In the noble tradition of law firm ‘pay for play’ rating services, Martindale-Hubbell will only continue to display a lawyer’s rating in print or online if a lawyer pays 50 bucks per year.

Here’s the unsolicited email one lawyer recently got from Martindale.

Martindale-Hubbell Peer Review Ratings – 2nd Notice

We recently notified you of an annual $50 administration fee associated with the maintenance and upkeep of your Martindale-Hubbell Peer Review Ratings listing displayed throughout the Martindale-Hubbell Legal Network.

While we assume this nominal fee remains unpaid through an oversight, you should know that if it not paid by 11/01/07, your rating will no longer be displayed in our online and print resources. This would not eliminate your coveted rating; however it would exclude your rating from being seen by over 1 million that reference Martindale-Hubbell when evaluating and selecting a legal resource…

Slick deal. What used to be free now costs $50. If Martindale rates 200,000 lawyers, that’s potential $10 million in incremental revenue.

Martindale calls it a processing fee. We’ve rated you, but that rating cannot be displayed on the Web or in print until we get your $50. Looks like legal extortion to me. We’re the bible of lawyer ratings, we’ll rate you, but no one sees the rating till you fork over a 50 spot.

If Edmunds started charging car manufacturers for each car, new and used, they rated, it would an obvious a conflict of interest. How could you charge someone a fee when you claiming to do an impartial rating? You can’t.

You think Martindale will keep rating the lawyers who don’t pay them $50? As you know there’s ‘administration [costs] associated with the maintenance and upkeep of your Martindale-Hubbell Peer Review Ratings.’

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