WHAT IS AN “AV-RATED” LAW FIRM ANYWAY?
The reason I applied for this job is the same reason a prospective client should consider hiring our law firm. That reason is the “AV” rating earned in the Martindale Hubbell legal directory.
I was practicing law on my own and doing fine, but something was lacking. I was used to working with other people. Although I enjoyed the autonomy of my own practice it was actually kind of lonely at times. I think I missed having other attorneys to discuss my work with.
While reading the LA Daily Journal one day I noticed an advertisement from “An AV rated law firm” looking for an associate to handle Criminal law matters right here in Ventura. That part about being “AV rated” really caught my attention. I wasn’t looking for a job, but the idea of working in the collegial atmosphere of a top rated law firm was appealing. How did I know it was a top rated law firm? – because I know about Martindale Hubbell and they provide the oldest directory of attorneys in the country, and they rate attorneys based on information provided by other attorneys. These days they also provide a referral resource for experts in many areas, not just the law.
I suppose most people, even many attorneys, don’t really know or appreciate exactly what that “AV” rating means or where it comes from. But for many years before the modern age of technological advances such as computers, Martindale Hubbell was the number one directory of attorneys – not just here in America, but other countries as well. And it is/was not just a directory, but they rated attorneys based on their ethical reputation, experience, and also categorized attorneys by specialty. It also provided a medium for advertising in a very discreet fashion at a time when advertising by attorneys was still “frowned upon”.
Back in the old days – I’m talking about three hundred or so years ago, someone in the budding legal profession decided that in addition to recording what the courts do, somebody should keep track of who the lawyers are too. Keep in mind that back then there were no computers, and reproduction of even a modest directory was something special.
Of course as the legal profession grew, printing technology evolved, and big printing companies grew to fill the need for law books and the other assorted references that go along with the profession, Martindale Hubbell and West Publishing became giants. Martindale Hubbell gained a reputation unequalled for providing a list of attorneys categorized by geographical area and specialty. Along the way, they developed a system of rating the attorneys by experience and reputation by soliciting information from fellow lawyers in the same community. THE HIGEST RATING AN ATTORNEY OR LAW FIRM CAN GET IS “AV”. So of course when you are looking for an attorney or a law firm you want someone who the other attorneys look up to as being the best.
Nowadays, books seem to be obsolete and you can find just about everything you are looking for on the internet. Martindale Hubbell has kept up with the times. You can go to their website instead of trudging down to the Law Library. The books themselves are the largest books at the library – you have probably seen them on television or in the movies. Whenever they stock a law office set, they seem to use old Martindale Hubbell books – I suppose because they are large and impressive looking. At any rate, you can check them out at WWW.MARTINDALE.COM.