BV and CV are registered certification marks and AV Preeminent and BV Distinguished are certification marks of Reed Elsevier Properties Inc. Copyright 2012 LexisNexis, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.