Martindale-Hubbell Peer Review Ratings Explained

An Explanation of the Changed Martindale-Hubbell® Peer Review Ratings™

Martindale-Hubbell Peer Review Ratings reflect a combination of achieving a Very High General Ethical Standards rating and a Legal Ability numerical rating. For lawyers rated with the changed methodology the Martindale-Hubbell Peer Review Ratings will reflect the following:

General Ethical Standards Rating

The General Ethical Standards rating denotes adherence to professional standards of conduct and ethics, reliability, diligence and other criteria relevant to the discharge of professional responsibilities.

Those lawyers who meet the "Very High" criteria of General Ethical Standards can proceed to the next step in the ratings process.

Legal Ability Ratings

For lawyers rated with the changed methodology, Legal Ability ratings will now indicate professional ability within a specific area of practice. Legal Ability ratings are based on performance in five key areas, rated on a scale of 1 to 5 (with 1 being the lowest and 5 being the highest). These areas are:

  • Legal Knowledge - Lawyer's familiarity with the laws governing his/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/her specific area of practice(s)

Additional Feedback

The changed Martindale-Hubbell Peer Review Ratings allow reviewers to provide optional Additional Feedback on the lawyer under review. Additional Feedback is displayed anonymously in conjunction with the review results to the lawyer under review, as explained in more detail in the Methodology section. All lawyers are able to comment on feedback and LexisNexis subscribing lawyers are able to select two reviews to place at the top of their profiles. LexisNexis Martindale-Hubbell reserves the right, in its sole, unrestricted discretion, not to display or otherwise use any feedback, in whole or in part.  

Reviewer Demographics

Martindale-Hubbell Peer Review Ratings are anonymous and reviewers' identities are not published, but in an effort to provide more details to the users of Martindale-Hubbell Peer Review Ratings, LexisNexis Martindale-Hubbell will aggregate reviewers' basic demographics, including general position and general geographic location, which may be published with the ratings display on® and Lawyers.comSM. Examples of basic demographics are "private practice lawyer, senior partner, New York, USA."

LexisNexis® Martindale-Hubbell® Areas of Practice

LexisNexis Martindale-Hubbell uses a specific practice area list in the review process to ensure that all lawyers are rated upon equivalent practice areas, regardless of how individual lawyers choose to articulate their area of expertise. This allows users of rating to compare and contrast lawyers with a specific area of practice. The LexisNexis Martindale-Hubbell area of practice list is based on user behavior, research on emerging areas of law, and other forms of legal research. LexisNexis Martindale-Hubbell updates the list regularly to reflect the changing needs of the legal industry.

Example Survey

Example online survey of the Martindale-Hubbell Peer Review Ratings questions

 Peer Review Survey

The Martindale-Hubbell Peer Review Ratings

After a lawyer's General Ethical Standards and Legal Ability Ratings are confirmed, his/her ratings are aggregated to create an overall numeric rating for each rated Area of Practice. The numeric rating determines the Peer Review Rating, which includes a rating term and may include a Certification Mark:

  • AV® Preeminent™ (4.5-5.0) - An AV® certification mark 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) - The BV® certification mark 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 that the lawyer has met the very high criteria of General Ethical Standing.

Sample Peer Review Rating Grid

Sample "Overall Peer Rating" Display

Next: LexisNexis Martindale-Hubbell Policing Guidelines

LexisNexis Martindale-Hubbell Policing Guidelines

Certification mark users and Icon Mark users ("Authorized Users") are to follow the Permitted Uses/Non-Permitted Uses Guidelines ("Use Guidelines"). As such, Authorized Users shall use the certification marks and Icon Marks only in the approved formats reflected in the Martindale-Hubbell Peer Review Ratings Toolkit. See Promotion of Ratings for further details on the Martindale-Hubbell Peer Review Toolkit.

Martindale-Hubbell, by designation from its licensor Reed Elsevier Properties Inc, is responsible for exercising reasonable control over the use of the certification marks and Icon Marks and therefore will look for consistent observance of the Use Guidelines by the Authorized Users and will be vigilant in (1) watching for, identifying and correcting incorrect uses and/or abuses of any of the certification marks and Icon Marks and (2) dealing with abuses. Therefore, Authorized User shall use the:

  • The certification marks only to signify the rating they have achieved through the Martindale-Hubbell Peer Review Ratings service
  • The Icon Marks only to signify that they have been rated through the Martindale-Hubbell Peer Review Ratings service

Authorized Users agree that for their right to use any of the certification marks or Icon Marks, they shall abide by the Use Guidelines and recognize that LexisNexis Martindale-Hubbell can terminate or suspend the use rights of an Authorized User according to these Policing Guidelines. Any Authorized Users, who fail to remedy improper uses after notice from Martindale-Hubbell, shall be subject to being denied the right to use the marks and to have their Martindale-Hubbell Peer Review Ratings cancelled.

LexisNexis Martindale-Hubbell shall have the right to terminate or suspend an Authorized User's right to use any of the certification marks or Icon Marks if repeated abuse of the Use Guidelines is found or for any abuse that may threaten the validity or protection of those marks without having to give prior written notice to the Authorized User.

Authorized Users agree they will immediately cease use of any certification mark or Icon Mark if LexisNexis Martindale-Hubbell shall terminate or suspend the authorization of the Authorized Users, and further agree that if a new review of an Authorized User results in a lower rating, the Authorized User will immediately take all reasonable steps to change appropriately the uses of a certification mark or Icon Mark being made by the Authorized User.

Authorized Users do not have the authority to sublicense or approve third party uses of the certification marks and Icon Marks. However, this does not prohibit an Authorized User from engaging printers or publishers to use the certification marks and Icons in materials prepared for the Authorized User as long as such uses are consistent with the Use Guidelines.

Persons with information or questions about correct/incorrect uses, or about abuses of the certification marks and Icon Marks can contact LexisNexis Martindale-Hubbell at:

AV® and BV® are registered certification marks and AV® Preeminent and BV® Distinguished are certification marks of Reed Elsevier Properties Inc. Copyright 2010 LexisNexis, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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