If you can hear the sarcasm in your mind as you read this title, we are on the same page. That said, here is a small public service announcement about lawyer awards.

The vast majority of awards are misleading. They are bought and paid for. Companies solicit attorneys to pay a certain amount of money to get a plaque that say things like “Top 100 Trial Lawyers.” How is this company determining how someone is a “Top 100 Trial Lawyer?” How many “Top 100 Trial Lawyers” are there in Nevada? In the United States? My guess is there are however many who are willing to pay the fee once they are invited to join this group.

Magazines also put out lists of “Rising Stars” or “Top Lawyers” or “Best of Las Vegas.” These are generally popularity contests where attorneys call their friends and have them vote for them or put out requests on social media “don’t forget to vote for us as “Best Lawyers” in the next Best of Vegas poll.” This isn’t to say there aren’t great lawyers on these lists. There are. No doubt. But there is certainly a lot of self-promotion that goes on.

So, what is the point of telling you this? It’s to help you be a smart consumer if you need a lawyer. If you see a lot of plaques or awards on your potential lawyer’s wall or web page or billboard, ask them what they had to do to get that award. Did they have to pay money for it? Was it based on a specific trial they won or case they handled? A lawyer who isn’t transparent about this may not be willing to be transparent about things that are much more important down the road. Again, there are a lot of good lawyers with these types of awards. But as my grandmother used to say “consider the source.”

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