Business of Law

Justia launches new peer-reviewed attorney ratings

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Justia, an online legal information and lawyer marketing service, has added lawyer ratings and reviews to its attorney directory.

“We want to make the Justia directory as robust and useful as possible, so that is why we added the feature,” says Stacy Stern, the company’s president.

The new review process creates a peer-reviewed rating system where attorneys are able to rate other attorneys in four categories: legal knowledge, legal analysis, communication skills and ethics and professionalism. Each category is rated on a scale of one to five and accompanied with a narrative explanation for the rating.

Only attorneys who have created Justia profiles can be reviewed or post reviews.

By being peer-reviewed, Stern says that Justia’s rating system sets itself apart from competitors that rely on client reviews or data collected from the internet. According to Stern, the rating does not take into consideration other factors or third-party data sources.

The reviewing attorney will also provide an overall score from one to 10. All of this information appears on the attorney’s Justia profile page. An attorney can opt out from having this information displayed, which will be noted on the attorney’s profile.

Stacy Stern

Stacy Stern, president of Justia

As for oversight, Stern says that each attorney profile needs to be authenticated by their system before it can leave a review, all reviews are public and they are not allowed to be anonymous. As well, the reviewing attorney has to affirmatively state that they are personally familiar with the lawyers work before leaving the review. Stern says that leaving a dishonest review could leave an attorney subject to bar rules.

There will also be an appeals process for inaccurate reviews, according to Tim Stanley, Justia’s CEO.

“On the appeals side, if someone objects, or says I’ve never worked with this other attorney, we will go back to the original person that wrote the review, we will present them with the review they wrote” and ask for more detail, he says. This will be an opportunity for the reviewing attorney to offer documentation and proof of their claims, which may include a notarized statement verifying the attorney’s review.

Otherwise, Stanley says that spam or a lawyer writing a rapid fire series of negative reviews can be flagged by their system.

This announcement comes shortly after Mark Britton announced he is leaving lawyer review site Avvo, which was recently acquired by Internet Brands. When asked, Stern says the announcement of the new rating features were merely a coincidence with the acquisition and leadership shakeup at one of the best-known online lawyer rating sites.

While just launched, Stern believes that this new feature will help the Justia directory improve.

“A lot of lawyers don’t have a rating yet, but we think that over time it is going to build up,” she says.

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