Sunday, June 10, 2007

Rate your Lawyer

I don't have much comment on this, beyond wondering what criteria they use and if it can be easily "gamed".

I do think something is needed to help people find a good lawyer. I think a lot of people don't realize just how good their lawyer is (or isn't) and since there are all sorts of draconian rules about advertising (especially comparative advertising) for lawyers, I wonder if there's any way anyone can find out who isn't very familiar with the lawyers in a community.

I do find it amusing that some take issue with low ratings given to sitting judges or Supreme Court Justices. Sure, they are often legal scholars, but being a legal scholar doesn't necessarily you'd be a great lawyer to a given client. And further, since judgeships are all political positions, it should not really be terribly surprising to find out that some otherwise average or below average lawyers find themselves in those positions. Having political connections also won't make you a great lawyer for a given client.

I tried to look myself up on the system, but I'm not in there - I guess they don't cover the state of Michigan - yet. Not that there'd be much information on me anyway.


Enkidu said...

I'm a teacher, and the "rating" sites for teachers tell you more about the person doing the rating than they do about the person being rated.

Do your job as best you can. Online ratings are worthless, and anyone with a brain knows that. Sadly, people with a brain seem to be in the minority.

DBB said...

I really don't take much stock in this system. I mean, it is an interesting problem. And people do go out and try and hire a lawyer when they have a problem - teachers aren't quite employed in that manner. You don't need to grab the yellow pages to try to find one after a moment's notice of some bad event in your life.

But I wonder just what can be done to make more transparency about a lawyer's skills beyond just word of mouth referrals. I'm a lawyer myself and I really couldn't tell you who are the good or bad lawyers in my community (well, beyond some truly good or horrible briefs I've seen, but even then, I really don't know who actually wrote the briefs, just who signed them).

armagh444 said...

The problem, as I see it, is less that there isn't a system in place for ranking lawyers, but that accessing that system isn't something that someone who isn't a member of the profession is likely to know how to do. When I need an attorney, the first thing I do is talk to local practitioners whom I trust to see if they have any suggestions, and then I go on Martindale, dig up a list of local AV-rated folks in the relevant area of the law, and then cross-reference the two lists to the extent possible. Finally, I talk to members of the cross-referenced group to see if there's anyone I "click" with. It's a pretty effective and reliable way to find a good attorney. The problem is that most laymen aren't going to know any local practitioners and likely won't know Martindale exists or have a clue what an AV-rating means.