The Illinois Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that an Internet site that allows clients to rate their lawyer's performance is not entitled to a list of attorneys in the state.
Operators of Seattle-based Avvo.com have sought to get a master list of the roughly 85,000 lawyers licensed to practice in the Prairie State as part of their company's expansion into Illinois.
In its filing to the state high court, Avvo said the Supreme Court releasing the master list would "serve the interests of justice" by "facilitating the ability of consumers to make informed decisions in hiring an attorney."
Avvo General Counsel Josh King said he was disappointed by the court's decision not to release the records.
"Consumers are the real losers here - the Supreme Court's action means consumers will be less informed when making critical life decisions that involve hiring lawyers," King said in a statement.
"Avvo vows to continue helping empower consumers in Illinois and around the country by providing the level of information needed to effectively choose a lawyer and help lawyers share expertise with consumers. Consumers want and need information about lawyers in Illinois and other states," he added.
The company's original request was denied by the Illinois Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission, which maintains the list.
Avvo then made a request to the Supreme Court, which owns the list.
Jim Grogan, deputy administrator for the state Attorney Registration and Discipline Commission, the state lawyer regulatory authority, told LNL in an earlier interview the list isn't available for "commercial or political" purposes.
"We're not saying the public does not have a right to know who is an attorney in the state," he said, noting that the public already has access an "accurate and up-to-the-minute" state database that shows, among other things, a lawyers' state disciplinary record.
From Legal Newsline: Reach reporter Chris Rizo at firstname.lastname@example.org.