I never wanted a relationship with Avvo. Maybe it was because I worked for the “other guys” for a bit, or maybe it was because they created a profile in my name without my permission and slapped an inescapable score of mediocrity upon my name without knowing anything about my practice or professional skills, but I disliked Avvo from the start.
As the greatest artist of our time would say, “I knew you were trouble when you walked in … so shame on you now-ow.”
But, alas, when I started my full-time practice, there it was: that damned mediocre score, plaguing my search results. So I claimed my profile. A few months later, this is where we stand:
I Actually Like the Q&A Section
I’ve answered a few questions. And the response from other attorneys has been positive. But even more helpful are the other answers that come in after I’ve posted — attorneys thinking of something to add to my answer. It’s interesting and educational to see what other lawyers think about the same problem, especially when their advice is a mix of law and the real world.
And the Reviews and Peer Endorsements
Unlike many others out there, I actually like review sites. Maybe it’s because I’ve never gotten a bad review, but I figure that the more feedback I get, the more I can learn. And most clients are smart enough to ignore the raving loonies who write a 500 word rant about how you wouldn’t take their case on for free. (A friend still has that review stuck to his Yelp page. Ridiculous.)
Peer endorsements are a good idea, in theory, but let’s be honest: it’s basically a quid-pro-quo, friends patting friends on the back, sort of practice. I’d hope that no client would say, “he has 57 other lawyers who like him! He must be good!” Except, peer endorsements seem to affect Avvo ratings, so it does seem to work, at least to an extent.
But I Despise Arbitrary Scores
So, I played their game: four 5-star client reviews, one peer endorsement, and a handful of answered questions. How much has my score gone up? I don’t believe that it has. At all.
But if I really wanted a score boost (which matters to clients, if the cold calls my suite mates are getting are any indication), apparently changing my photo to a goat and puffing my profile with made up awards and publications might do the trick. I’d rather be honest and underrated, however.
I know lawyers who are awful. They have 10s. I know lawyers who are great. They refuse to play the game and have a five or a six.
Also, that shady SEO trick is still rubbing me the wrong way.
TL;DR: Avvo forced me to claim a profile created in my name. I’m still a bit bitter, especially since I can’t get my Avvo rating to go up. But props on the Q&A section, which is helpful for free riders and fellow lawyers alike.
EDIT: Also, I hate the cold calls for advertising and the other lawyers’ faces and ratings plastered across my profile. Kind of a dick move to create a profile in my name, then put a bunch of other people with their shiny Avvo ratings on it.