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Understanding the Ratings

What exactly does it mean when someone is rated as a "Specialist," or has an "AV Rating." Listed below, is the criteria an attorney needs to meet in order to receive the specific rating from the following organizations:

Ohio State Bar Association Certified Specialist

OSBA certification demonstrates a commitment to excellence in your prescribed field of practice. Ohio attorneys who become a certified specialist by the OSBA have displayed a high level of expertise in their field of practice. This expertise is substantiated by the passage of a written examination, measurable involvement in the specialty area, fulfillment of ongoing education requirements, and positive evaluation by other attorneys and judges familiar with their work.   Under Ohio law, you may not say that you specialize in a particular area of law unless you are a certified specialist.  (Source: OSBA)

Martindale Hubbell

AV Preeminent®: The highest peer rating standard. This is given to attorneys who are ranked at the highest level of professional excellence for their legal expertise, communication skills, and ethical standards by their peers. (Source: Martindale Hubbell)

Avvo Rating

The rating is calculated using a mathematical model, and all lawyers are evaluated on the same set of standards. At Avvo, all lawyers are treated equally. We don’t play favorites, and attorneys can’t pay us to improve their ratings. It was developed by legal professionals and people looking for legal services. The model used to calculate the rating was developed with input from hundreds of attorneys, thousands of consumers, and many other legal professionals who deeply understand the work attorneys do. We created the Avvo Rating to reflect the type of information people have identified as important when looking to hire an attorney. It’s as simple as counting to 10. Ratings fall on a scale of 1 (Extreme Caution) to 10 (Superb), helping you quickly assess a lawyer’s background based on our rating. (Source: Avvo)

Accredited Estate Planner

The Accredited Estate Planner® (AEP®) designation is a graduate level specialization in estate planning, obtained in addition to already recognized professional credentials within the various disciplines of estate planning. It is awarded by the National Association of Estate Planners & Councils (NAEPC) to recognize estate planning professionals who meet stringent requirements of experience, knowledge, education, professional reputation, and character, and who commit to the team concept of estate planning. (Source: NAEPC)

Estate Planning Legal Specialist

The Estate Law Specialist Board, Inc., an ABA-accredited, attorney-run subsidiary of the National Association of Estate Planners & Councils in Cleveland, Ohio, administers the only national, board certification of an attorney as an Estate Planning Law Specialist (EPLS). Attorneys who become Board-certified under this program demonstrate a high level of professionalism and commitment to the concept of specialization. To obtain Board-certified status, an attorney must meet the following requirements:

  • Five or more years as an estate planning attorney during which at least 40% of the attorney’s practice is devoted to estate planning at an enhanced level of skill and expertise

  • 36 or more hours of continuing legal education in estate planning topics earned during the three years preceding filing of the application

  • Recommendations from at least five colleagues, a majority of whom must have known the applicant for a minimum of 3 years, who are not related to or within the same firm as the applicant who can attest to the applicant's reputation for involvement in estate planning in a professional manner and who can provide specific information about the applicant's competence and qualifications to practice in the field at the enhanced level of skill and expertise required for this designation

  • Passing a comprehensive, national examination designed for actively practicing estate planning attorneys

(Source: NAEPC)

Super Lawyers

Super Lawyers selects attorneys using a patented multi-phase selection process. Peer nominations and evaluations are combined with independent research. Each candidate is evaluated on 12 indicators of peer recognition and professional achievement. Selections are made on an annual, state-by-state basis. The objective is to create a credible, comprehensive and diverse listing of outstanding attorneys that can be used as a resource for attorneys and consumers searching for legal counsel. (Source: Super Lawyers)

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