Join 3,433 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


They're not surprised, are they?
June 18, 2007 8:13 AM   Subscribe

Lawyer rating site Avvo is getting sued by - well, lawyers. Hopefully nobody at Avvo is surprised by this! The lawsuit alleges that Avvo's rating system is unfair and results in bad ratings for some lawyers.
posted by etoile (23 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

 
I can't wrap my head around whether the lawyers suing the site deserve bad ratings, or good ratings.
posted by rolypolyman at 8:25 AM on June 18, 2007


That rating system is shite.

Joe Jamail has a rating of 6.5/10.

Joe Jamail is the King of Torts. The most successful individual attorney in the country. Any rating system that has him at a 6.5 is absurd. What the hell is the thing based on?
posted by dios at 8:33 AM on June 18, 2007


...results in bad ratings for some lawyers.

Isn't that the point?
posted by DU at 8:34 AM on June 18, 2007


Joe Jamail is the King of Torts. The most successful individual attorney in the country. Any rating system that has him at a 6.5 is absurd.

To be fair, there are allegations from the Maid of Torts that he snipped off her nose.
posted by DU at 8:35 AM on June 18, 2007 [5 favorites]


The problem is that most lawyers have not claimed their profile, and so any rating for those lawyers is based on a tiny amount of information. It should simply not give a rating until a certain amount of information is added.
posted by monju_bosatsu at 8:40 AM on June 18, 2007


monju_bosatsu and I are both listed. We're going to see how much impact cross references have on ratings. Given that the initial rating seems to be based on some formula consisting of [years of practice + absence of disciplinary actions + some sort of factoring of what law school you went to] the amount of information is sparse enough that the recommendations ought to impact it.
posted by dios at 8:48 AM on June 18, 2007


This post gives almost no information about the lawsuit, which is based on Washington state's consumer protection act. Here's the WSJ law blog on the case, with a link to the complaint, and the Seattle Post-Intelligencer had more on Friday:

Bellevue attorney Enrico Salvatore Leo was able to boost his score on Avvo by updating his profile with softball awards, with the score later dropping after he removed the achievements from his profile. And it says attorneys now serving prison terms score higher on Avvo than some Supreme Court justices, and several attorneys connected to Avvo have higher rankings than law school deans.

I don't like the idea of suing consumer ratings sites, but Avvo does seem to be doing an awful lot of stupid things:

The suit also claims that Avvo holds attorneys hostage by forcing them to hand over credit card information to update their profiles.

Britton said that the credit card information is a security measure in order to guard against "hacker bots" and other people claiming profiles that are not theirs.

"There is nothing nefarious that we do with the information," he said. Still, Britton said the company is working on a new system to verify attorneys in ways that do not use credit card information.


I mean, that's really really dumb - forcing lawyers to give up their credit card information.

The lawsuit also claims that Avvo uses a secretive method to come up with its rankings.

Asked about adding more transparency, Britton said that they would consider doing that, but they are most concerned about people "gaming the system." Disclosing the method by which it comes up with the rating could lead to people manipulating the score, he said.


Really? More transparency is bad for consumers?
posted by mediareport at 8:51 AM on June 18, 2007


Ouroboros laughs...
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:24 AM on June 18, 2007


monju_bosatsu and I are both now rated as better attorneys than Joe Jamail, David Boies, and Laurence Tribe.
posted by dios at 9:28 AM on June 18, 2007


I always check lawyer ratings on epinions, then pick one based on the size of the font in their Yellow Pages ad. Size of mustache (if applicable) also plays a large factor.
posted by krinklyfig at 9:40 AM on June 18, 2007


monju_bosatsu and I are both now rated as better attorneys than Joe Jamail, David Boies, and Laurence Tribe.

