I was recently awarded the AV® Preeminent Rating by Martindale-Hubbell and was asked by a client of mine what this means. The gist of the question is: Why would I [the client] care if my attorney has an AV® Preeminent Rating? To answer the question and explain the value in being rated like this, I have decided to dedicate a post to this topic and provide the following explanation of what an AV® Preeminent Rating means.

The AV® Rating is the highest possible rating given by LexisNexis Martindale-Hubbell Peer Review for a lawyer and is established wholly on a peer-review basis. The AV® Preeminent designation signifies that an attorney has been rated by judges and fellow attorneys as having the highest possible rating for legal abilities and ethical standards.

The AV® Preeminent Rating is awarded to less than five percent (5%) of all attorneys across the United States, and is the highest rating offered by the Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory. The Legal Ability Rating indicates professional ability in a specific area of practice and is based on five key areas: (1) legal knowledge, (2) analytical capabilities, (3) judgment, (4) communication ability, and (5) legal experience. 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 AV® Preeminent Rating is a nationally-recognized acknowledgment of an attorney’s accomplishments and skills, and places him or her among the elite practitioners in the country.

The Martindale-Hubbell Peer Review Ratings help buyers of legal services identify, evaluate and select the most appropriate lawyer for a specific task at hand. Lawyer Ratings serve as an objective indicator that a lawyer has the highest ethical standards and professional ability, and are used by buyers of legal services to justify their hiring decisions.

AV® Preeminent is a certification mark of Reed Elsevier Properties, Inc., used in accordance with the Martindale-Hubbell certification procedures, standards and policies. 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.

Why would should a client care if their attorney has an AV® PreeminentRating? Because this rating means their attorney is someone other attorneys would hire if they needed representation.