This week we’re rolling out some small changes to the way we award points to attorneys. Points determine an attorney’s Contributor Levels and placement on the Leaderboard, which potential clients can use to gauge how active an attorney is on Avvo. We’re committed to making the point system as fair and useful as possible, and unfortunately a handful of attorneys have abused the current point system. We’ve implemented a few changes that should address those issues and allow the system to more accurately track attorneys’ real contributions.

Here are the changes we’re making:
 
- Attorneys will only be able to mark “I agree” with an answer if the question was asked within the last two weeks.
- There will be a limited number of times an attorney can mark any answer as “I agree” each calendar month.
- Attorneys will be limited to publishing ten Legal Guides per calendar month.

 

We believe that these changes will improve the system and enhance its utility for the thousands of attorneys who provide contributions each month.
 
Do you have any other suggestions for how to improve the point system, Contributor Levels, or the Leaderboard? Please use the comments below to make suggestions.

 

Thanks,
Tim Ahlers
Avvo Product Manager

9 Comments

Christine McCall on January 24, 2014  ·  Reply

Can you share with the attorneys who participate on the Q and A service the number of “I agree” marks that are allowed per month? It doesn’t seem like there is any need for this detail to remain undisclosed.

Joe on January 24, 2014  ·  Reply

I seriously question the credibility of your rating system. I was just looking at an attorney with some very poor consumer ratings who managed to maintain a 10.0 rating, This attorney could be pursued for breach of faith and negligence, yet is somehow still “superb” — go figure!

Paul J. Molinaro, M.D., J.D. on January 25, 2014  ·  Reply

While I understand the need to control undeserved points, I disagree with the limit on “agrees.” Here’s why… some of the posts, and often from out of state lawyers, are just plain wrong with regard to California law… and one of the ways that these useless posts get flagged is by having a couple agrees while the good posts get lots of agrees… the community of posters, by agreeing or not agreeing, makes it quite clear which posts are more correct or on point. The solution would be to only award points for the first ten agrees per month, then no points but still let lawyers agree. This would add a sort of badge to the best posts.

- Paul

Paul J. Molinaro, M.D., J.D.
Attorney at Law, Physician

Judy Goldstein on February 7, 2014  ·  Reply

I agree with Ms. McCall. That there does not seem to be any need to keep the number of agrees a secret. The attorneys who regularly participate here read many answers and would like to be able to agree with new responses when it is appropriate. As it stands, we must budget our agreements to last through the month, not knowing when we will run out of votes as happened to me in January. I see you did not respond to Ms. McCall’s inquiry which was posted about 2 weeks ago. You owe her the courtesy of a response.

William J. Benz on February 7, 2014  ·  Reply

I do not understand why Avvo allows lawyers to answer questions from residents of states where the attorney is not licensed to practice law.

Joe Dane on February 18, 2014  ·  Reply

I applaud anything Avvo does to curtail abusive, self-serving actions that try and game the system. The leaderboards (and accompanying exposure) were being topped by attorneys who appear to have done nothing else than go along and click on “I agree” for every single answer posted – in any jurisdiction, in any category and without regard to how accurate the answer was. They would “agree” with one answer and also “agree” with an answer that pointed out why the first was incorrect.

I agree with Mr. Benz and his view on limiting answers only to attorneys licensed in that jurisdiction. There can be absolutely no benefit from an out of state attorney taking a wild stab at an answer for a few leaderboard points. I’ve seen answers that were flat out wrong and could lead to harmful results. I know Avvo’s policy has been to let attorneys police themselves, but frankly, it’s not working.

Stephen P. Shepard on February 20, 2014  ·  Reply

I agree with Ms. McCall and believe that Avvo owes her and the entire Avvo legal community a response. It’s nice that Avvo is trying to reduce abuse of the Q&A service, but more transparency regarding these changes is needed. Remember Avvo, without attorneys, your website will fail.

Victoria Worrel on March 9, 2014  ·  Reply

I agree with the posters concerned about this system of peer review. Attorneys will always vouch for each other. It’s a “boys club.” Just like the medical profession. In order to get true transparency, you must seek this out from those who have, in fact, witnessed first hand, and experienced the attorney-client relationship and whether or not it was a successful, valuable, trusting, experience or not. We cannot trust a blog which serves only those who contribute to it and offer self-serving commentary. You must balance the contributing comments of the users of the services of these professionals in order to draw a meaningful and useful conclusion or barometer. Otherwise, this is just another “linked-in” let-me-tell-you how great I am story about somebody without any teeth.

Consumers/unsuspecting clients have a right to know who they will be dealing with before it’s too late. Caveat emptor.

Paul Dunn on March 21, 2014  ·  Reply

I believe a real abuse of the point system is when attorneys “answer” a question that has already been answered by another attorney. They do so by answering “I agree with attorney ***’s answer” (or words to the same effect) when they really should be checking the “I agree” box. They know if their “agreement” with another attorney answer is cast as their “Answer” they will get 10 points, whereas if they check the “I agree” box they would only get 2 points.

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