WEST PALM BEACH – Kelly Hyman, an attorney with Searcy Denney Scarola Barnhart & Shipley since 2011, was recently honored with an announcement she has retained her AV Preeminent rating from the renowned attorney rating firm Martindale-Hubbell.

Hyman’s primary practice specialty is mass torts and she previously worked as a law clerk for the U.S. District Court in Nevada. A native of Florida, she earned her bachelors degree in communication from UCLA and her law degree, with honors, from the University of Florida’s law school.

St. Charles District Parish district attorney is refusing to recuse himself from the case against John Landry.
St. Charles District Parish district attorney is refusing to recuse himself from the case against John Landry. | Photo by Brandon Bourdages, Shutterstock

It is the second time she was recognized for the AV Preeminent rating.

“This rating represents the pinnacle of professional excellence,” said a statement from Martindale-Hubble. “It is achieved only after an attorney has been reviewed and recommended by their peers - members of the bar and the judiciary.”

Diana, a customer service representative with Martindale-Hubble who was authorized to speak on the subject but asked that her last name be withheld, told the Florida Record that the AV Preeminent rating is given out to fewer than 10 percent of the lawyers who register with them. She declined to give her last name, citing company guidelines.

“It’s the highest recognition we have,” said the company representative. “It’s important because its (awarded) by your peers in the legal industry. They are saying that you have the highest level of service.”

She said the company had been rating attorneys for nearly 150 years and that it sets the standard in the industry.

“Attorneys take our ratings very seriously because they are set at a very high standard,” she said.

Martindale-Hubbell considers several factors in setting its ratings, she said, and meeting all of them are based on responses from legal peers.

The process involves surveying a list of references provided by the attorney, which asks them questions pertaining to the lawyer’s overall performance. Questions cover ethical behavior, knowledge of legal issues, general analytic capabilities, whether the attorney has good judgment, and communications ability and overall legal experience.

“I am thankful to my peers who nominated me for this distinction, and proud to have earned this, the highest possible Martindale-Hubbell rating,” Hyman told the Digital Journal. “(It’s) a credential highly valued and sought after in the legal world. It used to be a sort of secret among attorneys who used the rating as a first screen when they needed to hire a lawyer they did not personally know. Now, thanks to the Internet, the Rating is a great way for anyone - lawyers or lay people - to use to screen lawyers.”

With the honor, the American Registry LLC, added Hyman’s name to The Registry of Business and Professional Excellence.

According to the Martindale-Hubbell website, the company was started in 1868 when lawyer and businessman James B. Martindale first published The Martindale Directory. Its stated purpose was "to furnish to lawyers, bankers, wholesale merchants, manufacturers, real estate agents, and all others...the address of one reliable law firm, one reliable bank, and one reliable real estate office in every city in the United States..."

By 1896, The Martindale Directory included the basic information that still appears in our lawyer and law firm Profiles, as well as ratings and a section on foreign lawyers and firms.

In 1930, the Martindale Company purchased the publishing rights to Hubbell's Legal Directory, which contained a digest of state laws, court calendars and a selective list of lawyers and firms. The following year marked the first edition of the Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory; a two volume set that combined the features of both predecessor publications.

Today, Martindale-Hubbell offers solutions for both professional and consumer markets. Our online destinations contain profiles for over one million lawyers and firms in the United States, Canada and 160 other countries, serving as a fundamental legal resource and marketing tool.

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