WHAT ARE MARTINDALE-HUBBELL® CLIENT REVIEW RATINGS?
Martindale-Hubbell® has been facilitating Martindale-Hubbell® Peer Review Ratings™ for more than 130 years. A few years ago we added client ratings. Together these ratings programs provide prospective clients with a 360-degree view of a lawyer's professional credentials.
Martindale-Hubbell® Client Review Ratings allow you to provide client feedback on a lawyer or law firm by completing a brief evaluation of a lawyer's and/or law firm's services and other professional qualities. There is no cost to participate in Client Review Ratings.
Client Review Ratings use a simple one-page survey with four main questions for you to asess communication ability, quality of service, responsiveness and value for the money on specific matters for which you engaged the lawyer or law firm. Also included are an overall recommendation option (indicated with a "thumbs up" graphic if you would recommend the attorney), basic demographic questions about you and the option to provide additional feedback in narrative form. The survey takes only a few minutes to complete.
Client Review Ratings help provide an objective platform where clients can share their experiences working with a specific lawyer or law firm. This information assists other potential clients when deciding whether to retain a lawyer.
For many years, Martindale-Hubbell® Peer Review Ratings™ have been viewed as an important rating in the legal industry, allowing legal professionals to provide feedback on their colleagues. The Client Review Ratings program was established to address the growing needs of buyers of legal services to have feedback from other buyers of legal services about the lawyers and firms they have retained. Both of these ratings programs complement and support the information provided by individual lawyers and law firms, and help potential clients who are evaluating lawyers and firms.
HOW ARE CLIENT RATINGS DETERMINED?
Only after your legal issue is closed, you may submit a Client Review Rating for the lawyer or law firm that handled your matter. Reviews can be entered on martindale.com® or Lawyers.comSM. When submitting a review, you must confirm and affirm that you or your employer has been a client of the law firm or lawyer and that you are completing the review on matters which are closed.
Client Review Rating Survey
The Client Review Ratings ask you to rate a lawyer or law firm using a five-point scale system in four categories: Communication Ability, Responsiveness, Quality of Service and Value for Money. These questions speak to a lawyer's or firm's service and relationship qualities. You will also be asked to make an overall recommendation and to identify practice areas for which the lawyer or law firm was retained. Finally, you'll be given the option to offer additional feedback.
For each of the four main questions (Communication Ability, Responsiveness, Quality of Service and Value for Money), you can rate the lawyer or law firm on a scale of a one to five (with one being the lowest and five being the highest).
Overall rating is determined by averaging the review responses. Martindale-Hubbell does not adjust the overall rating based upon any additional proprietary calculation. The rating is calculated solely from the completed, validated Client Review Ratings.
Client Review Ratings are anonymous and reviewers' identities are not published. All Martindale-Hubbell Client Review Ratings review submissions are treated as anonymous. Martindale-Hubbell takes steps to protect your anonymity (e.g., not associating reviewer names with their responses and aggregating their responses with responses from other reviewers before sharing or publishing them), but it is possible that responses may contain sufficient information to allow the rated lawyer to ascertain the reviewer's identity.
This anonymity allows client participants to provide candid assessments of their firms or lawyers. The survey will ask you for identifying information, which will be kept confidential unless required to be disclosed pursuant to a valid court order or subpoena.
Beginning in Fall 2011, all lawyers and law firms who receive client feedback in a Client Review Rating may respond to that feedback with a one-time comment. Also starting in Fall 2011, lawyers and law firms can suppress all of their client ratings or feedback. Firms and lawyers can no longer suppress or publish only selective ratings or comments. In order to suppress any rating or comment, all lawyer/law firm ratings and comments for that requesting lawyer/law firm must be suppressed. If the client rating is suppressed, language will be added "Rating Not Shown" in the search results. Your actual profile will display, "This attorney has chosen not to display the rating(s) provided by its clients." Once ratings are suppressed by request, they will be suppressed for a minimum of one year.
Martindale-Hubbell subscribers can also select two client feedback entries and position them at the top of their ratings tab.
A lawyer or law firm need not be a subscriber to Martindale-Hubbell® to receive Client Review Ratings; any practicing law firm or lawyer is eligible to participate in Client Review Ratings. There is no cost to the lawyer/law firm or to the client to complete a Client Review nor is there compensation for completing a review. In addition, lawyers and law firms do not pay for Client Review Ratings to appear on their profiles.
WHY ARE CLIENT REVIEW RATINGS IMPORTANT?
Benefits to Clients
If you are a recent client of a law firm and/or lawyer, completing a Client Review Rating about your experience will help others who are researching and selecting a lawyer. This input, along with that from other clients, helps build a robust database of Client Review Ratings, so all users of Client Review Ratings will be better informed when they hire a lawyer.
