The Avvo Rating Explained
The Avvo Rating is our effort to evaluate a lawyer’s background based on the information available in an attorney’s Avvo profile. We create the rating using a model that considers information the lawyer has included on their profile in addition to the information we collect from state bar associations and other organizations that license legal professionals. Any information that affects the Avvo Rating is visible in an attorney’s profile. Avvo does not provide a numerical rating for profiles that have not been claimed by that attorney.
Attorneys always have the opportunity to add information to their profiles, and those attorneys who claim their profiles and provide Avvo with more information tend to have a higher rating than those who do not.
Keep in mind that these ratings speak to a lawyer’s background, but do not evaluate their knowledge of the law, past performance on individual cases, personality, or communication skills. These are elements that the Avvo Rating cannot evaluate, but can be better described in the client reviews and peer endorsements found on an attorney’s profile.
Why the Avvo Rating can help you find the right attorney:
- How the Avvo Rating is calculated. The rating is calculated using a mathematical model, and all lawyers are evaluated on the same set of standards.
- The Avvo Rating cannot be bought. At Avvo, all lawyers are treated equally. We don’t play favorites, and attorneys can’t pay us to improve their ratings.
- It was developed by legal professionals and people looking for legal services. The model used to calculate the rating was developed with input from hundreds of attorneys, thousands of consumers, and many other legal professionals who deeply understand the work attorneys do. We created the Avvo Rating to reflect the type of information people have identified as important when looking to hire an attorney.
- It’s as simple as counting to 10. Ratings fall on a scale of 1 (Extreme Caution) to 10 (Superb), helping you quickly assess a lawyer’s background based on our rating.
The Avvo Rating is based only on the information we have collected and that the attorney has provided, so we don’t recommend the Avvo Rating as the only piece of information you use to evaluate whether an attorney is right for you. The rating is a tool that provides a snapshot assessment of a lawyer’s background and should be considered alongside other information such as client reviews and peer endorsements.
Frequently Asked Consumer Questions about the Avvo Rating
How does Avvo calculate the Avvo Rating?
We calculate the rating based on public data we may have collected on each attorney and the information they have provided in their profile. The public data we collect comes from a variety of sources, including public records (state bar associations, regulatory agencies, and court records) and other published sources on the internet. This information, however, is not exhaustive, and might not include additional relevant information that could increase an attorney’s rating. Attorneys know about their own experience and have the option to add this information to their profiles – by either claiming their profile and adding information, or contacting Avvo Customer Care to provide additional information – and those details will often increase an attorney’s rating.
Avvo’s mathematical module considers and weights the information collected and provided to calculate a numerical rating, ranging from 1 to 10. Within the model, we take into account factors that consumers and legal professionals believe are relevant to an attorney’s qualifications, including experience, professional achievements, and disciplinary sanctions.
What does “Attention” or “Not Active on Avvo” mean?
Avvo publishes a numerical rating for all claimed profiles. For lawyers who have not claimed their profile and have no public record of bar association discipline, we do not display a rating and rather indicate, “This attorney is not active on Avvo.” For lawyers with a disciplinary action in their background based on publicly available data such that their numerical rating (which is not displayed on the site) has dropped lower than “5,” we display “Attention.” We are only able to collect publicly-available information about an attorney from the state bar or other organizations that license legal professionals. When an attorney doesn’t claim their profile, we tend to have more limited information and, therefore display an Avvo Rating of either “Attention” or indicate that they are not active on Avvo. “Attention” is given if there is information in public records that, in our opinion, you should be aware of, such as disciplinary action against a lawyer. You should be aware that we rely on public data that may not be comprehensive, or frequently updated. Always research the lawyer further to get a better understanding of their disciplinary status, background, and experience.
Does Avvo publish the details of how the rating is calculated?
The data that we take into account is all displayed on an attorney’s profile. However, we do not disclose the weight we give to this information so that no one can game the system, boosting their rating through unfair advantage. Much as Google doesn’t share its search engine secrets, we don’t share the inner workings of the Avvo Rating so we can maintain the neutrality and integrity of the rating.
What do the numerical ratings mean?
10 – 9.0 Superb
8.9 – 8.0 Excellent
7.9 – 7.0 Very Good
6.9 – 6.0 Good
5.9 – 5.0 Average
4.9 – 4.0 Concern
3.9 – 3.0 Caution
2.9 – 2.0 Strong Caution
1.9 – 1.0 Extreme Caution
What if a lawyer doesn’t have a rating at all?
