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When did Avvo remove the ability for attorneys to change or add to the area of law that questioners selected?

New York, NY |
Filed under: Professional ethics

I'm a frequent attorney contributor to this site who just noticed that you don't seem able to change the area of law a questioner miscatagorized the question under (typically "Family Law" or "Ethics" for questions which involved neither area). Has anyone else noticed this?

(Oh, I see, when the question is asked, the website automagically seems to try to categorize the questions based on the text in the questions and gives the questioners some choices.)

And don't you think Avvo should give the lawyers a closed forum somewhere on this site where suggestions and features like this can be discussed?

Attorney Answers 4

Posted

Yes, I liked the ability to fix the category and I like your idea for a lawyers only forum.
Pete

I may be guessing or not licensed in your state. No atty/client relationship exists.

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4 lawyers agree

Posted

Avvo has its defects and our gripes will never be addressed.

Good luck.

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1 lawyer agrees

Posted

I agree. I have to correct someone at least once a week that legal "ethics" doesn't mean any question about contract disputes, child custody, etc. While I have no quibble with the automagic suggestions of subject matter areas, wouldn't it be helpful for attorneys to try to change the topic areas or add to them and get a participation point or two for their efforts, like the old system.

BTW, there **is** some kind of third party discussion board at avvocom.zendesk.com for a lawyer's "feature suggestion box" and forum, but that site has a pathetically low level of participation and the few questions on the site ask why no queries seem to be responded to :-/

Avvo is a great resource and gets a lot of Google love (much more than the Lexis Martindale lawyers.com or Superlawyers sites), but it could stand some improvement and there seems to be a disconnect between participants and management, except when it comes to Avvo's sales of it's own add on products, like Excite websites.

This answer is provided under the Avvo.com “Terms and Conditions of Use” (“ToU”), particularly ¶9 which states that any information provided is not intended as legal advice or to create an attorney-client relationship between you and me or any other attorney. Such information is intended for general informational purposes only and should be used only as a starting point for addressing your legal issues. In particular, my answers and those of others are not a substitute for an in-person or telephone consultation with an attorney licensed to practice in your jurisdiction about your specific legal issue, and you should not rely solely upon Legal Information you obtain from this website or other resources which may be linked to an answer for informational purposes. You understand that questions and answers or other postings to the Site are not confidential and are not subject to attorney-client privilege. The full Avvo ToU are set forth at http://www.avvo.com/support/terms . In addition, while similar legal principles often apply in many states, I am only licensed to practice in the State of New York and Federal Courts. Any general information I provide about non-New York laws should be checked with an attorney licensed to practice in your State. Lastly, New York State Court rules (22 NYCRR Part 1200, Rule 7.1) also require me to inform you that my answers and attorney profile posted on the Avvo.com site may be considered "attorney advertising" and that "prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome".

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2 lawyers agree

12 comments

Peter J Weinman

Peter J Weinman

Posted

I tested by almost posting something and note that the "subject" line is where Avvo guesses what categories should be available. It doesn't look at the body of the question. If you don't have "real estate," "house," or something like that in the short topic, they suggest incorrect choices.. And the asker has no option to choose a category not presented.

Steven Warren Smollens

Steven Warren Smollens

Posted

My sense is AVVO took this feature off the board to deal with some attorneys whose contributions seemed to deal with "editing" the subject area of the inquiry, all without offering an answer.

Peter J Weinman

Peter J Weinman

Posted

Ahhh.... makes sense. You know, I'm only 200 points shy of a toaster-oven!

Jack Richard Lebowitz

Jack Richard Lebowitz

Posted

LOL. Me too. I'm going for the cordless screwdriver at Level 18. @Steven Well, I'm sure they could have figured out some better way to do this. You noticed, for instance, that you used to have to change the topic area BEFORE you answered. Why didn't they just put up a dialogue box saying: if you change the topic area, you must provide an answer to this question and not just answer that the topic is wrong and you are reposting or the answer is subject to removal by an admin (and points subtracted). Do you still want to change the topic area Y/N and also require the answer to be provided as part of the topic change before any of the topic change/answer was posted. Computers can do amazing things if you pinpoint the problem at attack it with a cordless screwdriver to the code and not a sledgehammer.

Steven Warren Smollens

Steven Warren Smollens

Posted

Yes. But the toaster only does pop tarts. So some of the person (s?) who often did "edit subject" answer now with a suggestion to re-post the question in the proper subject (but still not providing an "answer." Something similar goes along the line with the skipping of the "I agree" button to actually submitting an answer "I agree". When its your own answer that is agreed with its hard to skip hitting the "I agree."

Jack Richard Lebowitz

Jack Richard Lebowitz

Posted

Yeah, I think you should add something to the previous answer to get the points for answering, but what more gets my goat is when someone repeats your answer for the points and then doesn't give you the props and two points for agreeing! Kind of a bit of one upsmanship going on there.

