• November 30, 2012

Should Consumers of Legal Services Care?


Minnesota Litigator: An ABA Top 100 Law Blog, 2012

Update (11/26/2012):  In 2010, Minnesota Litigator was named in the Top 25 Minnesota Law Blogs.  Then, Minnesota Litigator fell off the MSBA’s top 25 list of 2011.

Now, Minnesota Litigator is the ONLY Minnesota Law Blog on the “ABA 100” top 100 Law Blogs of 2012! [CORRECTION: OOPS. Arbitration Nation also made the list. HT: Jim Hammerand, MSP Biz Journal (and congratulations/apologies to Arbitration Nation!)]

The takeaway?  If you enjoy Minnesota Litigator, GREAT! You are not alone.  If you do not, that’s ok too.  Any writer writes for himself.  And if he gets his money (or other validation) from somewhere else, prizes and recognition are just toppings on a cake, which might be as delicious (and maybe more nutritious) without them.

Update (10/6/2011): One ML reader wrote in to Minnesota Litigator that a lawyer can go from Avvo “excellent” to Avvo “superb” just “by claiming your Avvo profile and filling it in with articles you’ve written, cases you’ve handled, etc.”  Can anyone corroborate (or disprove) that? 

Speaking of controversial “reputation peddlers,” one of the grandaddies, Better Business Bureau (BBB), apparently strips businesses of their BBB accreditation if they criticize the BBB itself.  On the one hand, it seems odd that a company would lose a “stamp of approval” as a well-run and responsible business by criticizing the stamper/approver.

On the other hand, it does not seem odd.  If you were promoting your business as an arbiter of high quality, it seems obvious you would want to strip anyone of your honor who claims it is a scam.

On the third hand, BBB Code of Business practices does not include, “Toe the line.”

Original Post (9/30/2011):  Avvo is a lawyer (and doctor) “rating” website (for-profit).  They have recently rated me, “excellent,” which, on their system is an 8.3 out of 10, one notch below their highest rating, “superb.”  They made my day!  (But why am I not superb?  My mother and wife think I am (and also my kids (on a good day)) and at least a few clients too).

Then came the suggestion that I buy a wall plaque touting my “excellent” Avvo rating for $180 (+ $12.90 for shipping).  Who is selling what to whom here?

Anyone with even passing knowledge of our current economy for legal services knows that many lawyers are in a world of pain. Based on the widespread shrinkage of law firms nationwide over the past three years, it would seem there are far more good litigators than there is civil litigation to keep all those good litigators busy.

Consequences of the current glut in “lawyer supply”?

Competition for work is fierce.  Some marketers to lawyers merely pose as marketers for lawyers.   AvvoLinkedInLeads.comLegalForce (“Best Lawyers”), Best LawyersSuper Lawyers, the Better Business BureauChambers, and on and on and on market to lawyers desperate for any edge to “get their names out there” and bring in business.  Lawyers have to sort through the ROI.  Plainly there is no upper limit to how much lawyers can spend on marketing.

Another consequence of lean times for lawyers, incidentally:

Many litigators are “too hungry” for work.  In lean times, they take cases that they shouldn’t take because the claims are weak, and/or they unjustifiably overwork files they have and/or they take on matters that are beyond their fields of expertise.  Consequently, legal malpractice claims are likely increasing in number in recent years.  This sense is supported anecdotally by this author’s recent lawsuit undertaken against lawyers for professional malpractice, plus additional inquiries on strong legal malpractice claims I have not undertaken for one reason or another, plus communications with other local legal malpractice plaintiff’s lawyers.  They seem to be getting busy.

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