Friday, July 24, 2009 To Lawyers: You're Great, Now Pay Us

Yesterday, I received this email:

Dear Brian L. Tannebaum,

Martindale-Hubbell works with American Registry to help AV Rated attorneys such as yourself maximize the opportunity for leveraging your Peer Review Rating.

As one of a select few attorneys to have achieved the highest possible rating of AV, we want you to be aware that your rating is currently NOT being displayed on or

To restore the display of your rating normally costs $59. Now through 8/7/09, you can both save 15%, and pay by invoice on net 30 terms.

You will be invoiced for $50.15 and your AV Rating will once again appear beside your listing on both and

If you have any questions or concerns about this fee or being invoiced, please contact me, Pat Barnes, by replying to this email, or by phone at 800-892-6998 x2.

Well, Pat, I do have some concerns.

You see before there was Super Lawyers or any other marketing magazine touted as the official list of the greatest lawyers in the country or local community, Martindale stood alone.

According to Martindale, "An AV® certification mark is a significant rating accomplishment - a testament to the fact that a lawyer's peers rank him or her at the highest level of professional excellence. A lawyer must be admitted to the bar for 10 years or more to receive an AV® rating.

This is real. It's not determined by lawyers themselves sending out ballots saying "I voted for you......." Martindale painstakingly attempts to rate lawyers by peer-review. Many Super Lawyers or other darlings of the marketing magazines, don't belong there. What the hell is a "Super Lawyer" anyway? Is it a lawyer who won an impossible case, one who does 500 hours a year of pro bono work, or one who has mentored many young lawyers? I don't know.

The other aspect of this rating is that Martindale has always stood firm that whether the lawyer is a subscriber to Martindale-Hubbell (those big books listing lawyers around the world that are no longer relevant) or (Martindale's step into the 21st century) is irrelevant in the rating process. YOu can be rated even if you've never sent Martindale a dime.

This is still the case.


Although Martindale may think you are a great, or "AV" rated lawyer, they will not tell anyone without a check for $59 (now discounted to $50).

The website, advertised with that cheesy fake law school class setting with the professor saying that instead of a referral, going to a website is the better move, is now deceptive.

If Martindale wants to be the leader in directing consumers to lawyers, good lawyers, why don't they say the following on the website: is part of Martindale Hubbell. For decades, we have rated lawyers based on ethics and experience. Many of the lawyers listed here are AV rated, which is our highest rating. However, we do not disclose that here, unless those lawyers pay us.

Located in Miami, Florida, Brian Tannebaum practices Bar Admission and Discipline and Criminal Defense. Read his free ebook The Truth About Hiring A Criminal Defense Lawyer. Please visit


1 comment:

Richard Hornsby said...

Well, at least The Florida Bar not only allows you to provide your Martindale-Hubbell "Peer Review Rating" on your Florida Bar website lawyer profile, it even provides a link to explain the "Peer Review Rating."

Interestingly, I found no similar option to provide my AVVO rating on my Florida Bar website profile.

And that is really sad, because even though AVVO thinks I am an excellent attorney, Martindale-Hubbell believes me to be no better than any other average (CV) lawyer. Not that I disagree with them :-(