Many (most?) of us are besieged with frothy emails advising that we have been elected or nominated to this or that supposedly exclusive club of “Best,” or “Highest-Rated,” or some other “wonderful-elite-and-very-special” lawyer club. And therefore we should buy a plaque to put on the wall for a couple of hundred bucks, or an ad in a glossy throwaway magazine for a few thousand.

We lawyers are generally a vain and insecure tribe, so many of us fall for this flummery. And I imagine that many an inexperienced purchaser of legal services has been misled as well. The fact is that these “ratings” and “awards” are next to worthless.

I’m indebted to Terry Rooney for sending along this blog entry by Jennifer Iverson ( a legal marketing professional)– “Court Exposes Super, Rising, Best – It’s about Time!”  Ms. Iverson nails the scam behind these “ratings,” and urges lawyers and law firms to stop buying into this nonsense.

(September 1, 2017 update- Ms. Iverson’s blog entry is no longer available- FJC.)

This opinion from the New Jersey Committee on Attorney Advertising is also worth the (short) read. Also check this out.

And this and this about doctors. They, as you might expect, are subject to the same vanity scams from plaque-sellers.

There are legitimate lawyer rating agencies, like Martindale-Hubbell, which have some value in assessing a lawyer’s qualifications, because they really do legitimate surveys of other lawyers. But the rest of “lawyer rating” companies and lists? Just fluff and popularity contests.

What set me off was an email the other day from one of these companies advising me that I had been selected to the exclusive club of “The Most-Honored Professionals in America.” How did I merit that fine distinction? Here’s what they say:

[We are] expert[s] in business recognition evaluation. To ensure the highest quality and legitimacy, we waited ten years to establish this, our first official award. It is unique among any other award. Like all professionals included in [our] comprehensive database, these honorees have received significant mentions in the press, honors by recognized trade groups, and/or acclaimed recognitions by peers or clients. What makes these Most Honored Professionals stand out from the rest is their repeated and continuous acknowledgement of authenticated, publicized business recognitions. A Most Honored Professional is part of the top ten, top five, or even top one percent of the most recognized professionals in America. An achievement such as this is considered by [us] to be one of the most dignified of any individual recognition. Qualification is determined on a five year basis. An honoree must have been continuously recognized for professional excellence throughout the last 5 years. Each acknowledgment is carefully considered by a group of researchers who specialize in award evaluation.

Wow, I even made the “Top 1%.” (Thanks to all the little people.) So let me understand this– I win this plaque for winning other plaques. And for only $159, I can put this mother of all plaques on my living room wall.

I think I’ll pass.


Salt Lake Personal Injury Attorney