Avvo does not provide a numerical rating for profiles that have not been claimed by that attorney. Avvo does not provide any rating in instances where it would not be useful, such as if the attorney is deceased or serving as a public official.
An attorney may request we remove the rating from their profile, and we honor those requests for attorneys who have not been disciplined and who are not looking for clients. These profiles will read “Avvo Rating Not Displayed”, and will not appear on practice area search listings in Avvo’s directory.
Do lawyers have to pay or sign-up to have an Avvo Rating?
Not. Avvo creates a profile for every licensed attorney we can locate, and calculates a rating for lawyers who claim their profile. Profiles are free to attorneys, and the Avvo Rating cannot be influenced by advertising or other forms of payment.
Can lawyers lie to increase their Ratings?
Attorneys can lose their licenses for falsifying data, and we don’t believe they will take that risk on their Avvo profile. We also rely on our community of users to ensure data on Avvo is as accurate as possible. If you see information on an attorney profile that you know to be incorrect, please contact us and we will investigate the issue. If an attorney is found to have intentionally posted false information, it will impact their level of professional conduct and negatively impact their Avvo Rating.
Can I remove the Avvo Rating from my profile?
Attorneys who have not been disciplined and who are not seeking legal clients may request that their numerical Avvo Rating not be displayed on their profile. If your request is approved, you will not be included in practice area search results, though licensing details and client reviews will remain visible on your profile.
Avvo’s goal is to make it easier for everyone to navigate the often-opaque legal industry. We create profiles and collect publicly available data for over 97% of US attorneys. Claiming your profile on Avvo allows you to add more information about you and your practice, allowing us to provide a more accurate Avvo Rating.
We do not “adjust” ratings by request, nor do we remove attorney profiles.
Can I add or correct information without claiming my profile?
Attorneys who have not claimed their profile may contact Avvo’s support team to request the addition or correction of data to their profile. Our support team is available via email, phone, or online chat. Contact our support team here with your inquiry, email us at email@example.com.
Peer endorsements do affect your Avvo Rating, though reviews do not. This is because peer endorsements–one lawyer endorsing another’s skills and experience–are a way to assess industry recognition, which is a factor in how we calculate an attorney’s Avvo Rating. Reviews do play a very important role for people looking to hire an attorney, but we have chosen to not include that information when calculating the Avvo Rating.
How can I change my Avvo Rating?
If you are displayed as “Attention” or not active on Avvo, you still can receive a numerical rating by claiming your profile. When you claim your profile on Avvo, the automatically calculated numerical rating will display on your profile and in search results. But, as described above, the Avvo Rating can be removed from your profile display upon your request.
If you already have a numerical Avvo Rating, your score may change as you update and provide more information in your profile, especially work experience, practice areas you work in, and professional achievements. However, please make sure that the information you provide is accurate; inaccurate data could negatively impact your Avvo Rating. If you believe a public record contains inaccurate information about you that is affecting your Avvo Rating, you can contact the appropriate organization and ask to have the record changed. When we collect that data again, your rating may change to reflect the new information we can assess.
We will not change numerical ratings upon request. Because the Avvo Rating is based on a mathematical model that is applied in the same way to every attorney, we are unable to change individual ratings. When you update your profile with more information, your rating may change: the more we know about you, the better we can determine your numerical Avvo Rating.
Additionally, it is the responsibility of attorneys to ensure that any information or advertisements they place on Avvo, and any communication they may have with prospective clients through the Avvo site, comply with the rules of professional conduct regulating the form, manner, and content of communications with clients, advertising, or other matter.
Does the Avvo Rating change over time?
Yes, an attorney’s Avvo Rating may change over time, and there are a few ways this could happen. First, as we collect more information about a lawyer, their Avvo Rating gets recalculated and the score may adjust based on the new information provided. Second, to the extent that we collect or receive data that cannot be immediately verified, we mark this data as “unknown” and update the score once we have reviewed it. Third, some information is given less weight as time passes. For example, the weighting the mathematical model gives to certain disciplinary actions and industry recognition items decreases as time passes, reflecting our opinion that, in these areas, the most recent information matters the most. Finally, we may periodically adjust the mathematical model used to calculate the Avvo Rating, which could result in a change to a lawyer’s numerical rating.
