The lawyer rating site Avvo unveiled a major redesign of its Web site last night in order to enhance user access to its three main features: Lawyer Search, Answers & Advice and Legal Guides. It also formally launched its Legal Guides, a series of brief overviews of legal topics written by private attorneys or Avvo staff. Avvo CEO Mark Britton provides details at the Avvo blog:

“As we promised from the beginning, we have been collecting your feedback and have made many of the changes you asked for. One of the biggest changes is our new search functionality. It is very cool in that it puts Avvo users just a click away from the lawyer, legal information, and legal advice they’re looking for. Looking for information on ‘divorce in Seattle’? Just type in those words, click, and you’ll be presented with top-rated divorce attorneys in Seattle, Legal Guides related to divorce, and questions (with answers) other people have asked about divorce.”

In other Avvo news, I was please to see that J. Craig Williams, the California lawyer with whom I cohost the legal-affairs podcast Lawyer2Lawyer, has been named to Avvo’s Legal Advisory Board. Congratulations to Craig!

  • Anonymous

    After all the hype on Good Morning America about this site, I looked at it and tried it out. I was disappointed. Of course, I am a more sophisticated consumer than average (I’m married to an attorney), but I found that lawyers are able to manipulate the site to get good ratings, and that the best lawyers by any objective criteria actually have lower ratings than new practitioners who just happen to have a lot of friends who can go on the site and boost their ratings. I also found that the top lawyers are sometimes not even on the site at all. Overall, I wouldn’t use this site to find a lawyer. I admire the founder’s desire to help consumers, but this site doesn’t do much to achieve that goal, other than perhaps warning consumers away from really, really bad people (those with public disciplinary records). Its rating system for top lawyers, however, is something of a joke. Superlawyers is better.

  • @ 11:42 AM: Thanks for checking out our site. I’m sorry you had a disappointing experience. Regarding rating systems, all ratings are subjective. At Avvo (as compared to other legal rating publications/services), we are clear about what factors into their rating (the information in attorney profiles).

  • Anonymous

    You admit that all ratings are subjective–but Avvo purports to give an objective, numerical rating. What’s disturbing is that the rating is in large part determined by how many friends a lawyer has who are willing to go on the site and “improve” the lawyer’s rating–not whether the lawyer is really that good or not. Not many consumers will drill down to see who actually gave the lawyer the ratings. And again, most of the top lawyers are not even on the site, because they are probably too busy practicing law to worry about their Avvo rating. The site gives some useful info, but it’s not what the founder says it is. I suspect that Avvo just doesn’t have the staff (or time and energy) to do the research on lawyers necessary to give consumers a better tool, and it’s more profitable from Avvo’s perspective to leave it up to the subjects to generate their own ratings. A smart consumer would just use Avvo as one tool–along with Superlawyers (which does do the research), Martindale Hubbell (which gets ratings from top lawyers/judges in an area, not just a given lawyer’s friends), Best Lawyers in America, and maybe the local newspaper.

  • Anonymous

    until Avvo figures out a way to stop people from gaming the ratings by having all of their friends submit endosrsements, it’s value is going to severely limited. i predict this site is going to vanish from the web landscape within the next year