Love it or hate it, Avvo is not only here to stay but all lawyers in Massachusetts, whether they choose to or not will be on it. Personally I love it not because I think it’s a flawless system that can be totally relied upon to give a perfectly accurate rating of an attorney, but because I understand that there’s no use in fighting the system. If you have a low score, then instead of fighting the site, learn how to work with it and turn it into a positive (and profitable) marketing site for your firm.
First, claim your profile on Avvo. Since the site is searched by potential clients all the time, you want to be able to control any and all the information that’s floating out there in cyberspace about you and your firm.
Next enter in all basic information such as office location, website, practice areas, schools, etc. You’ll find that the simple fact of providing Avvo with information will raise your score. This is because the more that Avvo knows about you and your qualifications, the more they have to score you on.
As with most online profile sites, include a picture. If you don’t have a professional picture, go and take one. You need to have a professional headshot on hand just for situations like this and also for PR purposes in the future. In addition, people tend to trust people they can see. Clients will look for a picture.
Now, the trick to really improving your Avvo score is knowing which sections affect your score and which do not. Naturally the longer you have practiced, the higher your score goes up. But if you have nothing else on Avvo but years of experience, you’re not going to get a very good score. Lawyer endorsements is the easy way to raise your score but there’s a limit when your score will no longer go up due to another lawyer’s endorsement. Until then, email all your contacts and ask for endorsements. Offer to endorse them in return. If you have more than one attorney in your firm, their endorsement of you will not affect your score.
Client endorsements are nice for potential clients to see but it doesn’t affect your score at all.
If you’ve gotten awards for legal work, then list it because it will raise your score.
Listing particular types of associations will raise your score. If it’s legal based and if you hold a position in the association then it will help. For example, listing that you’re a member of the Massachusetts Bar Association doesn’t raise your score, but if you list that you’re the President of the Massachusetts Bar Association, that will raise your score. Being on Boards also helps.
Legal guides and Avvo answers, though they’re helpful and resourceful, don’t actually help with your score. They will however, provide your potential clients with insight into your legal knowledge and how you counsel your clients.
Lastly, publications and speaking engagements will raise your score. So every article that is written about or by you, you should list on your profile. Every speaking engagement should be listed as well.
This is a short list of some of the things that will help raise your Avvo score. It is by no means an exhaustive list.
Avvo revises their algorithm once a year, usually in January. So if you see a change in your rating at the beginning of the year, this might explain why. Also, your rating might change over time because Avvo’s algorithm ranks newer information more relevant and therefore gives more points than older information. So essentially, a new published article is worth more to Avvo than an article published years ago. If you don’t have any new information for Avvo in a while, your score will go down because the value placed on older information is worth less.