How to evaluate a lawyer?

The lawyer, like the doctor and other very specialized professions, is very difficult to evaluate by his clients. His areas of expertise are so specific that it is virtually impossible to verify his level of competence.

No wonder, therefore, that the rating and the sharing of experiences made their entry with the first digital platforms which rushed on this opportunity and now offer different formulas for ranking or rating lawyer profiles.

With the exception of a few legal commentaries and rare cases, these new players are to date very poorly framed, which leads to very different rating models, sometimes adopting opposing views. The user must therefore keep his critical mind because not all the offers on the market are created equal; far from it.


The rating of lawyers is not new. Since the 1990s, business firms have been referenced and annually classified by specialized and fairly elitist guides. These pioneering guides are part of a first category which offers a ranking established by them without (real) customer surveys.

A majority of these guides offer a generally identical and relatively opaque approach: typically the lawyer files a submission, mentions two or three cases supposed to make an impression, sometimes has about twenty minutes of interview by telephone with an investigator and inform customers who will agree to play the game by giving a favorable opinion (but in practice, few customers are actually contacted).

While they provide some useful information, the approach is however very elitist and most of these rankings limit their recommendations to the twenty most renowned associations by country, whose prices are often not within the reach of the Belgian market.

One or the other platform is an exception and offers any candidate a referencing but they raise many more questions when analyzing their working method (some base the ranking in particular on the contribution paid by the lawyer to the site, or the age of its registration, which are totally irrelevant).

Some sites are based on criteria so arbitrary that their distribution in Belgium is prohibited (eg


Others operate on the sole basis of recommendations made by other lawyers. However, it is permissible to question the relevance of the opinion of another lawyer, except if this one has shared files with the “noted”, which will remain rather exceptional in practice.


Other platforms feed their ratings by customer reviews.


The approach has the merit of being generally transparent. It is regrettable, however, that it once again concerns only a very small part of the Bar and that it is not really available in Belgium.

A variant is the typical “tripadvisor” approach where the rating is done in a “wild” way, without a pre-established questionnaire or moderation of comments.

This rating, which is neither moderated nor framed, has flaws that must be kept in mind (is the user really a former customer, does he have enough skills to give an objective opinion, etc.?) because we know all how easy it is to buy notoriety on these models.


A fourth trend has arisen from the exploitation of big data, with the understanding that in many jurisdictions, judgments are public. Equipped with powerful research and analysis tools, some platforms offer scores based on this data, mainly won or lost cases.

We will point out a fairly great fragility of these tools because losing or winning a case is a criterion far too volatile, not to mention that a large part of the added value of a lawyer will often be to advise, avoid the trial, find a solution. And since these data are not public, they will therefore not be taken into account.


A final and recent approach is the composite rating, established on the basis of lawyer-specific data that the platform obtains (seniority, value of cases, etc.) which are crossed and weighted with the ratings given by users.

uLaw offers a rating established on a multitude of objective criteria related to the career of the lawyer (skills component) which evolves according to the opinions of former clients that are moderated by the platform and guided through a questionnaire (client service component).

The objectivity of the rating is thus guaranteed.