Wednesday, December 04, 2013


Over the last 5 or 6 years Avvo has succeeded in convincing consumers that attorneys graded highly by Avvo will give them free help and advice.  Of course many of us regularly answer legal questions in our field so the promise is partially true.  But where Avvo has gone over the top is in trying to set standards for the legal community which is actually regulated by the state bar associations.  Avvo pretends to judge the quality of attorneys who donate their time by standards but they won't reveal why except to say (like every one else on the Internet) "we have an algorithm."

First look at the list of highest ranked attorneys (I am one).  Some of them regularly answer questions but the majority have never made any contribution to the Avvo community.  How do these attorneys rate a 10 when they don't participate?  Beats me.  Then look at the answers over a broad range of categories.  The most popular answer is "Hire an attorney,"  seconded only by "I agree with my colleagues."  What that contributes to the discussion is dubious.  But many attorneys earn high Avvo rankings by typing out these empty headed answers.  And they receive the same Avvo credit as an attorney who gives a pertinent and helpful answer however long or short.

Avvo has now started censoring answers by taking down an attorney's comment it doesn't like.  The excuse is "violates community guidelines."  But in what way and which guideline?  Avvo won't say.

Now the real motor that drives Avvo is the answers provided by attorneys for free; by what standard does Avvo (which is not a company of attorneys) judge these answers?  Occasionally a more than usually stupid question may be answered sharply.  For fear of offending consumers Avvo takes these down, again according to unstated principles.

The biggest scam is that you will see the word PRO by some attorney listings.  This seems to be an endorsement but it is not. PRO simply means that the attorney pays Avvo a monthly fee supposedly to have his account activity monitored.  All fine and good but the designation PRO is false and misleading.

Avvo is not going to go away but before you hire attorney look further than the Avvo ratings because they mean nothing.  Absolutely nothing.


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