A Primer on Martindale-Hubbell’s Peer Review Ratings

Prepared by John Chalif, Principal Partner of The Law Offices of John L. Chalif, J.D., LL.M.

The Peer Review Ratings system from Martindale-Hubbell serves as an objective measure of a lawyer’s professionalism and ethical standards as identified by other attorneys, members of the bar, and judiciary professionals located in the United States (U.S.) and in Canada. The ultimate goal of the system is to assist people who purchase legal services in recognizing, evaluating, and choosing a lawyer or law firm to meet their needs.

Every lawyer rated by Martindale-Hubbell’s Peer Review program has been accepted to the bar in the U.S. or in Canada and is considered to be in good standing. Before attorneys receive ratings from Martindale-Hubbell, they are reviewed by colleagues they have worked with or people who know them. Reviewers generally operate within the same geographic locale, jurisdiction, or industry of the lawyer they are rating. Attorneys undergoing the review must meet the Very High General Ethical Standards criteria before being analyzed for their legal expertise. The Legal Abilities part of the review gauges their experience, legal knowledge, analytical capabilities, communication skills, and judgment capacity with a 1 to 5 rating (5 being the highest).

After successfully completing the review, attorneys who are listed by Martindale-Hubbell fall into one of three numeric ratings ranges. Lawyers identified with the Rated status possess scores from 1.0 to 2.9, meaning they met the General Ethical Standards criteria. Practitioners with ratings of 3.0 to 4.4 hold BV status which usually identifies top attorneys with some amount of experience. Lastly, those few lawyers who fall into the 4.5 to 5.0 ratings range, or AV, rank highest amongst their peers in expertise and abilities.

About the Author:
John Chalif has held an AV rating with Martindale-Hubbell for more than a decade. He earned his Master of Laws from Georgetown University Law Center and has been admitted to practice in Florida, New York, the District of Columbia, the Supreme Court of the United States, the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Judicial Circuit, and the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida.

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