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Martindale-Hubbell is considered the most authoritative lawyer rating system. Unlike many other lawyer rating entities, Martindale-Hubbell ratings are not paid-for law firm advertising, nor is Martindale-Hubbell acting as an agent for any lawyers in publishing its information. Rather, the peer review rating system of Martindale-Hubbell is considered a truly critical and objective indicator of (a) lawyer ethical standards and (b) professional ability. The ratings come from evaluations by other members of the Bar and the judiciary.

The ethics rating indicates whether the lawyer follows professional standards of conduct and ethics, reliability, diligence and other relevant criteria. If a lawyer receives a “very high” ethical rating, he or she is allowed to proceed to the second step in the ratings process – professional ability.

Professional ability ratings are based on performance, as judged by other members of the Bar or judiciary, in five key areas, rated on a scale of 1 to 5 (5 being the highest), as follows: legal knowledge, analytical capability, judgment, communication ability and legal experience.

The total lawyer rating is indicated as follows with a corresponding explanation:

  • “AV Preeminent” (a score of 4.5 – 5.0) indicates the highest level of professional excellence.
  • “BV Distinguished” (a score of 3.0 – 4.4) indicates widely respected achievement.
  • “Rated” (a score of 1.0 – 2.9) indicates that the lawyer has met the very high criteria of the General Ethical Standing.

Martindale-Hubbell provides a full explanation of its peer-review rating system at: