An Av rating means that an attorney (and his firm) has been rated by his or her peers as “Preeminent” in a particular practice. Martindale-Hubbell conducts the survey. The “A” means that his peers are of the opinion that he meets the highest level of professional excellence. In so concluding, the evaluating attorneys rated him on Legal Knowledge, Analytical Capabilities, Judgment, Communication Ability, and Legal Experience. The “v” means that the attorney has a reputation for very high ethical standards. Only attorneys who qualify for the “v” are eligible for a rating.
There were three levels of ratings: “Rated,” Bv, and Av. Being “Rated” means that the attorney has a good ethical reputation, but it says little about his or her skills or experience. A Bv-rated attorney, on the other hand, is a “Distinguished” attorney, one with exceptional skills as well as a reputation for high ethics. A Bv rating is a widely respected mark of achievement and is not given lightly, since only about 25% of attorneys receive that rating. As stated above, Av means the attorney is “preeminent.” Less than 8% of attorneys ever get that rating.
Each of the five factors mentioned above is rated on a scale of 1 to 5, with 5 being the best. An overall score of between 3.0 and 4.4 entitles one to a Bv rating. Any rating above 4.5 entitles the attorney to an Av rating. Av is the highest possible rating, and no Av attorney can have a higher score in getting that rating than 5.0.