Most people (that don’t know me) hire me for one of two reasons: (1) they were referred to me by one of my former clients, or by another lawyer, or (2) they see that I was a U.S. Marine, and that means something to them. And I personally think either of those reasons is fine. But no matter how you get to me, or how you go about selecting any lawyer, it boils down to two things: find a lawyer you can trust, and one that can competently handle your case.
Which is why I really don’t think much of these lawyer ratings services, and I usually don’t talk about them. Awards and ratings are available for just about anyone if they hang around long enough, or if they ask for them. But I would like to share this latest accomplishment, as it involves being rated based on reviews from judges and others in the legal profession, and I was pleasantly surprised with how it came out.
Martindale-Hubbell is a company that provides a lawyer rating system, which evaluates lawyers and law firms based on peer reviews. Their ratings system is based on the confidential opinions of members of the Bar and the Judiciary. Martindale-Hubbell representatives conduct personal interviews with members of the Bar to discuss those members under review. Additionally, confidential questionnaires are sent to lawyers and judges in the same geographic area and/or area of practice as the member being rated. All Rating review materials are strictly confidential, to allow participants to provide candid assessments of their colleagues. After these reviews are compiled, the lawyer is either given no rating at all, CV, BV, or AV. From their website:
- A CV Rating is an excellent first Rating and a statement of a lawyer’s above average ability and very high ethics.
- A BV Rating is an indication of an exemplary reputation and well-established practice. A typical lawyer is in mid-career, with a significant client base and high professional standard.
- An AV Rating shows that a lawyer has reached the height of professional excellence. He or she has usually practiced law for many years, and is recognized for the highest levels of skill and integrity.
I began the ratings process earlier this year, and I was shocked several weeks ago when the results came back and I was rated “AV-Preeminent” in the areas of criminal law, personal injury, and general practice. The report also included several comments from those that rated me:
- Clarence is an outstanding lawyer. His professionalism, knowledge of the law and work ethic is admirable. Clarence is one of the finest lawyers I have ever worked with. He deserves the highest rating.
- Mr.Guthrie has appeared in front of me on a few tricky criminal matters. He is highly ethical and a “straight shooter.” One of the cases was tried under intense media scrutiny, and I thought he did a very good job for his client.
- Clarence is an expert in criminal defense work, including constitutional law issues, due process issues, ethics, and the multitude of other issues that are involved with representing individuals — and this includes civil lawsuits.
I don’t know who made these comments, but let me take this opportunity to thank you if it was you.
As I related above, don’t hire me, or any lawyer, without checking up on them first, and certainly don’t hire anyone because they brag the loudest, or look the prettiest (I’d never get any business if that were the case). If you need a criminal defense lawyer, your freedom is on the line. Ask around, choose wisely, and then build a relationship and work with your lawyer for the best possible result.