New Search Website Delivers Information and Guidance Consumers Need to Choose the Right Lawyer
Seattle, Wash — Seattle-based Avvo, Inc., today launched www.avvo.com, the only website that rates and profiles every lawyer so consumers can choose the right lawyer. Consumers have never before had access to the level of information and guidance Avvo provides, including the Avvo Rating, disciplinary sanctions and client ratings. The launch of the free website marks the first time attorney ratings have been available for every attorney and the first time that detailed profiles and disciplinary information for those attorneys have been available in a single place.
Choosing a lawyer is a major life decision with serious implications yet most people have no idea how to approach it. In a recent survey by Ipsos1, only 17 percent of respondents felt very confident in their ability to choose the right lawyer if they needed one. Similarly, only 17 percent reported that it was easy to research detailed information on attorneys. According to the survey, 25 million Americans avoided seeking legal help from an attorney over the past two years because they didn’t know how to choose the right lawyer.
“Choosing the right lawyer is difficult and stressful,” said Mark Britton, Avvo CEO and a 15-year attorney who was previously general counsel at Expedia.com. “This is not a decision you want to make based on who bought the biggest Yellow Pages ad. My friends and family automatically come to me for advice and lawyer referrals since I’m an attorney. But even with the resources I have available to me as a lawyer, it’s hard to find all the information I need to make a good decision. People need help choosing the right attorney and Avvo provides it.”
The most critical piece of guidance Avvo provides is the Avvo Rating, which is Avvo’s assessment of how well a lawyer could represent a client. The rating is based on a proprietary mathematical model applied equally to each lawyer to analyze information Avvo has about them, including their experience, disciplinary sanctions and professional achievements. The Avvo Rating was developed with input from legal experts, hundreds of lawyers and thousands of consumers.
To gather detailed and often hard-to-find information on attorneys, Avvo scoured state courts, bar associations and lawyers’ websites to collect information on lawyers’ experience, practice areas, professional achievements and disciplinary sanctions. In addition, consumers can submit client ratings and lawyers can endorse each other and upload content to their profiles so that users can see a complete picture of any attorney.
“Avvo is really powerful and a much needed product,” said Dan Lehman of State College, Pa. “I love how easy it is to use and it’s very intuitive. I plugged in my zip code and found more than 170 lawyers in my area. From that point, I was able to quickly refine and sort the results by filtering on practice area and sorting by Avvo Rating to a tailored list I can use. It’s so simple and very effective.”
The website currently includes profiles and ratings on every licensed attorney in Arizona, California, District of Columbia, Georgia, Illinois, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas and Washington. Avvo will be adding more states on a regular basis.
According to the Ipsos survey commissioned by Avvo, 29 percent of American households have looked for an attorney within the last two years, and more people say they would now look online than in the Yellow Pages.
“There is a sizeable online opportunity for companies like Avvo that can serve the average Joe with search-based resources to find a local lawyer,” says Michael Boland, senior analyst with The Kelsey Group. “The combination of the amount of information it aggregates, its user-generated content tools and proprietary rating system should help Avvo gain traction among increasingly savvy and empowered Internet users, and improve its search engine rankings.”
Avvo is also an excellent resource for lawyers. It gives every lawyer a free online profile that can be updated as often and with as much information as desired. According to the American Bar Association’s 2006 Legal Technology Survey, only 40 percent of solo practitioners have a website. Lawyers can also give and receive peer endorsements, which demonstrate to a prospective client the network of lawyers they can access, if needed, to assist with that client’s case.
“There’s nothing like this that I know of, and I think it will be a big help to attorneys, especially in smaller firms,” said Jared Eigerman, a California land use attorney.
Headquartered in Seattle and founded in early 2006, Avvo is dedicated to helping consumers better navigate the complex legal industry. Avvo.com is the only lawyer search website that rates and profiles every lawyer to help consumers find the right lawyer. The free site provides the information and guidance consumers need, including the Avvo Rating, disciplinary sanctions, and client ratings. Avvo also gives every attorney a free online profile they can update as often and with as much information as they want. Avvo is privately held with funding from investors Benchmark Capital and Ignition Partners. For more information, visit www.avvo.com.
1During April and May of 2007, Ipsos conducted an omnibus online survey of approximately 1,000 adults, all aged 18 and older. The study was commissioned by Avvo Inc. Ipsos reports a 95 percent confidence level that the results of both surveys are accurate to within +/- 3 percent.