The law firm of Maxwell & Morgan, P.C. is proud of its slogan “More Qualified, Less Expensive”. The slogan is based upon many factors, including billing rates of up to $115.00 per hour less than other similarly situated law firms limiting their practice to community association law, and the fact that Maxwell & Morgan is Arizona’s only AV rated law firm devoted exclusively to community association law and litigation. The firm worked hard to secure its AV rating. What, therefore, is an AV rating; what criteria is involved in the rating; and is the rating based upon independent analysis? Many of these questions can be answered by going to www.martindale.com/ratings.
What is an AV rating? “An AV rating is a significant rating accomplishment–a testament to the fact that a lawyer’s peers rank him or her at the highest level of professional excellence. A lawyer must be admitted to the bar for 10 years or more to receive an AV rating.” Id.
What criteria is involved in the rating? Attorneys are evaluated based upon their “adherence to professional standards of conduct and ethics, reliability, diligence, and other criteria relevant to the discharge of professional responsibilities.” Id. The ratings “take into consideration the standard of professional ability in the area where the lawyer practices, the lawyer’s expertise, and other professional qualifications. If a lawyer’s practice is limited or specialized, Peer Review ratings are based on performance in those specific fields of law.” Id.
Is the rating based upon independent analysis? Yes. Unlike any other rating system for lawyers, the Martindale-Hubbell rating system is “based on the confidential opinions of members of the Bar and the Judiciary.” Id. Who better to rate a lawyer than the lawyer’s own peers.
Does a lawyer have to have a paid listing in the Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory to be rated? No. Id. Lawyers are rated regardless of whether “they have a paid listing.” Id. Most lawyers who have practiced 10 or more years have been through the rating process, regardless of whether they had any interest in being rated. Id. “Some lawyers request not to have any rating published…” Id.
How does a ranking in a publication such as The Business Journal of Phoenix compare to a Martindale-Hubbell Peer Review rating? It is the opinion of Charles E. Maxwell that no comparison can be made to a Peer Review rating due to the method and criteria involved in the rating process. For example, many of the law firms listed in the Business Journal are self-nominated and the “rank criteria” is based solely on the number of local lawyers in the law firm. Even the “fine print” on the lists ranking law firms in the Business Journal states that the lists do not constitute an endorsement of participants or “imply that the ranking of a firm indicates its quality.” Id.
If size is your only criteria for evaluating law firms, you may not have considered Maxwell & Morgan. If, however, quality, experience, knowledge, reputation in the legal and judicial community and ethics, combined with some of the lowest billing rates in the Arizona community association legal arena are important to you, please consider Maxwell & Morgan for your community association legal needs.