How Important Is "AV" Rated, Preeminent Listing?

In finding a criminal defense attorney?

I see several on my short list listing these accomplishments, while many others don't. Is this a real / legitimate accomplishment? Or a marketing advantage that is basically paid for??

Any insight appreciated...

I know several great lawyers that are not AV rated and several terrible ones that are. It is good to have, but it isn't the end all be all of lawyering. I know a lot of great lawyers that aren't even rated.

You need to remember that CV is the maximum rating that an individual can achieve if he has only been in the bar 3 years. BV is up to 9 years.

So if a young attorney is a fucking superstar, it doesn't matter. He gets a CV. If an old attorneys mental faculties are slipping, but he has been in the bar 40 years, well......he gets an AV.

So it isn't the only thing you should judge.

Let me use this as an example:

I just looked through the ratings for my city. There are only about 15 - 20 "players" in criminal law up here. There were 23 AV rated criminal lawyers. I had never heard of 5. That says a lot about them being criminal defense attorneys. 2 out and out suck ass as a lawyer. 3 I have the utmost respect for and would hire. 1 is retired. I saw his last trial about a year ago. 12 don't even practice criminal law, but have it listed as one of their areas.

The five best attorneys on there are rated as follows: BV, AV, AV, unrated, and BV in that order.

The two AV rated guys that are on my list don't handle misdemeanors and you better walk in ready to pay $25k to start.

Its not really a paid advertisement. Its something like this: They send you something in the mail, asking for the names of 5 lawyers unrelated to you and one judge. The ratings company contacts these people and each one provides a recommendation. Thats your score. I never bothered to send in my names. It would not make any professional difference to me. I would hope that I would get good ratings, though maybe I never sent in my names because I was not prepared to take that chance !

Thanks for the replies. My question comes because:

I work with a very large corporate litigation / legal firm. They have many "super lawyers" in many specialties. All are are ivy league (top % graduates), etc.

I had a friend in need of a "criminal attorney" (1st offense possession charge). My corporate attorney steered me away from his firm, saying this particular type of case didn't warrant the services (and price structure) of a high dollar firm, rather would be better served by a competent attorney.

He gave me 3 names on his short list (similar to what bflex did above) of qualified attorneys for this type of charge. I did some research and only one of those is AV rated...the others are "unrated".

My hunch is that any of the 3 would do well based on the replies.

Thanks again...

Unless you are dealing with very highend white collar crime, most criminal defense attorneys fly solo or very close to it. Not many big firms want crack dealers walking in and out of their doors. It just isn't good for the other types of business.

For the most part, those ratings are lifetime achievement awards, nothing to do with actual skill.  Younger attorneys are rated lower regardless of skill, older attorneys are rated higher despite lack of any skill.

Best evidence of a lawyer's skill is a referral from another lawyer.