Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Lawyers: Claim your Avvo Profile

Just when you thought you had all the legal directories covered, another one comes along. Avvo is a relative newcomer in the market, with the advantage of offering totally free extended listings. The name is a variation on avvocato, the Italian version of lawyer.

Chances are that you have a profile page on Avvo, even if you don't know about it. The site compiles lawyer listings from public record databases, then invites lawyers to claim their profile. State coverage varies with record accessibility. You can add your photo, educational background, areas of concentration, contact information, and more.

Avvo also "rates" attorneys, based on a mathematical model that considers years in practice, disciplinary history, professional achievements and industry recognition. Consumers can also write a "lawyer review" that is appended to an attorney's Avvo profile. Would this be considered a "testimonial" from a state bar perspective? Interesting question, since Florida for one state does not allow testimonials.

How does the site make money? They plan to launch advertising opportunities on the site in the near future.

Avvo is probably most important for attorneys who target consumers for legal services, including personal injury, family law, immigration, or trust and estate services. Corporate general counsel are more likely to continue relying on established legal directories.

Avvo is offering a free $500 advertising credit to attorneys who transfer their listings from Martindale to Avvo by January 31, 2009. Details at http://www.avvo.com/for_lawyers/avvo-vs-martindale.