What is the Avvo Rating?

The Avvo Rating explained

The Avvo Rating is our effort to evaluate a lawyer’s background based on the information available in an attorney’s Avvo profile. We create the rating using a model that considers information the lawyer has included on their profile in addition to the information we collect from state bar associations and other organizations that license legal professionals. Any information that affects the Avvo Rating is visible in an attorney’s profile. Avvo does not provide a numerical rating for profiles that have not been claimed by that attorney.

Attorneys always have the opportunity to add information to their profiles, and those attorneys who claim their profiles and provide Avvo with more information tend to have a higher rating than those who do not.

Keep in mind that these ratings speak to a lawyer’s background, but do not evaluate their knowledge of the law, past performance on individual cases, personality, or communication skills. These are elements that the Avvo Rating cannot evaluate, but can be better described in the client reviews and peer endorsements found on an attorney’s profile.

Why the Avvo Rating can help you find the right attorney:

  • How the Avvo Rating is calculated. The rating is calculated using a mathematical model, and all lawyers are evaluated on the same set of standards.
  • The Avvo Rating cannot be bought. At Avvo, all lawyers are treated equally. We don’t play favorites, and attorneys can’t pay us to improve their ratings.
  • It was developed by legal professionals and people looking for legal services. The model used to calculate the rating was developed with input from hundreds of attorneys, thousands of consumers, and many other legal professionals who deeply understand the work attorneys do. We created the Avvo Rating to reflect the type of information people have identified as important when looking to hire an attorney.
  • It’s as simple as counting to 10. Ratings fall on a scale of 1 (Extreme Caution) to 10 (Superb), helping you quickly assess a lawyer’s background based on our rating.

The Avvo Rating is based only on the information we have collected and that the attorney has provided, so we don’t recommend the Avvo Rating as the only piece of information you use to evaluate whether an attorney is right for you. The rating is a tool that provides a snapshot assessment of a lawyer’s background and should be considered alongside other information such as client reviews and peer endorsements.

Frequently Asked Consumer Questions about the Avvo Rating

How does Avvo calculate the Avvo Rating?

We calculate the rating based on public data we may have collected on each attorney and the information they have provided in their profile. The public data we collect comes from a variety of sources, including public records (state bar associations, regulatory agencies, and court records) and other published sources on the internet. This information, however, is not exhaustive, and might not include additional relevant information that could increase an attorney’s rating. Attorneys know about their own experience and have the option to add this information to their profiles – by either claiming their profile and adding information, or contacting Avvo Customer Care to provide additional information – and those details will often increase an attorney’s rating.

Avvo’s mathematical module considers and weights the information collected and provided to calculate a numerical rating, ranging from 1 to 10. Within the model, we take into account factors that consumers and legal professionals believe are relevant to an attorney’s qualifications, including experience, professional achievements, and disciplinary sanctions. 

What does “Attention” or “Not Active on Avvo” mean?

Avvo publishes a numerical rating for all claimed profiles.  For lawyers who have not claimed their profile and have no public record of bar association discipline, we do not display a rating and rather indicate, “This attorney is not active on Avvo.” For lawyers with a disciplinary action in their background based on publicly available data such that their numerical rating (which is not displayed on the site) has dropped lower than “5,” we display “Attention.” We are only able to collect publicly-available information about an attorney from the state bar or other organizations that license legal professionals. When an attorney doesn’t claim their profile, we tend to have more limited information and, therefore display an Avvo Rating of either “Attention” or indicate that they are not active on Avvo. “Attention” is given if there is information in public records that, in our opinion, you should be aware of, such as disciplinary action against a lawyer. You should be aware that we rely on public data that may not be comprehensive, or frequently updated. Always research the lawyer further to get a better understanding of their disciplinary status, background, and experience.

Does Avvo publish the details of how the rating is calculated?

The data that we take into account is all displayed on an attorney’s profile. However, we do not disclose the weight we give to this information so that no one can game the system, boosting their rating through unfair advantage. Much as Google doesn’t share its search engine secrets, we don’t share the inner-workings of the Avvo Rating so we can maintain the neutrality and integrity of the rating.

What do the numerical ratings mean?

  • 10 - 9.0 Superb
  • 8.9 - 8.0 Excellent
  • 7.9 - 7.0 Very Good
  • 6.9 - 6.0 Good
  • 5.9 - 5.0 Average
  • 4.9 - 4.0 Concern
  • 3.9 - 3.0 Caution
  • 2.9 - 2.0 Strong Caution
  • 1.9 - 1.0 Extreme Caution

What if a lawyer doesn’t have a rating at all?

