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Martindale: AV Ratings Alive and Well

Mark Twain is credited with the quote, "The reports of my death are greatly exaggerated," although historians quibble over whether that is precisely what he said. Whether or not that is what Twain said, there is no disputing this note I received last week from John Michaels, senior communications manager at LexisNexis: "To paraphrase Mark Twain, reports of the demise of Martindale-Hubbell Peer Review Ratings are greatly exaggerated. Actually, they're flat out wrong."

Michaels' note followed a post here that asked, "Is Martindale Dropping Its AV Ratings?" That had been the buzz after Heather Milligan, director of marketing at Barger & Wolen, wrote on her blog, The Legal Watercooler, about an e-mail she received from a peer whose position as a rating specialist at Martindale-Hubbell was being eliminated. The e-mail, Milligan speculated, foretold the approaching demise of AV ratings. Various blog and Twitter posts echoed her conclusion.

Within hours of my post, I received the e-mail from Michaels, who forwarded a company statement that was also sent to the National Law Journal. The statement acknowledged elimination of the ratings specialists' positions, but said that the company remains "fully committed" to maintaining its AV ratings system:"

Martindale-Hubbell has initiated a broad and ongoing transformation of its offerings in response to client demand for more diverse, more interactive and more complete information and capabilities. Examples include the Martindale-Hubbell Connected online network for lawyers, LinkedIn integration, online video, patent activity data and more.

Another element of our transformation includes changes to our Martindale-Hubbell ratings offering which began with the launch of Client Reviews in September, the addition of Chambers rankings announced this fall, and enhanced Peer Review Ratings coming in 2009.

The statement did little to assuage one of Martindale's more vocal critics, Kevin O'Keefe, author of the blog Real Lawyers Have Blogs and CEO of LexBlog Inc. (and a former VP at Martindale). He criticized the statement as providing further evidence to support his belief that Martindale doesn't get social media. "What we've seen here is a total failure of a company that wants the legal profession to believe Martindale is a leader in client development for law firms," O'Keefe said.

Posted by Robert J. Ambrogi on December 29, 2008 at 12:31 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

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