Named Top Lawyers in Las Vegas by Greenspan Media Group/Vegas, Inc., and Desert Companion
Lawyer Referral and Rating Services:
If our firm doesn’t offer the legal services you need, here are several suggestions for referral sources. However, before, even seeking a lawyer you will need to know in what state the lawyer must be licensed to practice.
LICENSES TO PRACTICE LAW ARE STATE SPECIFIC:
As a general rule you will need a lawyer licensed to practice in the state where the event you are suing over took place. For example, if you are suing because you were hurt in a car wreck, a lawyer licensed in the state where the car wreck took place can always represent you. The state that the at fault driver resides in can also be the state that suit is filed in. If you are in a car wreck in Idaho, for example, involving a collision with an Idaho driver, suit will probably have to be filed in Idaho. Some states, such as Idaho, may allow a Nevada attorney to attempt to negotiate such a case, but not file suit on it. Other states, including Nevada, do not allow an attorney not licensed in the state to negotiate the case. In a bar discipline case, the Nevada state bar sanctioned a Nevada law firm because it allowed a lawyer licensed in Arizona but not Nevada to negotiate with an insurance company on a Nevada car collision case.
WHO CAN CLAIM TO BE A SPECIALIST?
Currently the Nevada State Bar offers Certifications only in the following areas: Business Bankruptcy, Child Welfare Law, Civil Trial Advocacy, Criminal Trial Advocacy, Elder Law and Family Law. The Nevada State Bar’s website lists lawyers with these certifications. Most lawyers practicing in these areas, however, do not bother to get the state bar certification. THE NEVADA STATE BAR DOES NOT ALLOW LAWYERS TO CLAIM TO BE SPECIALISTS UNLESS THEY HAVE A SPECIALITY CERTIFICATION. SINCE THE NEVADA STATE BAR DOES NOT CURRENTLY OFFER A SPECIALITY CERTIFICATION IN PERSONAL INJURY, NO NEVADA LAWYER CAN ETHICALLY CLAIM TO BE A PERSONAL INJURY SPECIALIST. There are plans for speciality certification in personal injury, probate, and perhaps other areas but to date these speciality certifications are not set up.
DOES THE REFERRAL SERVICE CHARGE A FEE?
Most state bars, including the Nevada State Bar, 702-382-2200, offers a lawyer referral service. The Nevada State Bar’s lawyer referral service does not charge clients but it does require a 20% referral fee from the lawyer accepting the case. If it is a close call as to whether the case is a good one, the 20% referral fee obligation could make the lawyer decide to decline the case. The Nevada State Bar’s referral service occasionally refers excellent cases but they do not screen cases for merit and many law firm receptionists dump unpromising prospective clients onto the state bar’s lawyer referral service. Any Nevada lawyer without bar discipline problems and with malpractice insurance can sign up with the Nevada State Bar for referrals. Most lawyers at Reed & Mansfield are not currently signed up with the State Bar of Nevada’s lawyer referral service. The Nevada State Bar does have a Find a Lawyer page on its website that lists all lawyers licensed to practice in Nevada. All lawyers practicing in Nevada have to pay an annual membership fee to the Nevada State Bar and all such lawyers are in this data base without additional charge, but the data base cannot be searched by practice area. It can only be searched by the lawyer’s location.
Las Vegas is in Clark County and the Clark County Bar offers an online referral service, www.clarkcountyfindalawyer.org Lawyer who are members of the Clark County Bar pay an annual or monthly fee to be listed on this referral website. A lawyer who is a dues paying member of the Clark County Bar but who does not pay the additional monthly or annual fee for a listing on this website cannot be found on this website. The Clark County Bar does not share in the lawyer’s fee.
