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How Do You Rate the Idea of Lawyer Ratings Online?

Over at Leadership for Lawyers, Mark Beese ponders the possibility of creating an online ranking system for lawyers that would give consumers the information they need to choose an attorney. Beese elaborates:

What if the Association of Corporate Counsel and/or the American Bar Association were to create a system by which users of legal services (clients) could report on their experiences with lawyers and law firms in an honest and organized fashion, via the Internet.  IF the reporting structure were fair and monitored (which would require some resources and forethought), clients could search for attorneys and firms by criteria that are important to them.  For example:

-  A GC could search for a firm with more than 50 attorneys, in St. Louis, with a 'responsiveness' ranking of higher than 5 stars, or

-  An employer in a particular industry could search for a firm with 'understands my business" and "experience in XYZ industry".

Beese predicts that many lawyers will view his proposal as blasphemous. And Kevin O'Keefe, of LexBlog, who makes a similar proposal in this post, is also cynical:

Lawyers, legal publishers (ala Martindale-Hubbell), national & state bar associations, and state ethics boards get all hung up in the argument that the rating of lawyers is beyond the capability of average folks. We're told that only lawyers and those with an understanding of the legal industry are equipped to rate lawyers. We're told non-lawyers cannot rate lawyers because they do not know how skilled a lawyer is and what a good result may be. This is total bunk.

Like Beese and O'Keefe, I don't take issue with laypeople ranking lawyers. I'd just worry that a ranking system would disproportionately generate comments from malcontents seeking to vent about a poor result, while clients generally satisfied with their attorneys would have less motivation to weigh in. What's your opinion?

Posted by Carolyn Elefant on August 29, 2006 at 03:44 PM | Permalink | Comments (4)

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