This post is the fifth in a series in which I’ll be taking a look at how technology is impacting the law and the way legal professionals practice.

A big part of the reason I blog here at GJEL is to help potential clients understand what we’re about. Hopefully, they can get a sense of who we are by reading the entries here. For example, I’m writing about legal technology a lot this month, and while doing that is partly a way to share information, it’s also partly to show potential clients that we’re aware of these things, and that we’re really participating in the legal community at the highest and most advanced level. Other times, I blog about changes in the law, important cases or verdicts, or other items of important news–news that is valuable to our colleagues, and also to our clients. Again, it also has the effect of letting our clients know that we’re on top of legal news.

But what about the excellent attorneys out there who might not have a blog? They might not be as tech-savvy, or they simply might not have the time to keep a blog going. How can a potential client tell that those firms are at the top of their game in the courtroom or at the negotiating table?

And what about the attorneys who aren’t so great, but do a lot of marketing that would indicate that they are great? How can potential clients keep from hiring an attorney who won’t do the very best job possible for them?

How can a consumer find a great attorney?

Enter Avvo.

Avvo is a legal directory that offers information on attorneys around the country. Each attorney has a profile on Avvo that lists his or her bar admissions, peer ratings, client ratings, publications, speaking engagements, areas of practice, and whether or not the attorney has engaged in professional misconduct. Overall, it’s a good look at a lawyer’s accomplishments, and it has honest reviews from other professionals and from clients who have worked closely with these attorneys.

However, not all attorneys have claimed their profiles yet. Those attorneys have had their information pulled from public sources, and of course clients can still rate them. But those profiles may be less helpful than those that have been claimed. For example, our managing partner, Andy Gillin, has claimed his profile. Take a look, and see –he has his picture in place, and his information is fairly complete. Compare it with an unclaimed profile, which isn’t quite as helpful.

Most of us who are reading and writing out in the legal blogosphere and are following legal technology believe that Avvo will continue to grow and become an even more reliable source than it already is.

But Avvo also goes farther than just offering general attorney ratings. They also offer some basic legal advice, from the attorneys who are on Avvo. Attorneys can contribute legal guides, which offer basic advice on any number of issues. Or, they can provide answers to questions that anyone can ask. This is, of course, useful for anyone who has a legal issue and is looking for some help before hiring an attorney–maybe just to get a basic idea of what will happen in their situation. And to further help a potential client figure out which attorney to hire, the answers given by attorneys can also be rated.

Avvo–It’s For Attorneys, Too.

One of the things I really love about Avvo, though, is that they realize that the best way to develop a good attorney directory is to interact with the attorneys themselves. Rather than just having anonymous clients rate attorneys, Avvo also incorporates endorsements from others who are practicing attorneys. They reach out to attorneys and encourage them to claim their profiles, to use them as a way to let clients know more about them.

In fact, I’m attending the Avvocating Conference that Avvo is putting on in January. At that conference, Avvo has promised that I’ll “hear directly from technology leaders how hot trends in technology are changing the face of the legal industry.” Just another way to keep our firm at the forefront of the changing legal market so that we can do a better job telling our clients who we are, finding the people we can help, and doing a good job representing them.

Whether you’re an attorney looking to learn more about our changing field, or someone’s future client who needs the advice of an attorney, Avvo has something to help you find the right information.

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Andy Gillin

Andy Gillin received his Bachelor’s Degree from the University of California at Berkeley and his law degree from the University of Chicago. He is the managing partner of GJEL Accident Attorneys and has written and lectured in the field of plaintiffs’ personal injury law for numerous organizations. Andy is a highly recognized wrongful death lawyer in California.