Legal Issues

by Joseph Weisenthal

Lawyer Sues Lawyer Rating Service Over Bad Scores

from the let-the-world-know dept

One of the problems with the legal industry is that it's opaque. Sure, the big corporate law firms do have established reputations and brands, but individuals in need of a lawyer don't have good ways of finding one. Last week, a new site called Avvo was launched that promised to compile ratings and reviews on lawyers nationwide. The launch got a lot of buzz, in part because of the novelty of the idea, but also because the ratings system, by most accounts, didn't work. Several top-caliber lawyers, including sitting Supreme Court judges, weren't given particularly good ratings. Not surprisingly, one lawyer that didn't like his rating is already threatening to sue the site. There's no telling how the courts will respond, but since the site is just synthesizing data from other sources, there wouldn't seem to be anything blatantly illegal going on. Legal issues notwithstanding, it's baffling why the lawyer would want to file this suit and bring more attention to his low rating.

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1. identicon
    lucas rivet, Jun 11th, 2007 @ 7:13pm

    dumb people

    someone PLEASE tell me how they did not see this coming?

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

  2. identicon
    Jon, Jun 11th, 2007 @ 8:10pm

    Re: dumb people

    I think we need some award for dumb people that would be analogous to the Darwin Award. Between the stories that are captured here on TD and some of the posters, we would have a lifetime of material.

    Btw, this idea is trademarked, copywrited, and Service Marked. I will sue anyone who has more motivation to make something out of my idea than me. Given that I am feeling particularly lazy, reading this idea might just get you in trouble.

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

  3. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 11th, 2007 @ 10:01pm


    The United States Supreme Court does not have Judges, its members are JUSTICES. Judges are in the Courts of Appeal and District Courts.

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

  4. identicon
    Adam, Jun 11th, 2007 @ 11:14pm

    I wonder if his rating will go up if he wins.

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

  5. identicon
    I am a Lawyer, Jun 12th, 2007 @ 9:21am

    This is the first thing I though of

    The first thing I thought of upon reading about Avvo a day or two ago was that they would get sued. Lawyers around the country would repeatedly sue, think of new theories to sue under, and eventually drive it out of business. Nice concept, but too easily abused. You don't like your ex-wife's lawyer because he nailed you for alimony? Trash him. It sounds like there is no accountability and not even an opportunity to respond, as with Ebay ratings. Don't like the lawyer that your client jumped to? Trash him. If there is no opportunity to respond to each individual rating by each former client, then I would say that the website is advocating their views, which could be libel, possibly.

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

  6. identicon
    Matt Bennett, Jun 12th, 2007 @ 10:26am

    Everything goes to hell when the lawyers get a hold of it.

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

  7. identicon
    Anti Jack, Jun 12th, 2007 @ 3:49pm


    I type in Jack Thompson's name and state and retrieve no results, is it possible he's so low rated the site didn't put him up?

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

  8. identicon
    Bob Nicholson, Jun 15th, 2007 @ 3:21pm

    Re: dumb people

    There is nothing to prevent people from filing a lawsuit, but in the United States there is a strong body of law that protects these "rating and review" sites. Review sites act as public forums, and are legally protected from liability for the content by section 230 of the Communications Decency Act (CDA).

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

  9. identicon
    Martin Hunt, Jun 17th, 2007 @ 5:35pm

    If the review is can be proven as the honest opinion of the client, and there is no defamation going on, then the user has no worries...but did anyone stop to think that someone on the internet might actually be defaming someone? *gasp* No one lies on the internet.

    Lawyers thrive on their reputation, and a bad one will hurt you among clients and your home state bar.

    If this attorney was defamed, then I say good for him to defend himself. If not, then the person that posted the review or the site has no worries.

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

  10. identicon
    Sofakingcool, Jun 27th, 2007 @ 3:59pm


    It's hard to make everyday people understand that Lawyers are bound by a different law than the ordinary citizen. Lawyers make the law ...... use it to perpetuate their profession. They are like cockroaches ...... living off hard working people. I feel safer in a back alley in the rough part of town than around a bunch of lawyers.

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

  11. identicon
    AC, Jun 27th, 2007 @ 4:38pm

    if you really need to know

    check with your states grievance commission. for example,

    you can find out formally investigated complaints that have been sent to discipline boards. many will not tell you about complaints that have been dismissed, which is pretty fair.

    and while this isnt a way to fine tune your choice for a lawyer, it can certainly be a step in weeding out some of the ones with bigger problems.

    but as with most things in life, there are no guarantees.

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

  12. identicon
    chris, Aug 29th, 2007 @ 4:39pm

    Funny. So does this lawyer not support free speech?

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

  13. identicon
    Neil Sandhu, Sep 20th, 2007 @ 2:05pm

    Lawyer Ratings

    Interesting story. While we think there are better ratings systems out there, we believe in the free flow of information and wish them success in the courts.

