Legal Issues

by Mike Masnick

Filed Under:
first amendment, free speech, lawyers, ratings


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.

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