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So, what do all those legal awards mean?

It is not uncommon for lawyers and law firms to include professional awards and credentials on their website. While the recognition may mean a lot within the legal profession, most prospective clients visiting a firm's website may have no idea who is eligible to receive the awards or why.

This blog post will explain the various awards and recognition a client may find on websites, including our own.

Super Lawyers

The Super Lawyers website describes the award as, "A rating services of outstanding lawyers from more than 70 practice areas who have attained a high degree of peer recognition and professional achievement." Only 5 percent of attorneys in any particular state may earn the Super Lawyers designation. To earn the rating, the SL organization evaluates 12 specific indicators based upon a patented selection process.

Super Lawyers Rising Star

Super Lawyers Rising Star rating is awarded based on the same patented rating system, but with some additional criteria, including restricting the number of ratings to 2.5 percent of the lawyers in a state, and reserving the award for attorneys under 40 years of age.

National Association of Distinguished Counsel (NADC)

The NADC "employs a rigorous, multi-stage selection process" to recognize the finest attorneys. The first step of the review process includes accepting nominations from members of the NADC, attorneys and the nominees' clients. Step two includes a rigorous research and vetting process to ensure that only the most highly-rated, deserving attorneys receive the designation.

Martindale-Hubbell Peer Recognition

Martindale-Hubbell awards varous levels of recognition in accordance with their peer review rating system for legal excellence and ethical standards. Generally, the highest AV-Preeminent rating is the only rating you will see posted on a law firm's marketing materials or web designs. Individual attorneys at the firm may earn the AV Preeminent rating, not the entire law firm.

Specialized Awards

In addition to broad legal awards, there are some awards which are specific to particular areas of practice:

Avvo - a legal organization with a website that allows clients to submit recommendations, recognition and complaints based on a numbering system. On a 10.0 Avvo scale, law firms and attorney who have achieved an Avvo score above 9.0 will often advertise the number as a means of highlighting client satisfaction

Board Certification - State bar associations often have a special department of legal specialization for various areas of the law. In most states, attorneys are not allowed to advertise themselves as a "specialist" unless they have completed specific training and have been conferred recognition as a Board Certified Specialist (for one or more specific areas of the law). When the website includes the phrase "Board Certified" look for an asterisk to explain what committee awarded the certification and which area(s) of the law it pertains to.

These are the primary legal awards and credentials that you may see included on a law firm's webpage. The awards signify that the law firm has made every effort to gain recognition among peers and a reputation for excellence among clients.

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