What Does Being an "AV" Rated Law Firm Mean?

Posted on behalf of Henness & Haight on Nov 04, 2014 in Personal Injury News

An AV rating means that a law firm has the best possible reputation and rating as assessed by its peers. Peers include other practicing attorneys as judges. Those ratings are done confidentially so the rated firm does not see what was said about it by the rating judge or attorney. Who Gives Out AV Ratings? These ratings come from an organization called Martindale-Hubbell. Martindale-Hubbell published one of the very first law directories available in the United States in 1868.

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This service was incredibly useful because it was provided in a time where local directories were either uncommon or unreliable. In their effort to produce more detailed and accurate information, Martindale-Hubbell began asking law firms if they would mind being rated by their peers. By doing this, clients would have better knowledge of their lawyer's standing within the community and the law office would be able to represent their good reputation as a form of customer assurance. How Do the Ratings Work? Lawyers must first be listed on Martindale-Hubbell's directory in order to be rated. If they have been established with their local bar for three or more years, they can request to be evaluated for a rating. When this occurs, an anonymous survey is sent out to the lawyer's peers, who must be in a similar field of law practice. The surveys ask first about the lawyer's ethical standards and about the lawyer's various legal abilities.

A lawyer must be designated as having "Very High" ethical standards before they can be rated on their abilities. Thus, having any sort of ability rating is already a compliment to that lawyer's practice methods and reputation. What Are the "Ability" Ratings? The ability ratings rank the lawyer on a scale from one to five in five categories: Legal Knowledge Analytical Capabilities Judgment Communication Ability Legal Experience Each of these criterion involve a host of subjective methods for evaluating them, but they all essentially seek to differentiate between different skill sets used while practicing law. Once the ratings have been compiled, the lawyer will then receive an overall numerical rating.

The rating categories are given a "V" to designate the fact that the lawyer achieved a Very High ethical standard endorsement. The "V" is preceded by a letter grade to indicate how high their overall ability rating was. Rated (1.0-2.9) - This category is sometimes referred to as "CV," although that naming convention is uncommon. "Rated" means the lawyer achieved the Very High ethical standards approval, and that they have some noteworthy abilities. Usually, this category is granted to lawyers and practice firms that have not been operating for very long. BV Distinguished (3.0-4.4) - This category means that the lawyer was well above average in every category. It is a great achievement for a lawyer that has some experience. AV Preeminent (4.5-5.0) - This category means that the lawyer possesses the highest abilities in nearly every category. Having an AV Preeminent rating is one of the highest honors a law practice can earn.

This designation distinguishes a lawyer or law firm from their competition, and it is intently sought after by law offices nationwide. Henness & Haight is a proud holder of the AV Preeminent category, and we want all of our clients to understand that we have done everything in our power to maintain our solid reputation with all of the other lawyers, law firms, and judges of Clark County, Nevada.