AV® Peer Review Rating — An AV rating is a significant accomplishment - a testament to the fact that a lawyer's peers rank him or her at the highest level of professional excellence.
Peer Review Ratings - Explanation
The process of the Ratings system
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.
An Explanation of the Peer Review Ratings Categories
There are two components to each Martindale-Hubbell Peer Review Rating:
1. 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 must receive a General Ethical Standards Rating before his or her review can proceed to the next step.
2. 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, Peer Review 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
Ratings reflect career development
A lawyer's Rating will generally improve over time. But Ratings can be revised downward, or even removed if a decline is noted in ability or ethical standards.
A CV Rating is an excellent first Rating and a statement of a lawyer's above average ability and very high ethics.
A BV Rating is an indication of an exemplary reputation and well-established practice. A typical lawyer is in mid-career, with significant client base and high professional standing.
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.