Judge Points Out That Lawyer Ranking Site Is Free Speech... Even If It's Dumb

from the that-whole-free-speech-thing dept

Earlier this year, we wrote about a new website, Avvo, that had created an algorithm to try to "rank" lawyers based on quality. It should come as no surprise, of course, that some lawyers (e.g., the low-ranked ones) weren't particularly pleased with such a system and some of them got together to sue the site as a class action suit -- on behalf of poorly ranked lawyers around the world. While you can certainly understand why lawyers would be upset at such a site, just because you're upset about something doesn't make it illegal. And, just as judges have repeatedly pointed out that things like Google's search rankings are protected free speech as opinions, a judge has dismissed the lawsuit against Avvo, noting that the rankings are merely opinions and that's protected free speech. That's not to say that the judge thinks Avvo is particularly useful. In fact, he points out how ridiculous the rankings are -- but that doesn't mean they're illegal. Chalk one up for free speech online.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    4-80-sicks, Dec 20th, 2007 @ 9:26am

    This makes me think of like Revenge of the Nerds or something--a bunch of laughable losers decide to take on something bigger and more popular than themselves. Of course, in the movie, they'd win. And with the movie, the audience wants them to.

     

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  2.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 20th, 2007 @ 9:38am

    You have a typo
    '...judge things' should read '...judge thinks'.

     

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  3.  
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    Mike (profile), Dec 20th, 2007 @ 9:39am

    Re:

    Ooops. Thanks. fixed.

     

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  4.  
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    Adam Singer (profile), Dec 20th, 2007 @ 10:40am

    I guess mike *is* human after all

    ;)

     

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  5.  
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    Syn-Ack, Dec 20th, 2007 @ 10:46am

    Kind of Ironic

    It's pretty ironic that the low ranked lawyers had their case thrown out. Adds a little credibility to the rankings in my viewpoint.

     

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  6.  
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    Killer_Tofu (profile), Dec 20th, 2007 @ 10:48am

    Haha

    So, since they lost, do the lawyers still charge themselves a fee?

     

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  7.  
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    SM, Dec 20th, 2007 @ 10:49am

    Yeah, with a site like this, there's no way to lose! Sure, you might get sued, but only by the crappiest lawyers...

     

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  8.  
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    JJ, Dec 20th, 2007 @ 10:49am

    Judge thinks?

    This would be an odd situation... Remember Lawyers (Lie-ers) become Judges...

     

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  9.  
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    Ben, Dec 20th, 2007 @ 11:17am

    Self-fulfilling

    So the low-ranked lawyers sue ... further proving their ranking for not knowing First Amendment rights.

     

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  10.  
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    Tony, Dec 20th, 2007 @ 11:58am

    RE: Kind of Ironic by Syn-Ack

    Damn, you stole my thunder! :)

    And nice TCP reference there.

     

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  11.  
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    Kevin, Dec 20th, 2007 @ 12:13pm

    Interesting...

    With all of the precedents relating to free/protected speech and rankings online, you'd think that any lawyer that was worth a damn would have known that this case had no chance.

    Wait a minute...

    Now I get it!

     

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  12.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 20th, 2007 @ 12:48pm

    Re: Kind of Ironic

    Uhh, actually it's not ironic, but it does add credibility...

     

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  13.  
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    Fushta, Dec 20th, 2007 @ 1:51pm

    My Favorite Quote

    Avvo says, "We're not trying to make you look bad. You're doing quite well on your own."

     

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  14.  
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    patrick, Dec 21st, 2007 @ 2:37pm

    Re: Interesting...

    Thanks for the chuckle!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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