An explanation of the Martindale-Hubbell Peer Review Ratings
A Martindale-Hubbell Peer Review Rating reflects a combination of achieving a Very High General Ethical Standards rating and a Legal Ability numerical rating.
General Ethical Standards Rating
The General Ethical Standards rating denotes adherence to professional standards of conduct and ethics, reliability, diligence and other criteria relevant to the discharge of professional responsibilities.
Those lawyers who meet the "Very High" criteria of General Ethical Standards can proceed to the next step in the ratings process.
Legal Ability Ratings
For lawyers rated with the changed methodology, Legal Ability ratings will now indicate professional ability within a specific area of practice. Legal Ability ratings are based on performance in five key areas, rated on a scale of 1 to 5 (with 1 being the lowest and 5 being the highest). These areas are:
Legal Knowledge - Lawyer's familiarity with the laws governing his/her specific area of practice(s)
Analytical Capabilities - Lawyer's creativity in analyzing legal issues and applying technical knowledge
Judgment - Lawyer's demonstration of the salient factors that drive the outcome of a given case or issue.
Communication Ability - Lawyer's capability to communicate persuasively and credibly
Legal Experience - Lawyer's degree of experience in his/her specific area of practice(s)
The changed Peer Review Ratings allow reviewers to provide optional Additional Feedback on the lawyer under review. Additional Feedback is displayed anonymously in conjunction with the review results to the lawyer under review. LexisNexis Martindale-Hubbell reserves the right not to display any feedback.
Peer Review Ratings are anonymous and reviewers' identities are not published, but in an effort to provide more details to the users of Peer Review Ratings, LexisNexis Martindale-Hubbell will aggregate reviewers' basic demographics, including general position and general geographic location, which may be published with the ratings display on martindale.com® and Lawyers.comsm. Examples of basic demographics are "private practice lawyer, senior partner, New York, USA."
The Martindale-Hubbell Peer Review Rating
After a lawyer's General Ethical Standards and Legal Ability Ratings are confirmed, his/her ratings are aggregated to create an overall numeric rating for each rated Area of Practice. The numeric rating determines the Peer Review Rating, which includes a rating term and may include a Certification Mark:
AV® Preeminent™ (4.5 - 5.0) - 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.
BV® Distinguished™ (3.0 - 4.4) - The BV® certification mark is an excellent rating for a lawyer with some experience. A widely respected mark of achievement, it differentiates a lawyer from his or her competition.
Rated (1.0 - 2.9) - The Peer Review Rated designation demonstrates that the lawyer has met the very high criteria of General Ethical Standing.
For lawyers rated in the existing program, the display will appear differently than those reviewed in the changed methodology. Because the lawyers converted to the new display have yet to be re-reviewed in the changed system, there will not be the depth of detail available on their Legal Ability Rating, Area of Practice specificity, Additional Feedback or Reviewer's Demographic data.
The Reviewers and Anonymity
The reviewers are members of the Bar and Judiciary (lawyers and judges) across multiple jurisdictions and geographic locations and are listed on martindale.com. They are from similar areas of practice and/or industry as the lawyer being rated, who know or have worked with the lawyer under review and are able to rate them on their professional ethical standards and legal ability. All Martindale-Hubbell Peer Review Ratings review materials are treated as anonymous. LexisNexis Martindale-Hubbell takes steps to protect your anonymity (e.g., not associating reviewer names with their responses and aggregating their responses with responses from other reviewers before sharing or publishing them). But it is possible that their responses may contain sufficient information to allow the rated lawyer to ascertain their identity.
Facilitating the Martindale-Hubbell Peer Review Ratings Process
LexisNexis Martindale-Hubbell facilitates the peer review process by gathering responses, validating them and aggregating results for display online. The content of the responses are entirely from reviewers, the peers of the lawyer. Peer reviewers must affirm that they are a peer of the lawyer identified for review. A peer can submit only one review for a specific lawyer within a 12-month period.
A lawyer's rating will generally improve over time. But LexisNexis Martindale-Hubbell Peer Review ratings can be revised downward, or even removed if a decline is noted in ability or ethical standards. While LexisNexis Martindale-Hubbell makes available the option of regular rating reviews for the lawyers, the most recent results are relied upon when determining the final rating.
It is important to note that because LexisNexis Martindale-Hubbell does not undertake to develop Martindale-Hubbell Peer Review Ratings for all lawyers, the fact that a lawyer is not rated should not be construed unfavorably. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome and LexisNexis Martindale-Hubbell accepts no responsibility for the content or accuracy of any review responses displayed in whole or in part by LexisNexis Martindale-Hubbell. LexisNexis Martindale-Hubbell may use your responses in whole or in part in accordance with the Terms and Conditions, but it is not required to do so. LexisNexis Martindale-Hubbell reserves the right, in its sole, unrestricted discretion, not to publish or otherwise use all or any portion of any responses or submissions it may receive.
No subscription or listing on martindale.com or lawyers.com is ever solicited or accepted on the promise of publication of a particular Peer Review Rating. No preferential consideration is ever given to any lawyer or law firm. There is never any payment made to lawyers and judges who participate in rating reviews. The process is a cooperative service with the Bar and the Judiciary.
It is LexisNexis Martindale-Hubbell policy to conduct regular random periodic reviews of all Martindale-Hubbell Peer Review Ratings to insure their accuracy. Where supporting opinions dictate, appropriate action (such as deleting, raising or lowering a rating) is taken.
Disbarred or suspended lawyers automatically have their LexisNexis Martindale-Hubbell Peer Review Ratings removed as soon as notified by a state Bar. Other types of lawyer disciplinary actions administered by the appropriate Bar or judicial authorities may also be grounds to remove a rating. While Bar admitting authorities supply LexisNexis Martindale-Hubbell with disciplinary information, LexisNexis Martindale-Hubbell also reserves the right to investigate information developed from the Bar or the judiciary regarding rated lawyers that have occurred that may impact the ethical standards of a rated lawyer.