My morning starts off like most people; at the office around 8 AM with a cup of coffee and a review of my e-mail. I try to get an early start before the phone starts to ring, which it has been doing a lot of lately.
One reason for this is an issue regarding Martindale-Hubbell that’s out there right now. Specifically, the institution of a $50 annual fee so that an attorney’s Peer Review Rating (PRR) can be displayed in the LexisNexis Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory, the online listings on martindale.com and lawyers.com, within the lexis.com service and on CD-ROM.
Given the situation, I thought I’d take a moment to give a little background and clarify some misconceptions.
To date, hundreds of thousands of lawyers have been rated through the Martindale-Hubbell process. The number continues to grow, and along with it the resources required to maintain this important resource – hence the fee. While $50 is a nominal amount to ask for the services delivered by Martindale-Hubbell, it is a change. As such, we expected questions and even anger about this…and we were not wrong.
A number of bloggers and list serv members have commented on the fee, and we have received calls and emails from clients – often with a lot of passion and many times with incorrect information. I have personally spoken to many of these attorneys, and while we have different positions, I can honestly say I understand their frustration. While we cannot control people’s reactions, I can address some misconceptions created by the institution of the new fee.
• Martindale-Hubbell will not “un-rate an attorney” if the admin fee is not paid.
• Martindale Hubbell still includes an attorney’s listing in Martindale Hubbell – but the rating will not display unless the PRR fee is paid.
• The process of using an attorney’s peer to evaluate will not change and therefore the objective historical process has not been compromised.
• Our intent is not to label by inference that an attorney is not entitled to a rating.
In the end, the PRR fee issue comes down to two issues:
1) Martindale-Hubbell’s need to cover the rising costs required to maintain its growing and diversifying PRR services, and…
2) A personal choice by each attorney whether they value the rating enough to pay the $50 annual fee to help us continue providing services.
PRR are an objective indicator of a lawyer’s ethics and professional abilities—as seen through the eyes of their peers, and we value all attorneys who contribute to the PRR process. That’s why we want to encourage all attorneys to continue to provide us with feedback on the steps we are taking and we look forward to working with them in the future.