In a move that underscores the increasing importance of lawyer ratings and reviews in helping consumers select a lawyer, Thomson Reuters announced today that it has acquired the Super Lawyers, the suite of attorney-rating publications and Web site created by Key Professional Media, based in Minneapolis, Minn.
Super Lawyers creates and distributes an annual listing of outstanding U.S. lawyers by state and practice area, reaching 11 million consumers via inserts in leading city and regional magazines, as well as online. Super Lawyers will be part of the Thomson Reuters, Legal, Business of Law group, which offers lawyer marketing and client development tools, and includes the FindLaw and Hubbard One businesses. The Super Lawyers business will be led by Vice President and General Manager Barb McGivern.
I met briefly today with Christopher Kibarian, president of the Business of Law group, who said that the Super Lawyers ratings will be integration in the Findlaw lawyers directory, along with consumer reviews and other information designed to help consumers choose a lawyer. The Super Lawyers site will also continue to operate as a separate site.
“Super Lawyers is an extraordinary complement to our business,” Kibarian said in a press announcement. “Attorneys rely on word-of-mouth and recommendations to build their client base. We’re pleased to be able to provide the attorneys selected to the Super Lawyers list with additional support and services to achieve greater visibility and recognition for their accomplishments.”
Kibarian said that a key priority for Thomson will be to provide assurances of the independence and integrity of Super Lawyers ratings. Super Lawyers already employs a rigorous selection process, he said, one that has been recognized by bar associations and courts across the country for its credibility and sophistication. It combines peer nominations and evaluations with third-party research. Each candidate is evaluated on 12 indicators of peer recognition and professional achievement. Selections are made on an annual, state-by-state basis.
On top of that, Thomson will create an independent advisory board to ensure the integrity and independence of the ratings process.
I will write more about this, but this is clearly part of a larger trend towards providing consumers of legal services with the same types of reviews and ratings that consumers expect when buying other products and services.