Avvo received a nice Christmas present in advance of their holiday open house party this evening.
I showed up to the party to find out that federal class action law suit versus Avvo brought by Seattle Attorney Steve Berman on behalf of Seattle Attorney John Henry Browne was dismissed with prejudice this afternoon. Best guess is Judge Lasnik didn’t time his decision to coordinate with the party, but it made for a nice gift.
Talked with CEO Mark Britton and VP of Marketing Paul Bloom, co-founders of Avvo, who pleased with the decision, seemed to take it right in stride without a lot of fanfare.
Though I was critical of the way Avvo executed its launch by including all lawyers, as opposed to only small business and consumer lawyers, Avvo serves a great purpose in allowing the public to comment on the service they received from lawyers. My guess it’s that sense of a righteous cause that had Mark and Paul feeling pretty confident about the result.
Though nothing is assured until the deadline for appeal passes, Attorney Bruce Johnson, who represented Avvo, let me know this evening that Judge Lasnik’s ruling is a very solid and thorough one.
I have not read the decision yet, but understand its basis is the First Amendment – the public should be free to comment on service providers – even lawyers. Based on the liberal reputation of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, it seems highly unlikely that a decision based on free speech is going to be reversed, assuming it’s even taken up on appeal. And I don’t see this thing being petitioned to the Supreme Court – unless Berman is handling the PR work for Avvo.