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Firms Opt Out of Martindale-Hubbell

Is the venerable legal directory Martindale-Hubbell becoming an anachronism? Writing for the New York Law Journal, Anthony Lin reports that nine of the firms in the Am Law 100 no longer have Martindale-Hubbell profiles. He observes:

"A major firm without a Martindale-Hubbell profile would have been unthinkable a decade ago, but the company is realizing that, in a world where lawyers can retrieve troves of biographical data about each other for free via Google, the value to a law firm of merely being in Martindale-Hubbell has diminished."

With firms abandoning Martindale-Hubbell in favor of publications that purport to rate lawyers, such as the Chambers guides, Martindale-Hubbell is following suit. In the fall, it will unveil online client reviews and rankings of lawyers and firms. Joe Douress, a senior vice president of Martindale-Hubbell parent LexisNexis, tells Lin the expanded ratings system will be the cornerstone of a two-year-old project aimed at boosting the value of its law firm profiles.

At his Law Marketing Blog, Larry Bodine notes that the question of Martindale-Hubbell's value is particularly pressing because the cost of its profiles is substantial -- around $200 per lawyer per year. Chambers ranks lawyers and firms regardless of whether they purchase a profile, although most do, Bodine says.  But Douress tells reporter Lin that he expects these and other changes will bring back many of the departed firms. The article also questions the value of Martindale-Hubbell's ratings. The highest rating of "AV" "applies to so many lawyers in so many practices and jurisdictions that most large firms see little value in brandishing it," Lin writes.

Posted by Robert J. Ambrogi on May 22, 2007 at 05:59 PM | Permalink | Comments (1)


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