Peter J Weinman

Peter J Weinman

Posted

What pisses me off (gets your goat???) is when someone repeats my answer and gets "most helpful" from the Asker. Happens a lot when I answer in other states, where I get low post on the totem pole and the Asker may see the "local" attorney as the first answer.

Jack Richard Lebowitz

Jack Richard Lebowitz

Posted

@Peter I can forgive the askers more easily than I can forgive the attorneys, particularly a few Level 20 guys (whose names would immediately be familiar to any regular) that ALWAYS paraphrase my answers in a five word "yes" or "no" type response with no further elaboration or explanation and almost NEVER click "I agree" on my answer, even when I agree with theirs. I'm sure you'd recognize their names. One of the few things I agreed with with the late, unlamented DK of Huntington Beach was her characterization of these folks as "shameless point grabbers".

Peter J Weinman

Peter J Weinman

Posted

I'm with you.

Steven Warren Smollens

Steven Warren Smollens

Posted

The troubles of toiling for recognition when fishing in out of state waters without a license. We should be mindful of agreeing with others who agree with no one.

Peter J Weinman

Peter J Weinman

Posted

Yep.

Jack Richard Lebowitz

Jack Richard Lebowitz

Posted

Agree

Posted

This "reform" happened several months back and some regular attorney participants engaged in lengthy objections and exchanges with Avvo V P Josh King, who can be fairly responsive on some extreme and inarguable issues of Avvo Q and A practices. King's non-negotiable responses on attorney participants' objections and citations of failures of the new practice were that Avvo has accumulated and analyzed a vast amount of data showing that this auto feature is a significant improvement, and individual responding attorneys view only isolated "anecdotal" exceptions to the tidal wave of data. King specifically disclaimed any objective or purpose based on "point-grabbing," which I frankly find credible since abusive point-grabbing seems not to register at all with Avvo quality control staff and managers.

More info? Email me off-site: Christine.McCall@LicenseAdvocates.com

No legal advice here. READ THIS BEFORE you contact me! My responses to questions on Avvo are never intended as legal advice and must not be relied upon as if they were legal advice. I give legal advice ONLY in the course of a formal attorney-client relationship. Exchange of information through Avvo's Questions forum does not establish an attorney-client relationship with me. That relationship is established only by joint execution of a written agreement for legal services. My law firm does not provide free consultations. Please do not call or write to me with a “few questions” that require me to analyze the specific facts of your history and your license application and prescribe for you how to get a State license. Send me an email to schedule a paid Consultation for that kind of information, direction, and assistance. My law firm presently accepts cases involving State and federal licenses and permits; discipline against State and federal licenses; and disciplinary and academic challenges to universities, colleges, boarding schools, and private schools. We take cases of wrongful termination or employment discrimination only if the claims involve peace officers, universities or colleges.

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3 comments

Jack Richard Lebowitz

Jack Richard Lebowitz

Posted

Interesting. I wouldn't of course know anything about the back end analytics because those details aren't shared, but I do agree Mr. King has been responsive to some of my concerns and those of others on ToU violations concerning "trolling". I still wish that Avvo did have some kind of "lawyers only" forum where frequent participants could discuss issues collectively with Avvo staff and principals such as Josh King. I think it would improve the site. And if the new automagic system does properly catagorize questions better than the askers, I don't have the data to dispute that, although the response of "Repost this question in X topic" for a quick 15 point grab seems kind of counterproductive, but I guess they don't really care about pointgrabbing and maybe they shouldn't. It's not like "participation levels" do produce any kind of tangible reward or incentive for attorneys beyond a certain point.

Christine C McCall

Christine C McCall

Posted

Fun fact: early iterations of Avvo info on the web-site referred to awards and rewards that would be earned by attorney participants reaching various point levels. The rewards/awards were designated TBA until suddenly the reference disappeared altogether. (Who knows how many "miles" we collectively "lost"!) Lesson: why should/would anyone pay for what is provided for free.

Jack Richard Lebowitz

Jack Richard Lebowitz

Posted

I guess participation points are their own reward, and judging from the behavior of many of my fellow attorneys, they are their own reward. Still, even without all the advertising add ons and Incite websites Avvo sales reps are always pushing, I find Avvo to be a significant marketing resource that gets a lot of credibility and high rankings on search engines and I think I derive a significant "ROI" on my time spent on Avvo. Like many web early adapters, they see to run circles about Martindale/Lexis/Lawyer.com (which must cost beaucoup bucks like their earlier iterations, since their salesmen won't even quote you a fixed price), Justia, Nolo and other "paid" online attorney Q&A and listing sites, which seem to be stuck in the high profit model of the previous attorney advertising models, like the Yellow Pages and Martindale-Hubble, which want thousands of dollars annually for a profile or listing. I notice lots of attorneys -- you included -- don't pay $50/mo for a pro listing, but I do think they do bring value by elevating your profile in searches and not having other attorneys ads appear on your profile page, not bad for $600/yr. (It's one of my biggest few ad expenses, except for Yext to easily propagate the billion web listing services out there with contact and link information that can be picked up by search engines).

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