October 10, 2009 - Phil Hodgen

Martindale-Hubbell – irrelevant

This morning brought an email from Martindale-Hubbell, asking me to rate the skills and ethics of a dozen or so lawyers around here. I didn’t know any of them. I deleted the email.

I am rated AV by Martindale-Hubbell. In some circles that rating might matter. It doesn’t matter to me. And, I suspect, it doesn’t matter to you. Or at least it shouldn’t.

What does that AV rating mean?

To me it means that somewhere out there are some people (probably fewer than you’d expect) sitting in a cubicle farm. Their paychecks say “Lexis-Nexis” and those people like to eat and sleep in a warm, dry bed.

In order to continue receiving those paychecks, they need to generate revenue for their employer, Lexis-Nexis. They generate revenue for their employer by selling advertising. The advertising is sold to lawyers. Those lawyers get rankings issued by the cubicle farm folks to prove that they – the lawyers – are really smart and really ethical.


There are two ways you can decide what you think about me.

  • You can look at my “AV” rating from a third party vendor that makes money by selling lawyers “AV” ratings.
  • Or you can put my name in a search engine and see what you get and make your own decision.

Actually, there is a third way. You conduct a test. Low dollars, low risk. See how it works. That’s what I frequently do. You know, parable of the talents and all that.

No one has ever asked me about my Martindale-Hubbell rating. Ever.

At some point you can do the job. And people know you can do the job. For everything else, you have Martindale-Hubbell.

For a similar take on a similar situation, see Mark Cuban’s blog post about a job search letter.