If you were looking for an attorney on Avvo, chances are you saw both reviews and a score of the attorney on their website.
If you’re wondering if the Avvo Score is reliable in terms of finding a quality attorney my answer to that would be no. Avvo uses a proprietary scoring system based on factors such as reviews, endorsements from other lawyers, and case results to figure out a score between 1 – 10.
Lawyers with low scores under 6 typically have some sort of disciplinary action. This is, of course, a red flag and something you should explore further before hiring that attorney.
However, outside of this, the score is not very valuable because it can be easily manipulated. So when it comes to hiring an attorney, don’t trust the Avvo Score.
But Avvo.com also offer client reviews. While attorneys are regulated in terms of false advertising, the reviews you read were probably left by their happy clients. Avvo reviews can be useful because they should be from actual clients, but they don’t tell you the whole picture.
Before hiring a lawyer based on their Avvo Reviews alone, I would encourage you to Google their name and add “reviews” at the end to see what other reviews on 3rd party websites as well as their law firm website come up for them. If you see them included in directories such as Superlawyers with good reviews that can be a good first step. One thing to consider is that like other review websites, Avvo can be manipulated and Avvo is used frequently in attorney SEO strategies.
Lawyers Still Need to Focus on Avvo Scores & Reviews
If you’re an attorney wondering about your own score, you still need to focus on Avvo score.
The fact is, that potential clients can see your review or score publicly when doing research and may use that information when deciding on whether or not to hire an attorney. It really doesn’t matter if other attorneys think Avvo scores are not worth the ink they’re printed on.
Some attorneys need to have a bit of a paradigm shift and worry more about whether clients believe they should trust them as opposed to other attorneys trusting them.
The reality is though that consumers do trust these reviews or at the very least look at them. How do I know this? A quick search on Quora found questions like “Is Avvo a reliable source to determine if a lawyer is good?” where people are questioning the legitimacy of the reviews.
If consumers are asking these questions, then they’re viewing attorney profiles and reviews.
Should you trust Avvo reviews? For Consumers
While this answer should just be a clean-cut one it’s not. If you are looking for consumer reviews on attorneys, Avvo should be a good place to start. The issue, however, is that it can’t be the end all be all.
The fact is that even though attorneys are held to ethical standards does not mean that their marketing companies are taking that to heart. It also doesn’t mean that there is not an unethical attorney out there trying to manipulate this information.
Whenever you’re making a decision on hiring an attorney you absolutely need to do your due diligence. The reality is that if someone had a bad experience with an attorney you should be able to find it. While AVVO might be a decent place to start you will also want to Google the attorney name and the law firm name with the word “reviews” following the name. This should come up with a variety of results from across the web where you can learn about their past history.
If the attorney was a sleaze-ball you should be able to find the complaints with little effort. On the other hand, if it’s hard to find a negative review or they are few and far between, it may be a good choice to hire them. Alternatively, you may want to think twice about attorneys that don’t have any rating as they may be new. One good thing about Avvo.com and Lawyers.com is that they indicate the year they were admitted to the state BAR so it should be easy to find as well.
Should you trust Avvo reviews? For Attorneys
Attorneys need to come back to earth and look at this problem from a different angle. If you’re an attorney or work for one you should not be concerned about whether or not the reviews are trustworthy. You need to be concerned about reputation management. If someone legitimately leaves a review about you or your law firm they have feedback they want you to see.
If its great feedback you should keep up the good work and take any criticisms as ways you can improve your practice. On the other hand, if it’s a negative review you should focus your primary efforts on making that client happy if possible, playing damage control, and learning from the mistakes made. You can then help refine your processes and improve your firm from this feedback.