Angie Hicks founded Angie’s list, a Web site that collects and shares customer-satisfaction reports on local businesses.

Per an article in this morning’s Seattle Times, the site was born out of necessity.

Angie’s List started in 1995 when Angie Hicks teamed up with friend Bill Oesterle, who had just bought an old home, to figure out how referrals could become a business. Hicks walked door to door, asking neighbors to give referrals to various services, which they used to build their fledgling company.

Soon, the company had a call-in service, added a newsletter and eventually tapped into the Internet.

Members (now 450,000 in 27, soon to be 68 cities) pay a monthly subscription fee of about $6 to access the site. Once signed on, members use the site to review service contractors and post their opinions.

Contractors get a grade of ‘A,’ ‘B,’ ‘C,’ ‘D’ or ‘F,’ as if in school, then a report card is given that ranks the company’s price, quality, responsiveness, punctuality and professionalism. Members can also write a short synopsis of the service they received.

Lawyers, legal publishers (ala Martindale-Hubbell), national & state bar associations, and state ethics boards get all hung up in the argument that the rating of lawyers is beyond the capability of average folks. We’re told that only lawyers and those with an understanding of the legal industry are equipped to rate lawyers. We’re told non-lawyers cannot rate lawyers because they do not know how skilled a lawyer is and what a good result may be. This is total bunk.

Can’t tell me a consumer or business person isn’t capable of grading lawyers on price, quality, responsiveness, punctuality and professionalism.

Those holding onto this monopoly on lawyer ratings, or lack thereof, do so for self serving reasons. Doing so further damages the reputation of our legal profession. With social interaction on the Internet changing everything, the phony arguments made to stop true lawyer ratings will not hold up forever.

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  • Jake
  • MIke Levinzon

    If you are looking to rate service providers who did a job for you, you can do it on
    Here you can rate any service provider (lawyer, your cleaning lady, or even your hair stylist) also, you can post a service auction and have the service providers bid to get your job. Great concept, take a look

  • Nice try Mike. Metrohorse looks lame as heck. You call yourselves the ‘Internet’s #1 Marketplace for Business & Personal Services’ and there isn’t a family law lawyer closer to Seattle than Madison, Wisconsin. That’s 2000 miles Mike.
    Keep your spam on other sites.

  • William

    There are several lawyer rating sites, but only one that uses customer reviews; It seems fairly new, but they say they aren’t “pay to play.”

  • Donald

    But the law of defamation, liable and slander will prevail.

  • Chris

    I needed to read evaluations of a lawyer in Vermont to see if I was getting the runaround or this was his usual practice. Stunned to find Angie’s List does not carry any critiques family lawyers. Amen to Kevin!