June 14, 2007

Sample Time & Responsibility Schedule for Proxy Season: Post E-Proxy

In time for today’s webcast – “How to Implement E-Proxy: Avoiding the Surprises and Making the Calculations” – we have posted this “Sample Time & Responsibility Schedule for Proxy Season,” courtesy of John Newell of Goodwin & Procter. John notes this is a draft and welcomes any thoughts you have (which you can send to John and/or me). This sample is comprehensive, covering time periods/due dates for NAFs, AFs and LAFs.

What’s Your Rating?

A new service from Avvo is creating a stir, a new site that rates and profiles lawyers. The site’s purpose is to allow consumers to easily obtain information about lawyers. The ratings are “unbiased,” culled from publicly available data. Here is the ratings formula (don’t look too hard as not much is revealed). As noted in this article, lawyers are not happy about their ratings or the process – and an examination of other reviews show that the primary beefs with Avvo are: numeric scoring, incorrect/missing data and poor functionality.

At first, I was miffed by my rating of 6.3 out of 10; after all, I graduated in ’88 and have learned a thing or two since then. But then I saw that some of my favorite lawyers got similar ratings – folks that I know are among the smartest securities lawyers out there. For example, Ron Mueller is only a 6.4 – and Amy Goodman a 6.0. Alan Dye and Mark Borges topped them with a 6.5. Hey, I’m proud of my 6.3! [Note the Avvo rating default falls somewhere between 6.1-6.5, until you input your credit card information to update your “profile” on the site.]

Full disclosure: Avvo’s founder, Mark Britton, is a dear friend of mine (but I have not discussed his site with him, it was in stealth mode until this week’s launch). Personally, I’ve gotten away from benchmarking against peers; I hear it’s a bad practice…

Some (Silly) Thoughts about Avvo’s Rating Service

Maybe my rating was so low because I got into a flap with the DC Bar and I’m “suspended” because I now refuse to pay dues to them? [My rating is higher now because I updated my profile yesterday.] Or maybe Avvo got wind of my intention to assume a new fabulous alter ego: “Captain XBRL.” Based on my distinguished awards (click “Recognition” tab), I feel entitled to an alter ego. Feel free to give me a whacky peer endorsement on my profile if you wish; the whackier, the better.

The funny thing about my Avvo profile is that I didn’t manipulate it to list me as a DUI lawyer in Seattle, it did that by itself. Genius! On the other hand, my parents tagged me at birth with the legal name of “Barak,” a story for another day.

Below are two of many comments posted on a WSJ Blog (these commentors appear to be imposters):

– “I only got a 6.5! I invented the poison pill!” – Comment by Marty Lipton – June 12, 2007 at 8:17 pm

– “Tell me about it Marty! I represented the VO of the United States, who shoulda been president, and all I got was a lousy 6.5!” – Comment by David Boies – June 12, 2007 at 8:19 pm

And here are some other thoughts I’ve heard:

– I think that a more fair way to rate us is by height (wasn’t that Chevy Chase’s methodology for measuring himself against other golfers?)

– Maybe ISS will develop a service to help lawyers increase their rating scores

– I guess I’ll continue to use Martindale, since they are kinder and gentler to me

– Abe Lincoln is rated! See this article.

[Note to Avvo Censors: Please don’t kill my profile; there’s no risk of me being hired because I won a “Tiny” Dancer award. My Avvo profile is the closest thing I will get to Facebook at my age.]

– Broc “6.3/10” Romanek