In 2007 John Henry Browne, a criminal defense attorney, claimed that his Avvo.com rating of 3.7 was damaging his practice. He filed a lawsuit against Avvo, but it was dismissed on pre-trial motion.

In 2008 attorney Charles Krugel wanted to cancel his membership and un-claim his Avvo profile, on the grounds that Avvo was biased against small firms and solos. Avvo responded to his request by saying, “Now that you have claimed your profile it cannot be un-claimed.”

A recent post by Jay Fleischman says that many attorneys live in fear of a bad review on Avvo.

In my opinion the hoopla over Avvo is unwarranted.

There is a more popular review system that is being overlooked, and that is the Google Local Business review.

Sure Avvo received 600,000 unique visitors in December 2009. But 600,000 pales in comparison to Google’s stats. According to Google’s keyword tool, the December 2009 search volume for the word lawyer was 11,100,000. And when people run a Google search query on the word “lawyer” combined with a geographic region like “Chicago” they come face to face with Google local business results. The results include a map, firm names, and firm reviews.

It takes 10 minutes for a firm to set up a free profile in the Google Local Business Center. It takes even less time for a satisfied customer to post a review on Google. Your satisfied client just has to click on “write a review.” They don’t even have to set up an account, as they do on Avvo, to submit a review.

The bottom line is that lay people are not likely to go straight to Avvo.com to find a lawyer, and it does not come up on the first page when you search with a phrase like “New York employment lawyer.” What does come up, when you search for “New York employment lawyer” is a map and some firm names. Try it for yourself and you will see that point B on the map is for the Blanch Law Firm, and they have 10 glowing reviews.

I’m not advocating that lawyers ditch Avvo.com. I am all for tools that allow consumers to rate products and services. I am simply suggesting that a free, extremely visible review tool should not be ignored.

By: Kelly Spradley, VP of Marketing and Sales at Impirus
www.impirus.com/

(To submit a guest post, please contact me at legalwatercooler@gmail.com. Remember, no hard sales for your company … just write about stuff that’s interesting for members of the legal industry … and don’t take yourself too seriously.)

  • It’s sleazy for Avvo to have attorneys “claim” their profile and then not permit that same attorney to “unclaim” their profile as an opt out to Avvo. As far as I can tell, Avvo is the only online networking tool that doesn’t permit users to “unclaim” or disown their profile or status.

  • Hoy

    Truth should never be referred to as sleazy. Perhaps your profession could be though….cry me a river….I wrote a very truthful review that could be backed up with attorney letters to this little weasel Probate thug.
    Instead of filing an actual suit (cause he did not have one) I was sent an extortion letter….”pay me $5,000.00 or I WILL SUE…” what the hell is that? The higher the monkey (or attorney) climbs, the more he does expose”. REVIEWS are just that. our experience and opinion. If they did some actual work for their $300.00 an hour, they may not be getting so many NEGATIVE reviews.

  • namaryaja

    I understand every attorney has an opportunity to review the comments on Avvo and if they do not agree with a negative comment, Avvo will promptly remove them. Hence the so called Avvo rating for the lawyers is a big sham.

  • Some attorneys are no doubt competent, but AVVO is mainly a trolling site for clients used by the incompetent.

  • Andrew

    Avvo is little more than a copy and paste of what is on a state bar’s website anyway, i.e. if you left your phone number off the state bar, it doesn’t appear on Avvo. Avvo masquerades as the messiah of lawyer ratings and legal advice, but Avvo itself is riddled with ripoff and complaint references obliterating its credibility, as does its stupid advertising. When Avvo says something like our lawyers rock, the fact that Avvo lists all the same lawyers in any state as anyone else or the bar for that matter, one knows they are blowing smoke.

  • M. Golden

    I just recently found out that my name and listing is on AVVO. I have never practiced law in the 21 years I have been admitted to the bar and don’t plan on it, and do not want my name associated with Avvo and i have not claimed my profile. For the writer of this article, if you Google my name it is the first listing on Google that comes up- Avvo. Also, another site called Justia which is similar to Avvo, removed my listing as soon as they received my email stating i do not practice and have no plans to practice. I find this a blatant disregard for my privacy and essentially Avvo.com is a complete scam.