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Explaining the Martindale-Hubbell Rating System for Attorneys

By December 20, 2005March 19th, 2023law practice, Marketing for Lawyers

The Martindale-Hubbell rating system is a trusted lawyer and law firm rating service used to evaluate professionals. This rating system assesses an attorney’s or law firm’s legal ability based on feedback from members of the legal community, such as other attorneys and judges.

What is the Martindale-Hubbell Rating System?

The Martindale-Hubbell rating system is a distinguished lawyer and law firm rating service used to evaluate attorneys and law firms in the United States.

Developed by two lawyers, Charles Martindale, and George Hubbell, in 1868, this rating system assesses an attorney or law firm’s legal ability based on peer review data from other attorneys or judges professionally associated with the attorney or firm.

Using a combination of verdicts, settlements, professional conduct reviews, and confidential opinions obtained from members of the bar and judiciary, the system helps potential clients make informed decisions when selecting legal counsel.

How does the peer review process work?

To evaluate an attorney through the Martindale-Hubbell rating system, attorneys and judges who have worked on a case with the attorney or firm being evaluated participate in a confidential peer review process.

Each participant is asked to rate the legal ability of the attorney or law firm based on their own experience or opinion.

This rating then goes through an evaluation process and provides feedback on various criteria, including legal knowledge, analytical capability, judgment, communication ability, and legal experience.

What are AV Preeminent, AV, and BV ratings?

The AV Preeminent Rating is the highest rating a lawyer can receive from Martindale-Hubbell. It is based on a comprehensive assessment of the attorney’s legal ability, professional experience, and ethical standards.

To determine this rating, Martindale-Hubbell gathers feedback from judges, other attorneys, and legal professionals who have firsthand knowledge of the lawyer’s work. The evaluation process includes a rigorous peer review survey that considers the following factors:

  • Legal Knowledge: The lawyer’s understanding of the laws and regulations relevant to their practice area.
  • Analytical Capabilities: The lawyer’s ability to analyze complex legal issues and develop effective strategies.
  • Judgment: The lawyer’s decision-making skills and ability to achieve desired outcomes.
  • Communication Ability: The lawyer’s effectiveness in communicating with clients, peers, and the court.
  • Legal Experience: The lawyer’s professional experience and accomplishments in their practice area.

Attorneys are rated as an AV when they receive a score between 3.5 – 4.49 out of 5 in the peer review process, BV Distinguished when they receive a 3 – 3.49 out of 5 in the peer review process, and BV Rated (formerly Good) when they receive a 2-2.99 out of 5 in the peer review process.

Client Champion Awards

The Martingale Hubbell rating system also includes Client Champion Awards, recognizing lawyers who have demonstrated outstanding client service. These awards are based on the number and quality of client reviews submitted to Martindale-Hubbell.

There are three levels of Client Champion Awards:

  • Client Champion Silver: At least three client reviews with an average score of 4.0 or higher.
  • Client Champion Gold: At least six client reviews with an average score of 4.2 or higher.
  • Client Champion Platinum: At least ten client reviews with an average score of 4.5 or higher.

How to use the Martingale Hubbell Ratings to find the right lawyer

When searching for a lawyer, it’s essential to consider their Martingale Hubbell Ratings. A high rating signifies that the lawyer has been recognized by their peers and clients for their exceptional legal skills, experience, and ethical standards. To use the ratings effectively, follow these steps:

  1. Visit the Martindale-Hubbell website ( and search for lawyers based on your location, practice area, or specific legal issue.
  2. Review the listed lawyers and their Martingale Hubbell Ratings, focusing on those with AV Preeminent Ratings and Client Champion Awards.


P.S. If you're a practicing lawyer, check out this Law Practice Assessment . After answering a few questions, you'll get detailed recommendations for improving five key areas of your practice.
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