Why AVVO Will Hurt Lawyers

Everyone who reads this blog knows I’m no fan of AVVO for many reasons. But just this week Eric Turkewitz, in a very well considered blog post, again notes the AVVO rating system is just flat out a danger to the public it purports to serve because AVVO listed a rating of ‘no concern’ over a lawyer convicted of a sex offense.  You should definitely read the post.

AVVO rates lawyers such as this lawyer. as ‘no concern’.  If we shouldn’t be concerned about him who should we be concerned about? As of this writing here is the AVVO rating listing ‘no concern’ and no misconduct for Michael Rumore.

I had suggested on Twitter that maybe they should have newscheckers to keep ratings relevant and current and if there is a pending action against an attorney the status be changed to ‘pending review.’  But that would require too much work.

So why do I say AVVO will hurt lawyers.  Well, if lawyers like this are rated as ‘no concern’ when clearly they are of concern, how can we trust anything we read about any of the lawyers rated even if the lawyers are stellar? After all, they are relying upon each lawyer to update their profiles in order to keep their score fresh (as you lose rating points if you don’t continuously update).  Is it realistic an attorney is going to report their own misconduct or pending suspension or that they are now serving time in jail?

And by extension, if lawyers are putting their professional ‘seal of approval’ by claiming their profile on AVVO they are endorsing a faulty product.

If I was a lay person and the product was flawed, I would question those who endorse it and question why they are doing so?

Just because something is ‘free’ doesn’t mean there isn’t an associated cost even if not immediately apparent.  We are not movie stars where the statement ‘any publicity is good publicity’ works.

In a recent Twitter exchange between myself and a young lawyer, the young lawyer rightly said, ‘I don’t care about AVVO and I’m certainly not going to claim my profile.’  Well, AVVO didn’t like the ‘not nice’ things this young lawyer said. Supposedly someone from AVVO (I’m led to believe this person was high up) called this young lawyer and left a voice mail expressing interest this young lawyer ‘didn’t say something nice about AVVO on Twitter.’  Strikes me a little odd. And you?

If I was a practicing lawyer today, I would not claim my profile with AVVO.  There are many ways to get your reputation out there whether you want it out there or not.  The internet has no loyalty. The internet has no filter.  If you are good the world will know you are good.  If you are not, they’ll know that, too.  Don’t rely upon mysterious algorithms to calculate your professional worthiness

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