Tuesday, September 20, 2011

What Is An "AV" Rated Lawyer Anyway?

An "AV" rating identifies a lawyer and firm with very high to preeminent legal ability and is the highest reflection of expertise, experience, integrity and overall professional excellence. Martindale-Hubbell ratings are established by attorneys for attorneys and an “AV” rating indicates a demonstration of the highest professional and ethical standards.

Most people, even many attorneys, likely don’t know what an “AV” rating means or where it comes from. For over 130 years, Martindale-Hubbell has been the most respected source of authoritative and dependable information about members of the legal community in the Unites States, Canada and throughout the world.

Generations of lawyers have relied on Martindale-Hubbell as the authoritative resource for information on the worldwide legal profession. Martindale-Hubbell has a history spanning more than 133 years. The Martindale-Hubbell Legal Network is currently powered by a database of over one million lawyers and law firms in 160 countries. Before technological advances, such as computers, Martindale was the number one directory for attorneys all over the world. But it was more than just a directory. It rated attorneys based on their ethical reputation, knowledge, experience, and it also categorized attorneys by specialty.

An integral part of Martindale-Hubbell's service to the legal community is the Lawyer Rating system, which evaluates lawyers and law firms in the U.S. and Canada based upon peer review.

Martindale-Hubbell's Ratings are considered invaluable when evaluating a lawyer. When making referrals or looking for counsel in another jurisdiction, lawyers need to have confidence in the individual under consideration. By reviewing the Ratings, they can select counsel with superior ethics, as well as the desired level of professional experience.

Ratings attest to a lawyer's legal ability and professional ethics, and reflect the confidential opinions of members of the Bar and Judiciary. The Ratings are part of a century-long tradition and are exclusive to Martindale-Hubbell.

A lawyer or client may evaluate a colleague by considering the Rating, together with other data in the Professional Biography - such as practice areas, bar memberships, professional affiliations, education and clients. The Rating completes the professional profile, providing additional insight into who might be the right choice for that particular legal matter.

Ratings are established by lawyers for lawyers. The legal community respects the accuracy of Ratings because it knows that its own members - the people best suited to assess their peers - are directly involved in the process. The Martindale-Hubbell Ratings system is based on the confidential opinions of members of the Bar and the Judiciary, including both those who are rated and those who are not.
Martindale-Hubbell representatives conduct personal interviews to discuss lawyers under review with other members of the Bar. A compilation of these opinions from various sources is necessary to form a consensus, and lawyers under review are sometimes asked to provide professional references to assist with the process.

In addition, confidential questionnaires are sent to lawyers and judges in the same geographic location and/or area of practice as the lawyer being rated. Members of the Bar are instructed to assess their colleague's legal ability and general ethical standards.

There are two components to each Martindale-Hubbell Peer Review Rating:

Legal Ability Ratings - Legal Ability Ratings take into consideration the standard of professional ability in the area where the lawyer practices, the lawyer's expertise, and other professional qualifications. If a lawyer's practice is limited or specialized, Ratings are based on performance in those specific fields of law.

Legal Ability Ratings are:
C - Good to High
B - High to Very High
A - Very High to Preeminent

General Ethical Standards Rating- The General Ethical Standards Rating denotes adherence to professional standards of conduct and ethics, reliability, diligence and other criteria relevant to the discharge of professional responsibilities.

The General Recommendation Rating is:
V - Very High

A lawyer will not receive a Legal Ability Rating unless he or she has been endorsed for a "V." When both categories of Ratings are confirmed, a lawyer receives a CV, BV or AV Rating. However, many attorneys do not even reach the level of “CV”, due to Martindale’s stringent review process.

An “AV” Rating shows that a lawyer has reached the height of professional excellence. He or she has usually practiced law for many years, and is recognized for the highest levels of skill and integrity. So when you’re looking for an attorney, you obviously want someone other attorneys look up to as being the best or “AV” rated.

Attorney Bryan VanMeveren is honored to possess the distinguished “AV” rating. For over 17 years, Mr. VanMeveren has upheld the virtues of honesty, compassion and excellence in relation to the work he has done for countless clients. As an “AV” rated attorney, you can count on Mr. VanMeveren to continue displaying the same esteemed qualities to each client's case, no matter the size or complexity.

Call VanMeveren Law Group for a free consultation at 1-866-649-6775 or visit our website at www.vanmeverenlaw.com.

Information above excerpted from the Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory website.
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