Avvo does not provide a numerical rating for profiles that have not been claimed by that attorney.  Avvo does not provide any rating in instances where it would not be useful, such as if the attorney is deceased or serving as a public official.

An attorney may request we remove the rating from their profile, and we honor those requests for attorneys who have not been disciplined and who are not looking for clients. These profiles will read “Avvo Rating Not Displayed”, and will not appear on practice area search listings in Avvo’s directory.

Do lawyers have to pay or sign-up to have an Avvo Rating?

Absolutely not. Avvo creates a profile for every licensed attorney we are able to locate, and calculates a rating for lawyers who claim their profile. Profiles are free to attorneys, and the Avvo Rating cannot be influenced by advertising or other forms of payment.

Can lawyers lie to increase their Rating?

Attorneys can lose their licenses for falsifying data, and we don’t believe they will take that risk on their Avvo profile. We also rely on our community of users to ensure data on Avvo is as accurate as possible. If you see information on an attorney profile that you know to be incorrect, please contact us and we will investigate the issue. If an attorney is found to have intentionally posted false information, it will impact their level of professional conduct and negatively impact their Avvo Rating.

Can I remove the Avvo Rating from my profile?

Attorneys who have not been disciplined and who are not seeking legal clients may request that their numerical Avvo Rating not be displayed on their profile. If your request is approved, you will not be included in practice area search results, though licensing details and client reviews will remain visible on your individual profile.

Avvo’s goal is to make it easier for everyone to navigate the often-opaque legal industry. We create profiles and collect publicly available data for over 97% of US attorneys. Claiming your profile on Avvo allows you to add more information about you and your practice, allowing us to provide a more accurate Avvo Rating.

We do not “adjust” ratings by request, nor do we remove attorney profiles.

Can I add or correct information without claiming my profile?

Attorneys who have not claimed their profile may contact Avvo’s support team to request the addition or correction of data to their profile. Our support team is available via email, phone, or online chat. Contact our support team here with your inquiry, email us at customercare@avvo.com, or call us at 1-800-441-3596.

Do peer endorsements and reviews affect my rating?

Peer endorsements do affect your Avvo Rating, though reviews do not. This is because peer endorsements--one lawyer endorsing another’s skills and experience--are a way to assess industry recognition, which is a factor in how we calculate an attorney’s Avvo Rating. Reviews do play a very important role for people looking to hire an attorney, but we have chosen to not include that information when calculating the Avvo Rating.

How can I change my Avvo Rating?

If you are displayed as “Attention” or not active on Avvo, you still can receive a numerical rating by claiming your profile. When you claim your profile on Avvo, the automatically calculated numerical rating will display on your profile and in search results. But, as described above, the Avvo Rating can be removed from your profile display upon your request.

If you already have a numerical Avvo Rating, your score may change as you update and provide more information in your profile, especially work experience, practice areas you work in, and professional achievements. However, please make sure that the information you provide is accurate; inaccurate data could negatively impact your Avvo Rating. If you believe a public record contains inaccurate information about you that is affecting your Avvo Rating, you can contact the appropriate organization and ask to have the record changed. When we collect that data again, your rating may change to reflect the new information we are able to assess.

We will not change numerical ratings upon request. Because the Avvo Rating is based on a mathematical model that is applied in the same way to every attorney, we are unable to change individual ratings. When you update your profile with more information, your rating may change: the more we know about you, the better we can determine your numerical Avvo Rating.

Additionally, it is the responsibility of attorneys to ensure that any information or advertisements they place on Avvo, and any communication they may have with prospective clients through the Avvo site, comply with the rules of professional conduct regulating the form, manner, and content of communications with clients, advertising, or other matter.

Does the Avvo Rating change over time?

Yes, an attorney’s Avvo Rating may change over time, and there are a few ways this could happen. First, as we collect more information about a lawyer, their Avvo Rating gets recalculated and the score may adjust based on the new information provided. Second, to the extent that we collect or receive data that cannot be immediately verified, we mark this data as “unknown” and update the score once we have reviewed it. Third, some information is given less weight as time passes. For example, the weighting the mathematical model gives to certain disciplinary actions and industry recognition items decreases as time passes, reflecting our opinion that, in these areas, the most recent information matters the most. Finally, we may periodically adjust the mathematical model used to calculate the Avvo Rating, which could result in a change to a lawyer’s numerical rating.

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