Well are you? What makes a lawyer a good lawyer anyway? Should that rating be based on the opinions of other lawyers? On client satisfaction? On success rates? Ethics?
posted by Pollomacho at 9:42 AM on June 18, 2007


Well are you? What makes a lawyer a good lawyer anyway? Should that rating be based on the opinions of other lawyers? On client satisfaction? On success rates? Ethics?
posted by Pollomacho at 11:42 AM on June 18


This thing does not (or cannot) judge based on success rates. I put in the awards I had won and that jumped me up in the high 7's. Of course, if say, Joe Jamail put in the awards he has won, I'm sure he would jump well over me. It also starts adding to the score when you put in that you graduated from college (which most lawyers do). Publications and presentations made the score jump, too.

What's bad about this is that there is no verification done. I could put "Greatest Legal Mind of his Generation" as an award won from "My Mom" and it would add to my score without validation.
posted by dios at 9:50 AM on June 18, 2007


For the record, my mom thinks pretty highly of my legal skills.

So what would make a lawyer rating system more functional? Oversite?
posted by Pollomacho at 9:53 AM on June 18, 2007


I know Martindale Hubbell does it by asking other lawyers. Of course, that system conveniently doesn't have bad ratings. There's no way to distinguish someone who wasn't reviewed highly from someone who just never got the questionnaire sent out at all.
posted by Karmakaze at 9:57 AM on June 18, 2007


mediareport writes "Really? More transparency is bad for consumers?"

In this particular case, yes. Not that the current system is best, of course. The best system would be one designed so that all the details could be publicised, and yet the integrity of the scores ensured. But, lacking that, if you're comparing "obscure system based on security-through-obscurity" vs. "transparent system based on security-through-obscurity", the one without transparency wins.
posted by Bugbread at 10:04 AM on June 18, 2007


When I, as a consumer, want to know who is the lawyer that is going to get me the most money for my settlement with McDonalds for making me fat, where do I turn? Other lawyers are going to tell me that the best guy for the job is a scumbag, no?
posted by Pollomacho at 10:15 AM on June 18, 2007


I know Martindale Hubbell does it by asking other lawyers.

I obtained an injury lawyer through researching this site and am happy, so far. Some information is perhaps better than none at all. I don't know that Avvo should be sued, but an open, honest look at its rating system seems perfectly reasonable.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:31 AM on June 18, 2007


monju_bosatsu and I are both now rated as better attorneys than Joe Jamail, David Boies, and Laurence Tribe.

Well are you? What makes a lawyer a good lawyer anyway?


*cough*prowess at gaming a system*cough*
posted by juv3nal at 12:55 PM on June 18, 2007


Pity the lawyers.
posted by bardic at 2:56 PM on June 18, 2007


This rating system seems, to me, very suspect and shoddy. All of the (decent, smart, ethical) attorneys I entered into this utility (inc. myself) earned a rating of "average"--Seemingly as a system default, and apparently based on what is NOT known about the attorney. How can this be helpful to consumers?
posted by applemeat at 4:55 PM on June 18, 2007


p.s. Although I’m generally impressed (and too often sharply humbled!) by the level of intelligence and creativity exhibited by Metafilter folks; the knee-jerk lawyer-bashing on this thread sadly reminds me that even Metafilter is no respite from cliché and ignorance. Sigh.
posted by applemeat at 5:08 PM on June 18, 2007


This guy gets a 6.5. Three times. I'm not sure what to think about that.
posted by dirigibleman at 6:44 PM on June 18, 2007


But applemeat, lawyer-bashing is fun, and it doesn't harm anyone, not even the lawyers. It's just a tradition, one supported by every cry for tort 'reform'. Of course, some stupid people take it all far too seriously.

This rating system sounds poor. But it also sounds like an attempt to do something reasonable. How is any layman supposed to choose a lawyer, past what they can afford? For most people, I think when they need a lawyer, the matters in focus are of extreme importance. Feeling clueless in making such a choice is stressful, to say the least.
posted by Goofyy at 7:54 AM on June 19, 2007


« Older The Iranian Flickr group celebrates the 1 year ann...  |  The face of Jesus in historic ... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments