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I am relying on the ratings on Avvo to determine who I should choose.

Is it reliable?

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    This is not a legal question within the scope of this site.
    – Dale M
    Commented Oct 4, 2022 at 19:56
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    Questions relating to “[d]ealing with legal professionals” are on topic. (See "help center", "what questions I may ask here") This is a special area of the valid questions on this SE since its subject matter (dealing with lawyers) is an additional area on top what the law allows or mandates meaning these questions include merely interpersonal aspects and not such governed by law. The way a client interacts is, apart from corner stones, not governed by law in a strict sense, but such questions being on-topic is so as they are the generally the most prudent way and, frankly, a pre-requisite […]
    – kisspuska
    Commented Oct 5, 2022 at 0:49
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    @Rick The OP's question is amenable to answers that point out aspects of which Avvo does not inform and which the clients ought to ponder when deciding who to retain. Commented Oct 5, 2022 at 11:22
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    @IñakiViggers …which is clearly within the scope of “dealing with legal professionals”, the site also “deal[s] with legal professionals”, and the inquiry seeks answers that materially affects their decisions how and whether or not to “deal[] with [certain] legal professionals”. It walks like a duck, it quacks like a duck, even if it doesn’t feel clear, it’s probably better error on the side of caution, and not to close questions of this scope of such fundamental importance, the gate to the legal system: Attorney’s.
    – kisspuska
    Commented Oct 5, 2022 at 16:10
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    @Rick “The question is seeking views on the reliability of a directory and its star-rating system” of whom? The only thing you fail to mention. Of attorneys. The question deals with how or whether or not to deal with certain attorneys. Kindly address this too.
    – kisspuska
    Commented Oct 5, 2022 at 16:36

1 Answer 1

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No.

Avvo.com is effectively an advertisement platform for attorneys.

Avvo.com deletes detailed accounts of attorney misconduct including such an attorney themselves admits to, for e.g. in a dispute resolved in the attorney’s surrendering of their case upon the involvement of an arbitrator. This is true, including in California, where attorney misconduct is known to be greatly prevalent, left unprosecuted, and covered-up for. (See, for e.g., State Bar doesn’t police attorneys or itself closely enough, state audit finds, San Francisco Chronicle, April, 2022; see also, The State Bar of California’s Attorney Discipline Process, Auditor of State of California, April 14, 2023)

In fact, even low-star ratings may be deleted when an attorney disputes users' ratings without an impartial documents-only hearing.

However, where an attorney successfully accumulated enough 1 and 2-star reviews, and they are shown anything less than 5 stars should be a red flag. The lower the overall rating the greater a red flag, and the more ratings being the base of the overall rating the more well-founded any such red flag is.

All in all, a 5-star avg. rating on that site should not be given any more weight than a billboard reading the “best injury attorneys in the Greater [fill in with choice of city name of metropolitan area] Area, call (888)…”; however, a low rating should raise serious concerns because of the business model and moderation practices of the site administration. (If they say you’re bad, you probably are bad bad.)

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