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Lawyer ratings : In-house counsel don’t use much

Law department consultant Rees Morrison reports that despite Martindale-Hubbell’s and Super Lawyer’s efforts, law firm ratings don’t mean much to in-house counsel.

The Association of Corporate Counsel has found from 2001 to 2005 that in-house lawyers look to these directories – online or in print – about 18 percent of the time in hiring lawyers.

And Carolyn Elefant at’s Inside Opinions, my source for this post, points out the the obvious to law firms buying into ratings as a way to market your law firm, “Eighteen percent doesn’t seem like a very high ratio.”

…[I]t also leaves open numerous other options for learning more about lawyers, such as perusing their blogs (if they maintain one) or searching for articles they’ve written on Google, or Google Scholar. So if I were a lawyer evaluating listing in one of these ratings services (assuming that option were available), and I had to pay to list (I don’t know whether payment is prerequisite to listings in the services Morrison cites), I’d weigh the value of the 18 percent usage against what must be at least 50 or 60 percent search-engine use by consumers and in-house counsel looking for lawyers.

Any kid, in-house counsel too, knows that you Google what you are looking for. And for checking out a lawyer, you Google their name.

Find a ton of citations to what the lawyer has written pertaining to the lawyer’s area of practice, and that’s all the ratings I need. If a whole lot of folks, whether bloggers or the media, are quoting the lawyer, I know they are a trusted and reliable authority. I’m also going to give more weight to those citations to the lawyer than a rating service like Martindale-Hubbell or Super Lawyers that makes its living by selling advertising or services to the lawyers the companies rate.

Want to get cited and see those citations when people Google your name as a lawyer? Blog.

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