Martindale-Hubbell Connected – My Thoughts


I have been a member of the Martindale-Hubbell Connected community for several months. I met John Lipsey, Vice President, Corporate Counsel Services for LexisNexis in September at a speaking engagement on Social Networking for Lawyers. John told the story of why Connected would be a great resource for lawyers.

The lure of Connected is the idea of combining an online networking community, the Martindale-Hubbell lawyer listings, and the enormous pool of data in the Lexis databases. Theoretically, your lawyer listing,  articles, cases, news, and people connections would be all linked together in one place. As with blogging, you could show your expertise through the stuff you write, the cases you work on, the transactions you work on and the news about you. Then you tie that all information to a central profile and connect with the people you know.

That’s a great story. They even put together this snazzy video to prove it:

But so far it is just a story.

The site is merely a social network site with a connection to Martindale-Hubbell  listings. So far there is no connection to the substantive Lexis content. Even the social networking tools are mediocre.

I was told that there are some major upgrades and changes coming soon as they plan to open Connected to a wider audience at the end of March.

To be fair, Connected is not a disaster like the ABA’s LegallyMinded. But, Connected does not have the interesting community of users and content like Legal OnRamp, a similar platform. Connected does not have the large population of users like LinkedIn and Facebook. Connected also lacks many of the rich features of LinkedIn and Facebook.

Part of Connected’s approach is create an authenticated community. So that the person is who they say they are. An interesting approach, but to me it seems like a lot of work for little value. (Perhaps they are scarred by the squatters holding LexisNexis in Twitter.) The authentication seems designed around the Martindale listing. So to start you need to be a lawyer to get. Apparently they are going to open Connected to the larger legal community sometime this summer (according to Kathleen Delaney in the comment to this post).

Frankly, I am not sold on having a gated community for a broad legal community. What would I publish or say in Connected that I would not otherwise say on this blog, Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn? I am an early adopter, so maybe the general legal population would be more likely to contribute in Connected than on one of the public platforms? I am skeptical.

I have not written about Connected because there is not much to write about. It is sparsely populated and lacks content. I am one of the few non-Lexis people doing much with it. (As a curmudgeon, I mostly complain about the lack of features and the stuff that does not work.) They do replicate Compliance Building in Connected (a brilliant decision), but they have had trouble tying the posts to my Connected profile.

Lexis slapped the “beta” label on Connected because they are still working on it. Either they have a lot of work to do, or the site is intended to be mediocre.


UPDATE: I corrected the spelling to “Hubbell.”

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13 Responses to Martindale-Hubbell Connected – My Thoughts

  1. Toby Brown March 21, 2009 at 11:23 am #

    Although MH sits on a goldmine of information, I think it’s in serious trouble. With firms looking to cut non-essential costs, over the next year as MH contracts come due, I predict a major exodus. Frankly I’ve just don’t see the value in MH. Years ago an AV rating may have brought some work in the door. Not today – or at least not much. With so many emerging options that demonstrate ROI, MH is going down (IMHO).

  2. Doug Cornelius March 21, 2009 at 6:53 pm #

    Toby –

    I would guess that Martindale has seen some of these problems coming. I assume Connected is the result.

    As a young associate, was a wonderful resource. You could easily find information on opposing counsel. I faded into the background as law firms started putting their attorney listings on line. Until I heard about Connected, I had not been to Martindale in years. But the target audience is in-house counsel, not law firms.

    Martindale, as a subsidiary of Lexis, has the resources and the goldmine of information to make Connected a success. It is just a matter of execution.

  3. Kathleen Delaney March 22, 2009 at 9:14 pm #


    As always, thanks for the feedback and we do appreciate how active you have been with your peers in MH Connected. You are an early adopter and we are lucky to have your input.

    I just want to clarify one point you made, the ‘gated community’ is something that corporate counsel and other lawyers specifically asked us for in a network. And as we’ve developed Martindale-Hubbell Connected, they’ve told us they want other legal professionals join them. So, in opening the network later this summer, we’re not “conceding” anything, but rather responding to the specific needs of our users.

    We hope to give folks the best of both worlds, and that’s why we value our relationship with LinkedIn, showing members their whole network in one glance.

    As you said, we have “the resources and the goldmine of information to make Connected a success”. And know that there is a strong and dedicated team in place to make this a reality.

  4. Doug Cornelius March 22, 2009 at 10:15 pm #

    Kathleen –

    I see some benefits to the gated community.

    One of the reasons I am skeptical of using the Martindale database to authenticate is that Connected will be open to some non-lawyers. You have to let in the marketing people to help update and manage profiles. (Obviously, it would be better to have the attorneys do it themselves. That is unlikely to be the case for the vast majority of lawyers for a long time.) Where do you draw the line for keeping out non-lawyers and non-practicing lawyers?

    The other problem is that the Martindale database is just not that accurate. It’s not Martindale’s fault. But firms just have not been keeping on top of their martindale listings. (I see that the listings from my old firm are not accurate. Lots of departed people are still listed.)

    I continue to participate in the Connected community and wrote this post because I see the potential. I am just waiting for some of that potential to come to fruition.

  5. Beth Levine November 24, 2009 at 4:23 pm #

    I used the Martindale-Hubble reputation as the Gold Standard” in choosing a Lawyer. This “Lawyer” is a front for Organized Crime and stole thousand and thousands from me. When I retained another law Firm to go after the stolen funds; I was met with written death threats!

    I have sent Martindale-Hubble three letters and no response and this Law Firm is still on their site and still has a good rating.

    I have found other victims and am considering the liability and the posture indifference Martindale-Hubble has seemingly taken.

  6. 花蓮民宿 August 5, 2010 at 5:33 am #

    I don’t think that Martindale-Hubbell is irrelevant, but they are really pushing paid placement on (at least with our law firm). Martindale-Hubbell also is pushing to take over law firm websites and to do search optimization. Personally, and I have told our rep this, I think that the websites they have done that I have seen look like “Web In O’Box.” They cetainly provide no creativity or differentiation for law firms, at least that I have seen.

    • Doug Cornelius August 6, 2010 at 10:44 am #

      Martindale -Hubbell is still relevant, but their traditional listing model of law firms and lawyers is ebbing. They are a publisher and all publishers are seeing disruption in their historic business model.

      Publishers have traditionally brought their technical expertise and capital to help people publish their material. The internet has made it easy for non-technical people to publish without investing much capital.

      In house counsel are starting to what many consumers do when looking for information. They use the internet and their favorite search engine.


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