Why you shouldn’t rely upon the ratings in Super Lawyers Magazine

by | Feb 5, 2014 | General Info | 0 comments

I just received the 2014 edition of Super Lawyers Magazine for Maryland.  It lists about three dozen Montgomery County lawyers as being Super Lawyers in the field of family law.   There is no scientific validity to the selection and rating process used to identify these so-called best or top lawyers in Montgomery County, Maryland.

In fact, this rating guide contains a typical disclaimer, stating: “THE HIRING OF AN ATTORNEY IS AN IMPORTANT DECISION THAT SHOULD NOT BE SOLELY BASED UPON ADVERTISING OR THE LISTINGS IN THIS MAGAZINE.  NO REPRESENTATION IS MADE THAT THE QUALITY OF THE LEGAL SERVICES PERFORMED BY THE ATTORNEYS LISTED IN THIS MAGAZINE WILL BE GREATER THAN THAT OF OTHER LICENSED ATTORNEYS”.

Unlike the ranking of colleges or the quality of life in different cities, there is no objective criteria to rate lawyers.  At most, the designation of top, best, or super lawyer signifies that the attorney has obtained some degree of popularity in Montgomery County, Maryland.  But you wouldn’t want to choose a football league’s MVP based upon the player’s popularity.  Instead, you would want to award this honor to the player who had the best season based upon measurable metrics, such as touchdowns thrown, points scored, passes caught, or yards gained.

In fact, the use of the designation of “best attorney” or “top lawyer” in advertising actually violates Rule 7.1(c) of the Maryland Lawyers’ Rules of Profession Conduct.  This rule prohibits an attorney from comparing “the lawyer’s services with other lawyers’ services, unless the comparison can be factually substantiated”.  According to Maryland Bar Counsel, a Maryland attorney should never use superlatives, such as “top”, “super”, “premier”, “best”, “most aggressive”, or “most successful”, because “it is almost impossible for the lawyer to factually substantiate” such claims.

My advice to clients is to disregard all print and internet advertising that claims that the attorney is the “best”, “top”, “greatest”, or “most” when searching for an attorney in Montgomery County, Maryland.  Please read my post on how to retain a family or divorce attorney that will best serve your needs: https://stewartsutton.com/tag/best-divorce-attorney-in-montgomery-county

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