    Neil Sandhu
    CEO, HireTrade LLC

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

  14. identicon
    lady D, Sep 4th, 2008 @ 3:10pm

    Re: Lawyers

    LOL....after years of being in agony untreated for ruptured discs, pinched nerves, broken/crushed discs in my spine and losing everything that I worked hard to get for twenty years, I am victimized by my own lawyer who protects his own. I was hit by an insurance lawyer driving her insurance lawyer boyfriend's car (both work for separate firms in town) and for 7 long years I have been unable to obtain loss of income, any kind of medical benefits, left to rot in my house as it falls apart with four teenagers running amuck and getting in trouble, going days unable to obtain water as I could not even crawl. The Dr.s tell me get a lawyer. The lawyers tell me get a lawyer, and if I could get up and do either, I would have. I go months unable to hold a pen and only have brief moments in time, where I am able to force myself to get up, go to a dr. go to a lawyer, or even get that glass of water. 80% of time, I live in my bed. I was 38 when this happened and now at 45, I AM beING forced to accept an amount of money equivalent only to some of the loans that I have taken to pay for chiro, bills-utility, and still can't cover them all....after working hard for twenty ++ years....sometimes up to one full time and two part time jobs in order to provide my children with extras like trips in our trailer (now sold to pay taxes.) WHAT? What? I can not do this. Rumors are being spread and I can not even defend myself. I can not get up on my feet until I receive medical treatment, and I can not get money from insurance until someone represents me and follows instructions. I asked my lawyer 4 years ago to contact almost 20 people who had worked with me and knew me in volunteer situations, etc.....I just found out he didn't while he and 3 lawyers, a mediator (lawyer) and 3 adjustors attacked me for an entire day, while I popped triple the pain medication that I normally take in 24 hours in order to be able to sit through it and had my own lawyer attacking me in private and forcing me to sign something that I was in no capacity to deal with.....the lawyer has taken more than half and still hurls insults and attacks me personallyl.....he even said to me at one appointment, "My wife gets the odd headache." The pain I am in is unacceptable. I have 7 crushed discs in my neck with many pinched nerves, a hernaited disc mid spine, and crushed discs, a missing disc, pinched nerves and herniateion in the lower spine.....lots of paralysis (temporarily up to 6 months at a time in areas) and have no one to help me due to the defamation of character and lack of any kind of professional care....DO NOT GET HIT BY A SPEEDING BLOND INSURANCE LAWYER WHILE SHE DOES OVER 100 IN CITY LIMITS AND YOU ARE STOPPED FOR LENGTHY TIME IN A FULL LANE OF TRAFFIC AT A RED LIGHT ((NEXT LANE EMPTY-THEREFORE SHE COULD HAVE SWEREVED AND MISSED EVERYONE)) BROKE WINDSHILED WITH FACE, FIRE DEPT BROKE DOOR TO GET ME OUT, SEAT BROKE IN CAR.....AND AT HOSPITAL ONE XRAY ON NECK AND SENT HOME.!!!! SHE GOT THERE FIRST AS i HAD TO WAIT FOR FIRE DEPT TO GET ME OUT....WHAT? IS THERE ANYONE WITH MORALS OUT THERE ANY MORE? NO ONE WILL HELP ME BECAUSE IT IS SO ABSURD????? HELP PLEASE....I DONT WANT TO DIE LIKE THIS....I WAS INTELLIGENT, PRETTY , WELL KEPT, DILIGENT, LOYAL, MORAL, HARD WORKING, STRONG....I HAD INTEGRITY....I COACHED BALL FOR KIDS, TAUGHT SUNDAY SCHOOL AND HELPED PEOPLE WHENEVER I COULD....NOW I HAVE A BUNCH OF RUMORS SWIMMING IN THIS UGLY FISH BOWL, SHARKS, AND POISON.....I NEED A REAL LAWYER WHO BELIEVES IN INTEGRITY AND THE VALUES UPON WHICH AMERCIA WAS BUILT....I NEED HELP....I HAVE LOST ALMOST EVERYTHING ALREADY....ANYONE OUT THERE????

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

  15. identicon
    B, Jan 1st, 2009 @ 1:00pm

    Finding lawyer in Pensacola FL

    We are on our second lawyer in Pensacola, FL and looking for lawyer no.3. They stop reponding to you when they have your case and retainer. It seems impossible to find a good honest lawyer. Any suggestions

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

  16. identicon
    jones555, May 26th, 2009 @ 10:00pm

    Real Estate


    Real estate is a legal term (in some jurisdictions, notably in the USA, United Kingdom, Canada, and Australia) that encompasses land along with anything permanently affixed to the land, such as buildings, specifically property that is fixed in location.Real estate is often considered synonymous with real property (also sometimes called realty), in contrast with personal property.

    find lawyer

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

Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Use markdown for basic formatting. HTML is no longer supported.
  Save me a cookie
Follow Techdirt
Insider Shop - Show Your Support!

Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Chat
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Recent Stories
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads


Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.