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August 05, 2008

Martindale-Hubbell: Should we all "just say no"?

images martindael.jpg

Is a Martindale-Hubbell listing worth it anymore?

We're not unhappy with the M-H ratings process; generally speaking, if done responsibly and without in effect requiring the "purchase" of the rating, a credible if imperfect ratings process for the global legal community makes lots of sense. And M-H accomplished that decades ago.* But, in view of other and newer ways for law firms to have visibility and credibility, the price of listings at M-H is now officially a rip-off. Lots of fine lawyers seem to be complaining about it, at least in private, both in the U.S. and non-U.S. It's not that Martindale hasn't tried. See, for example, at Law.com the piece "Martindale-Hubbell Gets a Makeover" (mentioning Avvo, LawLink and Legal OnRamp, as new alternatives for marketing, networking and lawyer ratings).

Our humble take: as other ways to locate lawyers emerged, M-H never saw the light fast enough, and didn't successfully change or expand its other services to preempt a backlash. It continued to charge big listing fees that everyone complained about for years. More recently (say, the last 3 years), M-H expenses managed to stay in law firm budgets--but exceeded just about everyone's irritation levels. M-H listings now makes no business sense to anyone sane. Only the embarrassingly lame, gimmicky "Super Lawyer" concept could make Martindale look good these days.

Start the revolution?

*Martindale-Hubbell is no joke. It has a fine, time-honored and even classy reputation, and a history of good work and real utility in the profession. Our firm, Hull McGuire, has actively and earnestly participated in the M-H ratings processes for years; we are happy with the ratings our lawyers received. But, in good times or bad times, the current cost to list firm attorneys for any size firm, with or without multiple offices, is prohibitive and should be resisted on principle given other alternatives. It just isn't worth it. We predict that lawyers will bolt in droves in the next 2 years.

Posted by JD Hull at August 5, 2008 11:59 PM


I completely agree. Despite our AV rating, we stopped paying MH long ago. I still use it for helping to pick a lawyer in a really small town, but that is it.

Posted by: Dan at August 3, 2008 12:25 PM

Another site for lawyers practicing in small & mid-size firms is Lawyer Search Guide.

A free listing service for lawyers. http://www.lawyerseachguide.com

Posted by: LSG at August 27, 2008 05:56 PM

Have you ever seen the cartoon depicting an Army office under attacked by native Americans? There's a machine guns salesman standing behind him, but he just tells him "can't you see I'm busy?" This is no longer your grand dad's Martindale. visit http://www.marketinglawyers.org/about/ to learn more about the solutions Martindale Hubbell provides to drive quality clients into your office.

Posted by: david knott at March 19, 2009 11:45 PM

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