Avvo v. The ARDC – Battle Royale

Ed. Note: Readers will remember my zealous defense of Avvo in its early going, as well as the controversy surrounding that position (what I call a “free market” stance). Here is a selection from those rebellious times. But it wasn’t until this year that Avvo’s rabble-rousing approach to the legal marketplace reached Illinois, that shining jewel set in the silver sea of the Midwest. The Paris of fly-over territory. And when Avvo arrived its new ideas were welcomed by our foreward-thinking judiciary with open arms (and clenched fists). But don’t take my word for it ..

Avvo

Avvo

The Illinois ARDC Responds to Avvo’s Petition

July 8th, 2008 by Josh King, VP of Business Development and General Counsel

I received the Illinois Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission’s response to Avvo’s Illinois Supreme Court petition yesterday. Although I had hoped that the ARDC would simply ask the court for guidance in dealing with the apparent disagreement between public records law and the ARDC’s 28-year-old guidelines for providing attorney records, the ARDC went to some lengths to defend its guidelines and take issue with what Avvo is doing. I’m not entirely sure why – the guidelines in question have survived both the advent of the internet and the explosion of openness in most state open records laws, so there surely would be no shame in inquiring whether the policy is still relevant, let alone whether it complies with the current state of Illinois law on public access to judicial records.

The guidelines in question, you see, generally prohibit the dissemination of the Attorney Roll to nn-Illinois entities or for most commercial uses (for-profit Illinois CLE providers are exempt). Putting aside the only-for-Illinois portion of the guidelines (a restriction that surely doesn’t meet the standards of the federal Constitution’s Privileges and Immunities clause), the ARDC has focused on Avvo’s status as a commercial entity and Avvo’s use of the attorney records. Along the way, the ARDC has attempted to understand how Avvo works. Unfortunately, it hasn’t done so via the lens of the consumer. So let’s clear up some misconceptions the folks in Springfield hold: [read the rest here]

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