Avvo's short career hasn't been without controversy: early on, the Seattle company was sued by lawyers who did not like having ratings posted. Judge Lasnik (W.D. Wash.) dismissed their suit. (See this blog post.) The DC Bar opposed Avvo's use of its data. See Web Directory Of Attorneys Upsets D.C. Bar, Wash. Post, March 9, 2009. (I'm not sure what the upshot of that was. The Avvo Blog had this comment the same day.)
The lawyer directory lists licensed attorneys, notes disciplinary history and certain local awards (e.g., being named a "Superlawyer" by a magazine), and offers an opportunity for clients and colleagues to rate and comment on lawyers. An individual lawyer may also claim his or her profile and add information -- e.g., a picture, practice areas, and experience. The listings have become quite robust.
Avvo also has a forum where anyone can ask legal questions which are answered by licensed attorneys. And you can browse or search past questions and answers.
Now Avvo is extending this model to doctors. It says that it has listings for 90% of licensed physicians.
The Avvo Rating is our effort to evaluate a doctor's background, based on the information we know about the doctor. The rating is calculated using a mathematical model that considers the information shown in a doctor's profile, including a doctor's years in practice, advanced training, disciplinary history, professional and academic achievements and industry recognition - all factors that, in our opinion, are relevant to assessing a doctor's qualifications.Since the doctor directory is so new, few doctors have comments or ratings by patients or colleagues, but those will come.
A couple of years ago, I met some people who worked for Avvo. One said that lawyers had been nervous about being rated, but that it turns out that most clients rate their own lawyers pretty high. People might grumble about lawyers in general, but they like their lawyers. A lawyer said that when Avvo came out, he told a few of his clients about it and said they could comment on him -- and he was pleasantly surprised at what they said.
For links to other lawyer directories on the web, see this guide.