A minor Internet kerfluffle has arisen over the news that Martindale-Hubbell has made redundent, as our friends in the UK say, its staff of "Peer Review Ratings" specialists. The news inspired two branches of discussion: (a) whether M-H was abandoning attorney ratings, and (b) whether M-H remains relevant in the face of recent Internet-based upstarts such as LinkedIn, FindLaw, Avvo, and the like.
M-H has attempted to address both concerns in this blog post, which promises "Big Plans for Martindale-Hubbell Ratings." While admitting, somewhat ambiguously, that its new plans included "a change in the role and responsibilities of the ratings specialists" (which I suppose is one way of describing being laid off -- "I heard you got laid off." "No, my role and responsibilities have changed. I now have no role and no responsibilities.") the post goes on to promise that a changed ratings system is in the works.
I have to join those who have critiqued M-H's post for its unfettered use of marketing jargon-speak to convey little substance about what those changes are and how they will make the M-H service more relevant than other, competing (not to mention free) services. Kevin O'Keefe does a nice job of dissecting the M-H post, and of highlighting its Martin Lukes-like use of marketing-speak to convey more image than substance.
(As an aside, I do miss Martin Lukes terribly. I highly recommend the book he "co-authored" with the Financial Times's Lucy Kellaway, "Who Moved My Blackberry?" for a funny take on slogan-driven management trends.)
That said, while I'm sure that M-H has high hopes for whatever form its ratings system is going to take -- and I wish whoever its new "VP/ Product Champion of Ratings" is all the best -- it will be a serious challenge for M-H to develop a system that is effective, accurate, useful, and worth using.
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