The Raters Association of Corporate Counsel Value Index.
Launched in October and only open to ACC members, the online ratings system is accessed through the group’s
webpage at acc.com. As of December, approximately 1,800 in-house lawyers had submitted evaluations. The ACC
plans to show law firms their ratings in early 2010. Avvo. Launched in 2007, avvo.com uses technology to seek out
information about the lawyer, and the information is compiled into rankings. Clients and peers can rate the subjects
as well. Free to use as is, lawyers can pay a fee to add more information to their profiles. Founder Mark Britton’s
goal is to have a listing for every lawyer in America. The site gets approximately 2 million visits a month.
LinkedIn. Established in 2003, the site at linkedin.com has more than 50 million members. As of June 2009,
840,000 of those members worked within the legal profession, according to Stem Legal, a Web marketing group for
lawyers. The site has a recommendation function, and users can seek and select recommendations to post on their
profiles. Martindale-Hubbell. One of the oldest online legal directories, martindale.com used to dole
out AV ratings. In 2009 it introduced client review ratings, where buyers of legal services can offer anonymous feedback for Martindale-listed lawyers. Lawyers can choose what written feedback is displayed on their profiles or
whether to display the ratings at all. Yelp. Founded in 2004, the free general ratings site now has more than 7 million reviews, with about 30 million visitors to yelp.com a month. And Yelp sells advertisements to local businesses,
which are labeled “sponsored results.” No reviews can be altered.
false or unsubstantiated claims
about himself in the writing.
THE ACC CHALLENGE THAT MAY LEAVE LITTLE COMFORT for those law firms that receive less than stellar grades on the latest of lawyer ratings, the Association of Corporate Counsel’s Value Index. For its index, the ACC has been collecting the opinions of corporate
lawyers about the outside law offices and practice groups they have
worked with. As of December,
about 1,800 evaluations had been
received from law department
Firms are to be graded in six
categories on a five-point scale.
Rating categories include:
• Understanding of objectives
• Legal expertise.
• Efficiency and process management.
• Responsiveness and communication.
• Predictable cost and budgeting skills.
• Results delivered and execution.
In November the blog Above
the Law provided an early peek
at the results (the ACC does not
want to call them rankings). Many
of those results represented comments from only three or fewer law
department staffers, so ATL only
listed the few firms with more interviews. Still, the post drew several dozen comments in the next 10
days, with many remarking on the
ranking of one firm in relation to
the others named.
Like commercial ratings sites
such as Angie’s List, the first ACC
Value Index results are supposed
to be available only to a specific
group—in this case, ACC members. Fred G. Krebs, the ACC’s
president, says the association
plans to show law firms their
grades in January or February
of this year.
“I’m a strong hawk on this—at
some point they are going to see
the evaluations,” says Mike Roster,
chair of the steering committee for
the ACC’s Value Challenge, the
broader initiative behind the in-
dex. “I think it’s the right thing to
do, and they’re going to find out
the reviews anyway. It would be
worse if some client says, ‘Gee,
you should see what’s posted
about you.’ ”
Roster of Pasadena, Calif., the
retired general counsel of Golden
West Financial, says the ACC is
opposed to law firms using their
Value Index grades in marketing