By reviewing Client Review Ratings data, you can leverage the first-hand experiences of other clients when deciding which lawyer or law firm to hire. Client Review Ratings data will allow you to make more confident hiring decisions, particularly when combined with Martindale-Hubbell® Peer Review Ratings® and law firm/lawyer profile data.
Effective in Fall 2011, ratings and feedback are now displayed for all lawyers and law firms, regardless of whether they are Martindale-Hubbell subscribers. This change reflects the growing importance of Client Review Ratings as an objective tool in the decision-making process for buyers of legal services.
Benefits to Law Firms
Gathering data from sources like Client Review Ratings is fast becoming an industry requirement, a trend that is being fueled by market demand. Users want more comprehensive data on lawyer and firm capabilities, including feedback from other clients. Large law firms can leverage the Client Review Ratings data in support of their current client satisfaction efforts. Medium to smaller firms might use it as a cost-effective, single source of client feedback.
No matter what size the firm, participation in Client Review Ratings can provide clear differentiation and position firms/lawyers as thought leaders.
Moreover, if you are a practicing lawyer or law firm, Client Review Ratings provide valuable feedback directly from your clients - those with first-hand experience of the firm and your lawyers. This feedback can be shared with your prospects to promote your expertise and to add depth to existing Martindale-Hubbell® profiles. Martindale-Hubbell® subscribers also have the ability to respond to reviews to round out the experience and show users how you do business.
Things to Consider
THINGS TO CONSIDER WHEN USING CLIENT REVIEW RATINGS
Client Review Ratings are displayed on the popular destinations of martindale.com, and Lawyers.comSM, so that all law firms and their clients may benefit from adding this attribute to the firms' and lawyers' credentials. Specifically, the addition of Client Review Ratings to Lawyers.comSM bring ratings to the consumer and small business markets and gives rated lawyers and law firms an opportunity to differentiate themselves from their competition in new ways.
In the fall of 2011, a number of important changes were introduced to the way that Client Review Ratings are displayed. These changes included:
- Ratings are now prominently displayed on the law firm profile, rather than users clicking through a link to see more details
- All lawyers and law firms may now respond to client feedback about their services, and Martindale-Hubbell® subscribers can select two client feedback entries to position at the top of their ratings tab
- A new metric is now displayed: the number of clients who recommend each selected lawyer or law firm
Finally, law firms can market their Martindale-Hubbell® Client Review Ratings by sharing and promoting client reviews to other online marketing locations, such as your own law firm website.
WHAT ARE THE USE GUIDELINES FOR CLIENT REVIEW RATINGS?
Lawyers can market their Martindale-Hubbell Client Review Ratings by promoting those ratings on their own websites. When doing so, lawyers are required to include the following information with their Client Review Rating:
"Martindale-Hubbell Client Review Rated Lawyer of Preeminent ___ out of 5 [insert (Preeminent or Distinguished if appropriate) and current numeric rating] as of __' 201-- [insert date of latest review published on martindale.com® and Lawyers.comSM]."
For lawyers with both a Peer Review Rating and Client Review Rating, the following phrase should always be used with their Client Review Rating on all appropriate marketing materials:
"Martindale-Hubbell Client Review Rated Lawyer of Preeminent ___ out of 5 [insert (Preeminent or Distinguished if appropriate) and current numeric rating] as of _____ 201__ [insert date of latest review published on martindale.com® and Lawyers.comSM]."
For specific guidelines on promoting Martindale-Hubbell® Peer Review Ratings™, please consult the Martindale-Hubbell® Peer Review Ratings page on martindale.com®.
Client Review Rated Lawyers and Law Firms may use a Client Review Rating in a manner that is consistent and compliant with the rules and regulations governing lawyer advertising in the state/commonwealth/jurisdiction in which the Client Review Rating is to be used. It is the sole obligation of the Client Review Rated Lawyer /Law Firm to ensure that their chosen usage complies with the applicable rules and regulations.
Lawyer ethics rules, including lawyer advertising rules, in the U.S, are complex. While states have generally based their rules on the American Bar Association's Model Rules of Professional Conduct, many states have adopted additional rules and exceptions. The result is that ethics rules and associated ethics opinions vary widely from one state to another. Lawyers and Law Firms must ensure their own compliance with the various ethics rules and opinions that might be applicable to particular circumstances, including participation in Martindale-Hubbell Client Review.
Martindale-Hubbell® does not provide Client Review Rating for all firms and lawyers. Therefore, the fact that a firm or lawyer has not been reviewed should not be construed as unfavorable. Martindale-Hubbell accepts no responsibility for and will not be liable for the content and accuracy of the individual reviews and the aggregated reviews.
