Who, What, How & Why

You can view the official Martindale-Hubbell website for complete Peer Review FAQ/information, but here is an initial overview/excerpt:

Martindale-Hubbell® Peer Review Ratings™, the gold standard in attorney ratings, have recognized lawyers for their strong legal ability and high ethical standards for more than a century. Attorneys looking to refer a client, as well as individuals researching lawyers for their own legal needs, use these ratings to identify, evaluate and select the most appropriate lawyer for their legal issue.

Martindale-Hubbell Client Review Ratings provide the perspective of the client: Who better to describe the services and counsel that lawyers or law firms offer than those who previously retained them?

Taken together, peer review ratings and client review ratings deliver a comprehensive view of a lawyer’s legal abilities and service and benefit the entire legal community.

Martindale-Hubbell Peer Review Ratings surveys of lawyers across multiple jurisdictions and geographic locations, in similar areas of practice as the lawyer being rated. Reviewers are asked to assess their colleagues’ general ethical standards and legal ability in a specific area of practice. The ratings appear in all formats of the Martindale-Hubbell® Law Directory, in the online listings on martindale.com®, Lawyers.comSM, and various other law-related outlets.

The Martindale-Hubbell® Peer Review Ratings™ help buyers of legal services identify, evaluate and select the most appropriate lawyer for a specific task at hand. Lawyer ratings serve as an objective indicator that a lawyer has the highest ethical standards and professional ability and are used by buyers of legal services to justify their hiring decisions. Combined with the Martindale-Hubbell® Client Review Ratings, self-reported professional credentials and other fact-based performance data, the Peer Review Ratings contribute to the comprehensive view of a lawyer.

The ratings for each lawyer are displayed on Lawyers.com and on Martindale.com. Plus, many RFPs from large corporate clients specifically request that we list each attorney’s Martindale-Hubbell rating in our response. Martindale-Hubbell Peer Review Ratings are the result of a peer review system, created by lawyers for lawyers, and can be published in various materials. Permitted uses by lawyers and law firms include professional ads and communications, including resumes, law firm brochures, websites, and public relations announcements when a rating has been established.

Process to Obtain a Peer Review Rating

The process is free but does take a bit of thinking, planning, and investment of time. Still, the process is relatively easy and you just need to follow these steps:

1. Send an e-mail to ratings@martindale.com with something along these lines:
I am a partner in Culhane Meadows PLLC’s ______ office and I have been practicing law for ____ years. I am admitted to practice in ________. My primary area(s) of practice is(are) ________________. I request that a Peer Review be initiated on my behalf. My work mailing address is [INSERT LOCAL REGUS ADDRESS], though I prefer that all non-work correspondence be delivered to my home address at ___________________________. Please let me know what information is needed from me to begin the Peer Review process.
2. You should soon receive an email confirmation from Martindale-Hubbell with a detailed explanation of the Peer Review process, similar to this:

Dear ____________,

Thank you for your interest in Martindale-Hubbell® Peer Review Ratings. The Martindale-Hubbell Peer Review Ratings evaluates lawyers in the United States and Canada based on the anonymous opinions of members of the Bar and the Judiciary, including those who are rated and those who are not. The first review to establish a lawyer’s rating usually occurs three years after his/her first admission to the Bar.  Tenure has been removed from the methodology.

We will be pleased to initiate a Peer Review on your behalf. As a lawyer under review, please provide us with a minimum of 18 peer references. Though not required, ideally references should consist of 14 lawyers and 4 judges (exception is New Jersey, Connecticut, Georgia and South Carolina, where judges cannot participate) that have personal knowledge of your general ethics and legal ability in a specific area of practice.  We recommend up to 25 to 30 lawyers’ names as this can make for a more productive review.

A link will be forwarded to you within 48 hours for you to start submitting references (please check your SPAM folder too). When using the link, we recommend you DO NOT  include the city and state of the reference in your search, unless the name is very common, i.e., Smith, Jones, etc.

• References must be from outside the lawyer’s organization or firm • References must be listed on martindale.com® . If they are not, please ask your references to email their name, address, email, year/state of admission, education and areas of practice to listings@martindale.com.  We will set up a complimentary listing for them.
• Your list must not consist of more than two lawyers from any one organization.
• References do not have to be rated.

These references will be incorporated into the process along with other reviewers that are randomly selected by Martindale-Hubbell.   The process encompasses a 6 to 8 week time frame.  At the conclusion of the review, you will be notified of the results, which may increase or decrease an existing rating. Please notify your peers of a forthcoming review because sometimes our emails land in their spam or junk folders. Below is a sample email you can use:

Dear _______: I hope this email finds you well. Martindale-Hubbell will be initiating a Peer Review on my behalf. You will be receiving a Peer Review Rating survey invitation by direct mail or email from Martindale-Hubbell. The subject line of the email will read “Martindale-Hubbell Peer Review Ratings – Invitation to Participate”. I would appreciate it if you could watch for this communication and take the time to complete the form on my behalf.  It should take less than five minutes.

Additionally, Martindale-Hubbell has Client Reviews.  You may direct your clients to your profile pages on www.lawyers.com to submit reviews. Please do not hesitate to contact the Martindale-Hubbell Peer Review Ratings Support Team at _____________, should you have any questions regarding the ratings process.

3. After you receive the custom link from Martindale-Hubbell, you will be taken to a form where you must submit a minimum number of peer references (maybe 18-20, but it varies). However, because it can negatively impact your rating if they do not receive enough responses, it is strongly suggested that you provide 30 peer references to be on the safe side. Next, you should personally call or email each peer reference to inform them that you have listed them as a reference. Here is another example of such correspondence:
Dear __________,
Pardon the intrusion (both now and later). I was asked to provide Martindale/LexisNexis with the names of twenty colleagues who I thought would fill out a survey and review me for an possible AV rating. Given our [friendship/prior working relationship/experience working against each other/etc.], I took the liberty to offer them your name and contact information.  Please feel free to provide my name as your reference if ever in need. In a few days, you should receive an email (or perhaps a letter in the mail) regarding this peer review.  Because it will be distributed to multiple recipients, and from a company that does a lot of advertising, I have been told that the email may get caught up in your SPAM folder.  For my sake, please respond to the survey because they require a minimum number of responses, and a failure to respond is counted negatively.  You can start by responding to this email, so that I can know that I have submitted your accurate email addresses. I hope you are doing well in your practice and I look forward to catching up with you soon.  Thank you, in advance, for your consideration.

If you are curious what your references will be asked to provide, HERE is a recent example of the survey that was sent out in late 2013.

4. After you submit the list of peer references…you wait. Depending on how quickly the surveys are processed and responded to by your references, you should hear back from Martindale-Hubbell with your results in 6-8 weeks.