What is an AV Martindale-Hubbell Rating? Why You Should Care?

Martindale-Hubbell collects data and profiles of lawyers and law firms across the United States and Canada. The Martindale-Hubbell peer review rating process has been in place for over one hundred years and is a reputable source for attorney reviews. The ratings reflect a lawyer’s legal ability and ethical standards.

What is Peer Review?

Peer review is a process in which lawyers are reviewed by other lawyers and judges who have worked with that attorney. These professionals are knowledgeable about the lawyer’s overall quality of work and ethical reputation. Peer reviews represent a more complete and unbiased review of an attorney’s work than consumer reviews, which may be biased based on case outcomes or present an incomplete analysis of the attorney’s work.

How Does the Peer Review Process Work?

Attorneys are eligible for a peer review rating after they have practiced law for three years. Martindale-Hubbell usually initiates the process, but attorneys can request review and nominate peer references. A wide sample of reviewers is consulted, and reviews from within the attorney’s own organization are not allowed. References are anonymous and are given by other attorneys or judges who have worked with the attorney being reviewed.

How are Attorneys Rated?

According to Martindale-Hubbell, the ratings system is first a reflection of an attorney’s ethical standards. For a rating to be given, attorneys must be found to have high ethical standards. However, the lack of a rating does not indicate an attorney is unethical. Some attorneys have not been rated or have chosen not to participate in the rating process. The second aspect of the rating is to measure an attorney’s legal ability in 5 areas:

  • Legal Knowledge
  • Analytical Capabilities
  • Judgment
  • Communication
  • Experience

What is an AV Rating?

The AV rating is the highest rating granted to attorneys under the Martindale-Hubbell system. This rating indicates that the attorney’s peers rank him to be practicing law at the highest levels of excellence. Attorneys granted AV ratings have usually practiced law for many years and possess legal expertise in their field. The CV and BV ratings are usually granted to attorneys earlier in their careers.

Why Should You Care About an Attorney’s Rating?

The Martindale-Hubbell system is an easy way to determine the quality of representation you can expect from any attorney you may hire. An AV rating indicates that lawyer has high ethical standards, exceptional legal ability, and significant experience. The rating eliminates the need for legal consumers to conduct extensive research before hiring an attorney. Hiring an attorney can be a complicated and nerve-racking experience. Choosing an AV rated attorney may eliminate some anxieties and provide reassurance of your attorney’s ability.

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