No representation is made that the quality of legal services to be performed by any lawyer or law firm is greater than the quality of legal services performed by other lawyers. This review does not and no ratings constitutes a guarantee, warranty or prediction regarding the outcome of any legal matter. Any result a reviewed lawyer or law firm may achieve on behalf of one client in one matter does not indicate that a similar result can be obtained for another client. Past performance cannot be an assurance of future results as each matter must be decided on its own merits.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Can reviews be completed on individual lawyers as well as firms?
Yes. Reviews can be submitted for both lawyers and for law firms.
Can my lawyer nominate me to participate in the review process?
Yes, lawyers and law firms can submit client nominations via our online Client Service Center. Firms must nominate at least five client references before surveys will be sent.
How are clients identified to perform a Client Review?
Clients can be identified in several different ways. Buyers of legal services can be nominated by one of their law firms as a current or former client with specific experience with the law firm; a client can choose to access Client Review via a link beside each lawyer or firm profile on martindale.com® or Lawyers.comSM. The variety of Client Review identification points helps to facilitate a representative sample of respondents. When completing a client review, you must affirm you are a client of the lawyer or firm identified for review. You can submit only one review for a specific lawyer or law firm within a 12-month period.
I received an e-mail inviting me to participate in a Client Review. What is this?
The e-mail you received invites you to participate in the Martindale-Hubbell® Client Review process. By participating and sharing your knowledge of the law firm or lawyer under review, you will be providing an invaluable service to buyers of legal services who may consider hiring that firm or lawyer.
Does Martindale-Hubbell® verify that the clients are legitimate?
Martindale-Hubbell cannot confirm the lawyer-client relationship, which in many cases is confidential; therefore clients must affirm they are a client of the subject lawyer or firm at the time of the completed Client Review. We do not review the substance of the comment, and have no ability to verify the truth or accuracy of any posted comment.
Can I rate a lawyer who is my relative?
No. In situations where you are a family member (parent, grandparent, child, grandchild, sibling, in-law, cousin, aunt, uncle) of the lawyer under review, that could present a conflict of interest and affect the objectivity of the ratings.
Do law firms and lawyers have the option of viewing Client Review Ratings before they are published on Martindale-Hubbell® online sites?
No. All client reviews are posted automatically. The lawyer has a one-time opportunity to respond to any client feedback via Client Service Center. In addition, the lawyer has the option of suppressing a Client Review Ratings, but if that is done, all of that lawyer's reviews are removed from display and they will be suppressed for a minimum of one year. If the client rating is suppressed, language will be added "Rating Not Shown" in the search results. Your actual profile will display, "This attorney has chosen not to display the rating(s) provided by its clients." Alternatively a lawyer can flag (aka report abuse) a client review on Lawyers.com or martindale.com profile at which point we will review the feedback and act appropriately.
Can I remove my Client Ratings?
The lawyer has the option of suppressing a Client Review Ratings, but if that is done, all of that lawyer's reviews are removed from display and they will be suppressed for a minimum of one year. If the client rating is suppressed, language will be added "Rating Not Shown" in the search results. Your actual profile will display, "This attorney has chosen not to display the rating(s) provided by its clients." Alternatively the lawyer can do one of two things - respond to any client feedback via Client Service Center or flag (aka report abuse) a client review on Lawyers.com or martindale.com profile at which point we will review the feedback and act appropriately.
What if Client Reviews are not published for a specific firm or lawyer?
Martindale-Hubbell does not undertake to develop Client Reviews for all firms and lawyers. Therefore, the fact that a firm or lawyer has no reviews published should not be construed as unfavorable.
How current are the Client Reviews that are published?
Client Reviews that are over 24 months old will be archived.
I was sent a survey link by my lawyer or law firm and I'd like to review other firms not included on the survey questionnaire. How do I do that?
The survey link includes the option to add law firms or lawyers for you to review. Provided the law firm or lawyer is confirmed as valid, a review can be completed.
Can I forward my invitation to another person?
Yes, if you are answering the review in a professional capacity, Client Reviews can be forwarded to a colleague within your organization who may be in a better position to complete the Client Review. Once contact details are confirmed, that person's review will be included in the ratings process.
What is the scope of a Client Review?
Client Reviews can be conducted worldwide for firms and lawyers.
I had to close the Client Review survey before finishing and when I returned to the survey via the e-mail link I found that my responses do not appear. What happened?
Responses are only saved to the system when the "submit" button is clicked. If you did not click the submit button before the survey window closed, the responses on that page would have been lost.
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