Selection Process Detail for Super Lawyers
- Representative Clients Experience
- Special licenses/certifications
- Position within the law firm
- Bar and/or professional activity
- Pro bono and community service
- Scholarly lectures/writings
- Education/employment background
- Other outstanding achievements
Martindale-Hubbell® Peer Review Ratings™
The gold standard in attorney ratings
Martindale-Hubbell® Peer Review Ratings™ recognize lawyers for their strong legal ability and high ethical standards. Individuals seeking legal counsel, as well as attorneys looking to refer a colleague, use these ratings to identify, evaluate and select the most appropriate lawyer. An elite group of approximately 10 percent of all attorneys holds an AV Preeminent Rating, a designation trusted worldwide by buyers and referrers of legal services.
Martindale-Hubbell facilitates peer and client reviews to expand law firms’ marketing capability. We provide a trusted online forum for individuals, businesses and professional colleagues to promote their credentials before a wide audience, including prospects that can’t be reached in other ways. Our peer and client reviews are user-friendly and make a distinctive, compelling statement across the web, maximizing your firm’s online marketing potential.
Strong legal ability and high ethical standards
Attorneys may qualify for one of three Martindale-Hubbell Peer Review Ratings awards: AV Preeminent, Distinguished or Notable.
Complete the form at the bottom of this page. We will send you access to a form to submit your list of attorney references, who we then contact via email to complete the peer review survey. References need to be currently practicing attorneys or sitting judges* located in the United States** or Canada who are listed in the Martindale-Hubbell database. You do not need to have a paid subscription in order to have peer reviews published, but must be located in the United States** or Canada, admitted to the bar for at least three years, and have a profile on martindale.com®.
* Per local rules, judges from Connecticut, Georgia, New Jersey, and South Carolina are not eligible to participate.
** Attorneys located in Puerto Rico, Guam, the U.S. Pacific Territories, and the U.S. Virgin Islands are also eligible to receive reviews and review others.
A lawyer who receives a minimum threshold of qualifying responses from fellow attorneys can qualify for one of three prestigious Martindale-Hubbell Peer Review Ratings: AV Preeminent®: The highest peer rating standard. This rating signifies that a large number of the lawyer’s peers rank him or her at the highest level of professional excellence for their legal knowledge, communication skills, and ethical standards. Distinguished: An excellent rating for a lawyer with some experience. This rating indicates the attorney is widely respected by their peers for high professional achievement and ethical standards. Notable: This rating indicates that the lawyer has been recognized by a large number of their peers for strong ethical standards.
Martindale Hubbell’s peer review survey allows attorneys to provide feedback on a colleague’s ethical standards and legal ability. After selecting an area of practice and providing information regarding the attorney’s ethical standards, the reviewer selects scores on a 1 (lowest) to 5 (highest) scale in five categories: Legal Knowledge, Analytical Capabilities, Judgment, Communication Ability and Legal Experience. Attorneys also have the option to provide additional written feedback, which displays as part of the review.
Yes, to maintain the integrity of the peer review, Martindale-Hubbell will add attorneys selected by location and practice areas to all peer reference submissions. In addition, Martindale-Hubbell will initiate reviews on attorneys as well; references in Martindale initiated reviews are selected based upon geographic location and listed practice areas.
As an attorney needs to reach the confidential threshold number of qualified responses to earn the award of a rating, the timing is dependent upon how quickly peer references complete the survey. However, in order to allow all references the opportunity to respond, there is an initial two-week window from the time surveys are sent out before an attorney can earn an award. After the two week window, we will check the status each day. When an attorney has received the confidential threshold number of qualified responses, the peer review process closes and we will notify the attorney of the results.
Attorneys who have received peer reviews, but not enough to reach the threshold number of qualified responses to earn a peer review award, will have those reviews displayed with a Peer-Reviewed status.
Supplemental Terms for Legal Sites and Services
Our sites and services provide access to independent attorneys, self-help services, including general information related to the law, and lawyers designed to help users safely cope with their own legal needs. Our sites and services also provide services to lawyers and other legal professionals.
We are not lawyers or a law firm and we do not provide legal, business or tax advice. None of our representatives are lawyers and they also do not provide legal, business or tax advice. The accuracy, completeness, adequacy or currency of the content is not warranted or guaranteed. Our sites and services are not substitutes for the advice or services of an attorney. We recommend you consult a lawyer or other appropriate professional if you want legal, business or tax advice.
