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September 21, 2009

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

Note: The following is from an August 5, 2008 post. Any new takes on this?

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).

*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.

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?

Posted by JD Hull at September 21, 2009 11:59 PM


Start the revolution? More like join it. Firms are abandoning M-H in droves and I predict the snowball/tipping point effect will finally force it to adapt or perish.

Posted by: Dan Harris at September 21, 2009 11:22 AM

I sport an A-V rating.

No one ever asks, because my business comes from referrals where people already know I can get the job done. The A-V rating is irrelevant and the people who send me business probably don't know what Martindale-Hubbell was/is.

I haven't spent money on a listing in about 10 years.

Periodically they try to sell me listings on lawyers.com or whatever it is. Geezer trying to be hip.

Dan you're too kind to M-H. I think they're doomed.

Posted by: Phil Hodgen at September 22, 2009 10:53 AM

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