How to Feed a Lawyer (and Other Irreverent Observations from the Legal Underground)

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Richard Levitt

We just came across the comments on legalunderground.com regarding our web site therobingroom.com. Evan's concern that people can post phony evaluations is justified, since we only require an email address for postings. If we required more we couldn't be assured of candor, let alone sufficient volume to provide meaningful insight. In practice, the number of phony reviews is miniscule and doesn't skew results, particularly as our volume increases. How do we know? First, look at the comments. For the most part they are thoughtful and, often, anecdotal -- not the sort of comments we would expect from phonies. When a posting does seem out of place (either for reasons that would appear obvious to anyone or because certain red flags are triggered that we don't want to publicly identify) we email the reviewer requesting confirmation and, sometimes, follow-up information. If we're not satisfied with the response the review comes off.

All that said, we now have nearly 2,000 evaluations and reviews on our site, and our readership is steadily increasing. The more evaluations we post the better we are able to provide a reliable portrait of each reviewed judge, and the more likely false reviews will stand out like the proverbial sore thumb.

As attorneys with active trial and appellate practices we believe we are providing a service that is useful to our colleagues and to the public at large. The transparency that a site such as therobingroom.com brings to judging is long overdue, and we believe that, on balance, the benefits of a site like ours far outweighs the dangers inherent in not vetting every reviewer. This is, in fact, the view of the dozens of attorneys who have commented to us regarding the site or have reviewed us in their blogs. We recognize, however, that we can always improve, and invite comments, suggestions and criticism.


The Robing Room website has come a long way in the past year. We now have a permanent moderator (who monitors the commentary on a daily basis to ensure its relevance, professionalism and relative tact), and we have taken steps to address several security issues that have been pointed out to us by those who visit our site regularly. We have also expanded the site, from its modest beginnings with the Federal judiciary, to include state-specific sections! The New York and Florida state sites have been up and running for some months now, and are proving hugely popular with the legal profession in both locations. A California state site is almost ready to go up, and will be added later this fall. But don't take our word for it -- stop by the new and improved Robing Room site at www.therobingroom.com and see for yourself! There's never been a better time to judge the judges!

J. Zelkowski

To the folks who are talking about therobingroom.com.:
You make your point eloquently. However, can you please tell me by what authority you take it upon yourselves to modify the points of view expressed there? Who makes the call regarding which comments to keep and which ones to delete - it is obviously you guys, and therefore the credibility that, for example, buyers and sellers establish in an open community like eBay cannot possibly exist. I came across a harsh rebuke of a federal judge in Illinois, whose name I'd rather not mention. This was contrary to the glowing reviews found about her, mostly her punctuality, and more in line with what I'd heard from other counsel, who are far too afraid to post honestly. I went to revisit the site yesterday, and the review was gone - evaporated by the thought police. Let me guess?: her law clerks or someone complained and you removed it. This takes the away any credibility you guys are saying the site has. It's not unbiased, because you've meddled in the recipte. You've made yourselves judge, jury and executioner, and I cannot say I respect anything else I would read on there.

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