We strive to keep our content and documents accurate, current and up-to date. However, because the law changes rapidly, we cannot guarantee that all of the information on the site and services is completely current. The law is different from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, and may be subject to interpretation by different courts. The law is a personal matter, and no general information or legal tool like the kind we provide can fit every circumstance. Furthermore, the legal information contained on the site and services is not legal advice and is not guaranteed to be correct, complete or up-to-date. Therefore, if you need legal advice for your specific problem, or if your specific problem is too complex to be addressed by our tools, you should consult a licensed attorney in your area. Our sites and services are not intended to create any attorney-client relationship, and your use of our sites and services does not and will not in any circumstance create an attorney-client relationship between you and us. We are not a lawyer referral service and the sites and services and other resources and information are for personal use only.
Lawyer Services for Users
Our sites and services offer you several ways to identify and locate an attorney (or other legal services), including advertisements for lawyers, a searchable directory of lawyers and law firms, or our lawyer service provides information on lawyers and law firms willing to contact you with your permission (collectively, “lawyer services”). The inclusion of lawyers and law firms in the lawyer services requires only a payment by such lawyers or law firms and we make no recommendation as to any such lawyers or law firms. The decision to retain an attorney is an important one, and one that you must make carefully based on your own judgment and evaluation of that attorney. If you are using the lawyer services, you should read the following terms and conditions below. If you disagree with these terms and conditions, please do not use the lawyer services.
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- Wyoming: No representation is made that the quality of the legal services to be performed is greater than the quality of legal services performed by other lawyers. Past results afford no guarantee of future results; each matter is different and must be judged on its own merits. The Wyoming State Bar does not certify any lawyer as a specialist or expert. Anyone considering a lawyer should independently investigate the lawyer’s credentials and ability, and not rely upon advertisements or self-proclaimed expertise.
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Divorce Services Terms; Payment. The additional terms in this section apply to customers who purchase our Self-Help Mediation or Divorce Filing Services.
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- Terminating the Mediation. If you decide during the mediation process to end the mediation, you may be entitled to a refund, but will remain responsible for payment for the mediator’s time up to the point of termination. We will refund you your payment, less the hourly rate of $187.50 per hour for hours spent on the mediation. This refund policy only applies up to the completion of the Marital Settlement Agreement. After the Marital Settlement Agreement has been completed and signed, you will not be entitled to any refund.
- Refunds. Any refunds will be credited to the method(s) of payment used to purchase the services.
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If you are an attorney participating in any aspect of our sites or services, including but not limited to interactive areas, (a) you agree not to provide specific legal advice in any of your content and to draft content which is competent, appropriate, educational, and in accordance with your state bar’s attorney ethics requirements; (b) you represent and warrant that you are an attorney in good standing with a license to practice law in at least one of the 50 United States of America or the District of Columbia; (c) you agree to promptly notify us of any grievance, claim, reprimand, or censure brought against you, as well as resignation or other loss of license; and (d) you acknowledge that the Rules of Professional Conduct of the jurisdictions where you are licensed (“Rules”) apply to all aspects of your participation and that you will abide by these Rules. These Rules include, but are not limited to, the rules relating to advertising, solicitation of clients, rules regarding the establishment of attorney-client relationships, failure to maintain client confidences, unauthorized practice of law, and misrepresentations of fact. We disclaim all responsibility for your compliance with these Rules. We highly recommend that you include a disclaimer regarding the aforementioned advertising and ethics issues. We will have no liability to you arising out of or related to your compliance or noncompliance with such laws and rules, or related to our inclusion or failure to include a disclaimer.
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OUR SITES AND SERVICES OR ACCESSING, YOU ACKNOWLEDGE AND ACCEPT THAT SUBMITTING YOUR TELEPHONE NUMBER TO US VIA THE SITES AND SERVICES CONSTITUTES AN INQUIRY TO US, AND THAT WE OR OUR AFFILIATES MAY CONTACT YOU AT THE NUMBER SUBMITTED EVEN IF SUCH NUMBER APPEARS ON ANY STATE OR FEDERAL DO NOT CALL LISTS (TAKING INTO ACCOUNT INQUIRY EXCEPTION TIME FRAMES AS APPROPRIATE).
You authorize us to contact you by telephone at the number you have provided. Telephone calls may include prerecorded or artificial voice messages and calls using an automatic telephone dialing system. Your consent is not a condition of your purchase.
You agree that any calls to or from us may be monitored or recorded for training or quality assurance purposes.