ABA Commission: Don't worry about lawyer rankings

By Correy Stephenson

The Daily Record Newswire

The American Bar Association's Ethics 20/20 Commission has issued a report to the House of Delegates finding no evidence of a "pervasive problem" caused by lawyer ranking services.

In February 2010, the House of Delegates directed the commission to "examine any efforts to publish national, state, territorial and local rankings of law firms and law schools."

In response, a working group of commission members queried lawyers, bar associations, disciplinary agencies, consumer groups and ranking services.

The report concluded that no "pervasive problem" existed that would justify further study by the ABA, and that hiring experts to conduct such a study "would be prohibitively expensive."

Roberta Cooper Ramo, a partner at Modrall Sperling in Albuquerque, N.M. and one of the co-chairs of the working group, told the ABA Journal that the report found "no evidence that anyone has been caused any harm by this. That was very important to me."

In a preliminary report issued in April, the working group said that based upon its examination "the Commission on Ethics 20/20 concludes that the ABA need not, at this time, undertake, support or contribute further resources to the study of this subject," in part because of a "paucity of evidence that there exists a pervasive problem that warrants such an undertaking by the ABA."

"States facing specific and identifiable concerns about consumers being misled by ratings or rankings or situations where there is a demonstrated need for the jurisdiction's lawyers to have additional guidance should make relevant resources available.

''Those resources could take the form of an online bibliography or the development and adoption of practice suggestions addressing the range of issues pertaining to a lawyer's participation with entities that rate or rank lawyers or law firms and/or communicate the results of those ratings or rankings," the preliminary report concluded.

Published: Mon, Aug 29, 2011

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