Myths of the Martindale Peer Review
Fatigued, he completes his climb of the narrow, spiraling staircase. The tower’s 14th century design was intended to mirror London’s Lincoln Cathedral, once considered the largest building in the world. Now that he’s reached the top, the only thing that stands between this attorney of 20-plus years and judicial preeminence is a massive wooden door. He knocks.
“Enter” the voice orders.
The door groans at the hinges and opens. Before him is a grand fireplace, fully ablaze and crackling. To the right is Lady Justice, the light of the fire flickering in her stony eyes. To the left stand the Martindale Tribunal of Preeminent Justices garbed in their purple-and-black cloaks. They are nine rapidly aging, stoic, and out-of-touch former judges with a universally cold look in their eyes. Two of them haven’t cracked a smile since Nixon resigned. They call the attorney forward.
He has brought with him a flawless résumé. On a separate page he lists the names and phone numbers of two decades’ worth of courtroom combatants. He’s added a few attorneys who’ve benefited from his expertise and a handful of drinking buddies from law school. In his wallet, a brand new AmEx Platinum card and, just in case, a checkbook in his breast pocket.
He is ready to take part in the Martindale Hubbell Ratings process...
...only, it’s not like that.
In fact, it’s nothing like that. But with my hand on the good book and the other one raised, I’m tempted to vow there are those who think THAT is the first step of our process.
But it just isn’t.
Now I grant you, we have been around for over a century, so it’s fair to assume some myths and misconceptions will carry on through the years. How attorneys are rated is the most often mistaken.
So we thought we’d list a few and clear them up for you.
Myth: Your rating is determined by a panel of attorneys employed by Martindale-Hubbell. They review your history, credentials, wins, losses and contributions to your community.
Reality: No. It is your peers who rate you. We facilitate the process. Remember, it is a Peer Review Rating. We ask them if they find you to be ethical. We ask them to rate you from a 1 (low) to 5 (high) in five categories: Legal Knowledge, Analytical Capabilities, Judgment, Communication Ability and Legal Experience. We also offer them an opportunity to provide written feedback. Their results, provided we have received enough to meet the threshold we require, produce the rating.
Myth: You can only get rated AV if you are a subscriber.
Reality: No. No. and NO! Money has never had anything to do with the ratings process. Period. To be eligible to be rated, you need to have a listing on our site (complimentary is fine), been practicing at least three years, be in good standing with the Bar and have a valid email address.
Myth: It’s an old boy’s network.
Reality: Wait...Do they still have those? Sure. Most of us have tinkered with the idea of joining the Illuminati, or The Loyal Order of Moose. Heck, I’d bet some folks have considered The Mystic Order of Veiled Prophets of the Enchanted Realm. I mean, gee whiz, who hasn't? But with Martindale, I can assure you, there is no network, no society, no secret handshakes or specially embroidered membership cardigans and slippers.
Myth: The Peer Review Ratings system isn’t relevant. It’s a thing of the past.
Reality: This has never been more false. A great argument can be made that it is more important now than it’s ever been! Our market research has shown us when evaluating a business that 84% of consumers focus on reviews from the last six months. Greater than 90% of consumers seek someone with a 4.0 or higher rating (out of 5). People are relying more and more on reviews in every industry imaginable. It is more important than ever to be current.
Myth: Martindale is the sole determinant in deciding who will be rated and when.
Reality: Not the case. There are two ways to be rated: a geographically targeted review prompted by us at Martindale or one initiated by the attorney themselves. The former is prompted by us to attorneys in your geographical area and similar areas of practice. The latter is a list of 18 or more attorneys you provide who can speak to your work plus a handful of additional attorneys we randomly add to it (again, in your practice and geographical areas).
So,these are a few of the more common misunderstandings of our ratings process. If you are interested in being rated and wondering about the next steps, here's what I suggest:
- Make sure you have an updated profile on martindale.com.
- Email us at [email protected] or call Customer Support at 800-526-4902 and let us know you are interested in initiating your own peer review.
- Click here to read a blog written by my colleague JoAnna that tells you all you need to know about getting a peer review.
Remember: You need not climb any towers. You don’t need to write a check. There’s no panel to stand before. You just need to be really good at what you do, and well respected among your peers.