The legendary UCLA coach John Wooden said “past success does not equate future success. We can only learn from the past, apply it to the present and plan for the future.” Martindale-Hubbell® Peer Review Ratings™ have long been the gold standard in the industry and with good reason – the ratings methodology is objective and fair, the selection process is random and in order to receive a rating, a lawyer is not required to be with a large law firm or a small law firm. The legal community respects the accuracy of Martindale-Hubbell® Peer Review Ratings™ because it knows that its peers – the people best suited to assess legal ability – are directly involved in the process.
Ratings have been facilitated by us for so long because we know how powerful ratings are to people, to both those who are rated and those who use ratings. Throughout the years holders of Martindale Hubbell’s AV® Peer Review rating include Martha Barnett, David Boies, Former Gov. Brendan T. Byrne, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, President Barack Obama, Sandra Day O’Connor and David Wilentz, just to name a few.
The needs of people, both lawyers and consumers, who evaluate legal services, have evolved, and the demand for more comprehensive and detailed lawyer ratings has emerged. Formal and informal conversations as well as research from the legal community and consumers came back to us consistently asking that we provide greater depth and specificity to our ratings. Earlier this year we launched Martindale-Hubbell Client Review Ratings a complement to our Martindale-Hubbell Peer Review Ratings. This week I am happy to share that Martindale-Hubbell will take its second step towards transforming its lawyer ratings with the rollout of transformed Peer Review Ratings, affirming our goal of delivering a complete ‘360 degree’ view of more than one million lawyers.
It is important to me that you understand that Martindale-Hubbell® Peer Review Ratings™ will continue to reflect the anonymous opinions of members of the Bar and the Judiciary and attest to a lawyer’s legal ability and professional ethics.
- The General Ethical Standards Rating still denotes adherence to professional standards of conduct and ethics, reliability, diligence and other criteria relevant to the discharge of professional responsibilities.
- Legal Ability Ratings will now be 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 key areas are Legal Knowledge, Analytical Capabilities, Judgment, Communication Ability and Legal Experience.
You still need a combination of the Very High General Ethical Standards Rating and a Legal Ability Rating, but the Martindale-Hubbell Peer Review Rating will now include an average numeric rating, a rating term and may include a certification mark:
- AV® Preeminent™ (4.5 – 5.0)
- BV® Distinguished™ (3.0 – 4.4)
- Rated (1.0 – 2.9)
Our changed Martindale-Hubbell® Peer Review Ratings™ methodology also provides three key additions:
- Basic demographics of reviewers – to showcase the lawyer’s sphere of influence
- A narrative feedback to add depth to the review – creating a opportunity to bring personality and conversation to the ratings
- Area of practice specific – validating the lawyer’s specific experience.
Another aspect of change for Martindale-Hubbell® Peer Review Ratings™ is the retirement of the CV® certification mark. Over the years we have engaged in a lot of dialogue with the legal community about this and we listened. We learned that this change would simplify the overall ratings system. Lawyers who currently are CV rated will no longer be listed as CV but instead as “Rated 2.9” until they are re-reviewed using the changed methodology.
Martindale-Hubbell has also relaxed the tenure restriction on achievement of the higher ratings, so younger lawyers are now eligible to achieve an AV or BV Peer Review Rating.
In the coming weeks, lawyers will be contacted notifying them of how these changes will affect their ratings. So far, the feedback is positive, and we want to continue our discussions with you to keep learning and improving this valuable program. Over the next 10 years, we plan to complete a re-review of every rated lawyer using the changed methodology but lawyers may request an expedited re-review so that they can take advantage of the benefits of the changed methodology—including area of practice specificity and peer feedback.
Of course, there is a lot to learn here and share with you. I encourage you to visit our main Martindale-Hubbell® Peer Review Ratings™ s page where you can learn more. What do you think? We would love to hear back from you.
These steps show that we are not relying on our past success, but instead we are learning from the past and gaining new knowledge from you now, as we transform our service for the future. Ratings continue to be an integral part of Martindale-Hubbell and most importantly, we know that Ratings are integral to your decision-making. As we transform our ratings, rest assured that we will apply what we have learned and not forget what’s important to you.