The Miss America pageant they aren’t, but like other professions we have a variety of “beauty contests” that some lawyers strive for. The best known of these is probably Super Lawyers, which is a peer-nominated/selected group of highly respected lawyers in each state. The old warhorse of achievement recognition was the Martindale-Hubbell rating system. The front-runner online is Avvo.
Occasionally, a new organization pops up. Today it’s The National Association of Distinguished Counsel. I received a nice invitation packet from them (dated March 4—which means it must have arrived via Pony Express). The chair of the organization writes, “On behalf of the National Association of Distinguished Counsel, it is my honor to congratulate you for your selection as a Member of the Nation’s Top One Percent.” The letter goes on to describe how selection of members is objective, they serve as a benchmark for other lawyers to emulate, etc. etc. Members are regularly called on by national media to offer comments and analysis.
For $300, they will be happy to hear that I’ve accepted the honor.
I think I’ll pass. I took a look at the members in my state of Indiana. I know one of the handful personally—and I’ll be the first to say he’s a damn good lawyer. Being considered as a peer of his is a welcome compliment. But I’m not sure that spending $300 to have a nice plaque, permission to use their web site badge, and discounts from Toshiba is my style. (And, hey, I can boast about the invitation here on my blog for free.)
Of course, all of these various organizations are businesses trying to make a profit. I understand and respect that. But I’m not sure that they help potential clients that much. Avvo seems to be trying the hardest to do that, yet I can’t think of anyone offhand who contacted me because they saw my profile on Avvo. So, perhaps I’m making a mistake in tossing the NADC invitation into the trash. Or maybe I’m not. We will see.