Wednesday, May 20, 2015, 10:19 AM
Posted by Administrator
I have avoided writing about lawyer reviews because I have never looked at mine. Are they from happy clients? Unhappy clients? The party on the other side of the case masquerading as a client...and not happy that I was not-so-nice to them? I spoke to a divorce lawyer the other day about reviews and he said "Clients complain I overcharge."...and, he is one of the few lawyers in town who doesn't. (At least, that is his reputation and I believe it.)

I hired a lawyer in Tallahassee for my kid's speeding ticket (38 in a 35.....really?). He got the ticket dismissed. I thanked him (by email) and he asked me to write a review on AVVO, a lawyer referral site. I did.

AVVO has been trying to take over lawyer advertising for several years. They are the first result when you google most lawyers by name. (Not me...I've had a website and a blog for a long time so my "organic" results are high). They publish "reviews" and "ratings" and show you advertising for other lawyers when you go to their site to look FOR SOMEONE ELSE. For example, if you ask AVVO about lawyer Jane Smith, as you look at her profile, advertising for another lawyer in Smith's field will pop up. Usually, someone with a higher rating than Smith.

A few years back, when AVVO was young, I was looking for someone in North Florida to answer an esoteric legal question I had and I found their phone number on AVVO. This lawyer had a fantastic rating and I complimented him. He laughed and said "I ask everyone I know to give me a good rating."

I'm not saying lawyer ratings are bad. A company called Martindale-Hubbel has been rating lawyers for decades. Their system (unless they have changed it) is to randomly send lawyers the names of other lawyers to rate. Problem was, there are lots of lawyers and, unless someone on the list was someone you'd run into, how could you rate them? I rarely knew a name on their list, so I threw their survey in the garbage.

I may be saying that lawyer ratings are not that helpful. Was the lawyer nice or was she/he effective? I'll pick "effective" but I likely won't trouble myself to write a good review unless he/she is "nice". (And, of course, if you are selling a house or writing a will, any lawyer can get you a good result, so "nice" is paramount, but, if you are going to court, "effective" beats "nice".) Did the lawyer coddle me and do things that I could have done myself.......and then charge me through the nose for doing them?
Was the result a good result.......or did the lawyer just tell me it was good......or not know him/herself whether or not it was good? Was the lawyer more than a shoulder to cry on?

And, I'm not saying I don't chase ratings....but, I don't chase lawyer ratings. In our other business, because it is not a "profession", I encourage people to rate our service. Yesterday, I saw that a competitor (admittedly in business 4X as long as we have been) had 700 excellent ratings to our 59. My wife said "They have more customers than we do, have been in business for 15 years and email people to remind them to review them."

Still, on behalf of the other business, I felt unloved.
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