AV Peer Review

Lawyers who receive the AV Preeminent® status have been awarded the highest ratings for their professional ethics and legal ability by their peers. Fewer than 10% of attorneys benefit from this advantage.

Martindale-Hubbell is the facilitator of a peer review rating process. Ratings reflect the anonymous opinions of members of the bar and the judiciary. Martindale-Hubbell® Peer Review Ratings™ fall into two categories – legal ability and general ethical standards.

The Martindale-Hubbell Peer Review 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. The lawyer being rated will not know who gave him a certain rating. 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.

There are two components to each Martindale-Hubbell Peer Review Rating:

1. 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

Legal Ability ratings are based on performance in five key areas, rated on a scale of 1 to 5 (with 1 being the lowest and 5 being the highest). These areas are:

  • Legal Knowledge – Lawyer's familiarity with the laws governing his/her specific area of practice(s)
  • Analytical Capabilities – Lawyer's creativity in analyzing legal issues and applying technical knowledge
  • Judgment – Lawyer's demonstration of the salient factors that drive the outcome of a given case or issue.
  • Communication Ability – Lawyer's capability to communicate persuasively and credibly
  • Legal Experience – Lawyer's degree of experience in his/her specific area of practice(s)

2. 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 will not receive a Legal Ability Rating unless he or she has been endorsed for a “V.”

When both categories of Peer Review Ratings are confirmed, a lawyer receives an CV, BV or AV Rating.

  • CV Peer Review Rating – an excellent first Rating and a statement of a lawyer's above average ability and very high ethics.
  • BV Peer Review Rating – an indication of an exemplary reputation and well-established practice. A typical lawyer is in mid-career, with a significant client base and high professional standing.
  • AV Peer Review 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.

James is humbled to have received this high praise from his colleagues, and from Martindale-Hubbell. He works hard on every person's case to make sure he keeps earning this privilege.

AV®, BV®, AV Preeminent® and BV Distinguished® are registered certification marks of Reed Elsevier Properties Inc., used in accordance with the Martindale-Hubbell certification procedures, standards and policies. These ratings are explained in full at www.martindale.com/ratings.