The Nevada Justice Association (formerly Nevada Trial Lawyers Association) is an organization promoting the interests of plaintiffs’ personal injury lawyers and their clients. It has a website, www.nevadajustice.org the home page of which has a find a lawyer tab. It lists lawyers by name or practice type. Members can list a few practice types for free and pay for additional listings. Lawyers are listed alphabetically up to the first 50 for each practice type. The drop down menu for practice areas is very specific. For example, there is a category for police misconduct, and separate categories for age discrimination, employment discrimination, gender discrimination, and racial discrimination. Professional malpractice includes, legal malpractice, medical malpractice, and nursing home malpractice. For popular areas such as auto negligence or personal injury you won’t find Reed & Mansfield because there are more than 50 lawyers or law firms listed whose names begin with a letter closer to the beginning of the alphabet. Also, we do not pay for additional listings as we think this list is under-used.
LAWYER RATING FIRMS:
www.Avvo.com is the most popular lawyer rating service used by consumers and, increasingly, lawyers are using it as well. At Reed & Mansfield if we need to make a referral to an out of state lawyer, we always look at avvo.com reviews. Avvo.com does not charge lawyers to be listed or rated. Avvo.com lawyer rating system is based on a proprietary system that is designed to measure the lawyer’s ability and is not based on consumer reviews although it lets consumers rate the lawyers. You cannot get a top Avvo.com rating by just getting good client reviews.
Martindale Hubbell, www.martindale.com, was the dominant attorney rating service before the internet and is still used mainly by business and insurance company clients. In the “old days” Martindale Hubbell rated all lawyers whether or not they advertised in the Martindale Hubbell directory. Currently, though, Martindale Hubbell has two rating systems. One is the traditional peer-review rating and currently Martindale Hubbell does not rate lawyers who do not advertise in its directory and will not upgrade or change the rating of lawyers with a pre-existing Martindale-Hubbell rating who do not advertise with them. This means that younger lawyers who do not advertise will never have a Martindale-Hubbell peer review rating and older lawyers who do not advertise are stuck with an out of date Martindale-Hubbell peer review rating. Reed & Mansfield does not pay to advertise in Martindale-Hubbell. However, clients can go online and rate lawyers on Martindale-Hubbell whether or not the lawyer advertises in Martindale-Hubbell. Martindale owns the website Lawyer.com where our firm has a free listing but because we do not pay Martindale, the sites says that our phone number and websites are unavailable.
Avvo.com and Martindale.com are the two major lawyer rating systems that are not based either entirely or largely on client reviews. Both claim to be objective and to a large extent are. However, Martindale.com is based entirely on reviews by other lawyers, including judges, and Avvo.com says that two points for its top ten point rating can be based on reviews by other lawyers. Any rating system dependent on peer review can be subject to mutual favors or requests for favorable reviews.
www.yelp.com which started as a place for foodies to rate restaurants is now allowing consumers to rate and review lawyers and law firms. Generally, though, a consumer who opens a Yelp.com account to rate an attorney will not get the review published if the legal review is the consumer’s first review. Yelp does not charge a lawyer to be listed.
www.Google.com lets consumers who have a Google.com account, for example, a gmail.com account, to rate lawyers. Generally, it is the most complicated site for a consumer to give a review. Google does not charge attorneys to be listed.
Rating companies such as www.avvo.com , www.yelp.com , and www.Google.com make their money by selling ads next to the ratings. For example, if you looked for personal injury lawyers in Las Vegas on www.avvo.com, you would find three ads on the top of the page, a bigger ad on the right hand side, and then a list of top-rated avvo.com personal injury lawyers. Since we do a little, but not much such web advertising, we hope that people looking for lawyers will pay more attention to the "organic search results" than to the paid ads. Google, Avvo, and Yelp all try to be objective in their rating or review policies. Many lawyers hire consultants to constantly tweak their websites in the hopes that their websites will come up on the first page of various consumer searches. Buying ads is a way to insure placement on the first page of a search. As more and more lawyers submit their data to Avvo for a rating, more and more lawyers get the desired top rating of 10 (even if most lawyers don't) so the chance of a lawyer with a 10 rating coming up on the first page of an Avvo search decreases. Avvo, of course, takes advantage of this by offering the lawyer a sure first page showing if the lawyer pays for an ad.