What is the Avvo Rating?
First, a quick summary of the rating itself, in case you aren’t already intimately familiar.
The rating is a number on a 0-10 scale with a 10-rated lawyer garnering the title of “superb.”
If you are browsing lawyer websites, often you can see Avvo badges (e.g. “Rated 10 on Avvo”) with a link to the lawyer’s Avvo profile.
If you browse Avvo.com looking for a lawyer, you can see that each lawyer has a rating. This rating is to help you better determine whether the lawyer can help you out.
Most every lawyer in the United States has an Avvo profile. Avvo scrapes the bar admissions databases (all public records). Using this data, they create profiles for lawyers whether they want them or not. They use the same resource that insurance companies and CLE providers use to send me tons of junk mail each week. (If you are reading this, Farmers Insurance, please stop sending me your mail. It goes unopened right into the recycling bin.).
The Avvo rating is kind of like Super Lawyers or Martindale Hubbell. It serves two functions: 1. It helps clients evaluate your ability; and 2. It provides a credential for the “best” lawyers to brandish. But, unlike Super Lawyers, the Avvo rating goes a bit more in depth than just rating you as a “rising star”. Whatever that means.
The rating itself comes from a computer algorithm. The algorithm has certain components with different weighted values. Part of the Avvo rating comes from its magic robot crawling the Internet to track mentions of lawyers and get a sense of their accomplishments. Even if you don’t claim your Avvo profile and fill in your information, it is possible you could have a perfect 10 rating.
Avvo Rating Components
There are three main components to the Avvo rating: Experience, Industry Recognition, and Professional Conduct. Avvo profiles used to contain separate sub-ratings for each of these components; Avvo removed them not too long ago. However, these components still make up your Avvo rating. They are also not necessarily weighed the same. When it comes down to what factors weigh more strongly, Avvo’s secretive about that. Not surprising though. If you knew the exact formula for the Avvo rating it would make it easier to game. Since Avvo wants to have its rating be a useful tool for prospective clients to evaluate lawyers, you can’t know what’s in the secret sauce.
This one is fairly straightforward. The experience component is: “How many years have you been in practice?”
Can a lawyer have a 10 rating being in 1 year of practice? Unsure, but probably not likely.
This section is the one with the most variables. It includes:
- Law school attended
- Work experience
- Bar associations and other memberships
- Articles / publications
- Judicial clerkships
- Other ratings (e.g. Superlawyers, Martindale Hubbell)
- Number of peer endorsements from other lawyers
If your profile contains more publications and awards listed, that helps. If your peers like you, and take the time to say so on your Avvo profile, that also helps a little bit. The more peer ratings the better, but at a certain point there are diminishing returns.
This section is just “What is your disciplinary record with your State bar?”
Avvo suggests that if you got a slap-on-the-wrist 20 years ago, it may not have a significant impact on your Avvo rating today.
What is NOT in the Avvo Rating
I’ve been misguided in the past on this one and admit it freely. There’s a lot of information out there, and a lot of it wrong. But now there’s the opportunity to set the record straight. I got some clarification on what items Avvo doesn’t factor in to your rating.
If you use the Avvo platform to answer questions, great. But it won’t do you any favors to boost your rating.
While client reviews are helpful for other prospective clients, more reviews won’t boost your rating. Peer reviews from other lawyers can boost your rating though.
You can’t pay your way to a better Avvo rating. If you advertise with Avvo or have a Pro profile, it won’t (on its own) help your rating. However, my having a premium profile did encourage an Avvo sales rep to call me and give me suggestions on how I could improve my rating. And that did help things.
GETTING A 10 RATING
Some of you are likely reading this article because you just want to “crack the Avvo code” and find out how to get a 10 on your Avvo profile.
While there is no official “way to get a 10 rating”, it’s becoming fairly well known that certain aspects of your Avvo profile contribute to an increased rating (e.g. peer endorsements). And these aspects can be manipulated.
What’s worked well for me (still not at a 10 though) has been to fill out my profile with as much information as I have. Awards. Speaking engagements. Work experience. After spending probably 10 minutes on my profile, my rating got a nice bump up.
One Reddit group crowd-sourced trying to figure out the points to an Avvo rating.
Should It Matter To You?
Some clients may find you from browsing Avvo. If you have a higher rating, I would imagine that would mean you would be more likely to have a client reach out to you. Otherwise a prospective client may see “Oh, they have an 8 rating but this other lawyer in the same practice area is a 9.5” and go somewhere else.
There’s also the likelihood that someone sees your Avvo rating after searching for you in Google.
Avvo does a good job of showing up in search engine results. When someone searches for your name, your Avvo rating may show up next to it.