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Is Martindale-Hubbell’s lawyer rating system officially dead?

December 22, 2008

Martindale-Hubbell lawyer ratingsThat’s the question asked by Heather Milligan on word of Martindale-Hubbell’s elimination of their Rating Specialists.

Milligan, Director of Marketing at Barger & Wolen LLP and leading contributor to the Legal Marketing Association received an e-mail on Friday from a peer at LexisNexis’ Martindale-Hubbell division notifying her that not only was she let go, so was her entire department.

I want to let you know that I will be leaving Martindale-Hubbell at the end of the month. The Rating Specialist positions for Martindale-Hubbell have been eliminated, so that means that I will not be coming to visit you to review your firm’s ratings initiatives. I am told that some of the other people who visit your firm from Martindale or LexisNexis may add the ratings items to their meetings with you.

Martindale-Hubbell Peer Review Ratings Specialists (MH pdf) work closely with larger law firm clients to educate, engage and assist their lawyers in the peer review process.

It’s possible Martindale-Hubbell can continue with lawyer ratings, a lynchpin of the company’s lawyer offerings, without ratings specialists. The elimination of their positions may just be an effort to trim costs in the face of large law firms eliminating their Martindale-Hubbell subscriptions.

But Milligan, a widely respected legal marketing professional, views the elimination of the ratings specialists as the end of the line for Martindale-Hubbell ratings.

I don’t know if this is a case of chicken or the egg, but by eliminating the Rating Specialist positions, LexisNexis has shown what their commitment to the Martindale-Hubbell Ratings System product is. Or, was it our lack of support for the Ratings product what prompted LexisNexis to abandon it?

Either way, it appears that the Martindale-Hubbell AV Ratings System is officially dead, or, at the least, on ‘dissolution watch.

25 years ago when I started practicing a Martindale-Hubbelll AV rating was seen as a big deal. However, the lawyers I’ve talked with over the last few years found the ratings of little value.

Sure, all things being equal, lawyers like having an AV rating. But with the advent of the Internet, lawyers know there’s much more meaningful information available to look at when selecting a lawyer.

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