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Unfortunately, the game is rather tedious and it really isn't a game that somebody can win. It is a collaborative investigation to try and solve a crime. My family quickly grew bored while trying to play it.
Using the term "fraud" and calling for disciplinary action against Mr. Kesten is a big melodramatic. After reading about his actions, it sounds more like a legitimate experiment to see if the AVVO profile system is vulnerable to improper manipulation. Clearly the system IS vulnerable to manipulation, but not just by the owner of the profile. If a profile owner can artificially increase their AVVO rating, I'm sure that a competitor or a disgruntled former client with an invalid complaint could also artificially decrease a profile rating. A good number of my colleagues are reluctant to "claim" their AVVO profiles for exactly this reason. Instead of getting defensive, AVVO should focus on improving their security to prevent ANY improper manipulation of a someone's rating.
Toggle Commented Oct 19, 2009 on Can Avvo's Ratings Be Gamed? at Legal Blog Watch
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Before I opened up my own law practice, I spent part of career working at law firms that were hired by insurance companies to defend policy holders again claims like this. In my opinion, the Zuckerman Spaeder law firm absolutely had a duty to tender this matter to the insurance carrier and discuss the cheaper options. The law firm obviously disagrees with Hulk Hogan's version of the fax. As a private attorney, one of the first things I do is contact the client's insurance carrier about a claim like this. The insurance carrier has a duty to hire an attorney for the insured and often I can get the carrier to pay my fees until they hire one of their panel attorneys to take over the case. Sometimes the carrier will hire the insured's attorney of choice if the attorney will agree to work for the carrier's standard reimbursement rates. Sometimes celebrities or people in high profile cases will higher the attorney of their choice and the insurance carrier will play along of the insured agrees to pay the difference between what the carrier would normally pay and what the attorney charges. In my mind, the key issue is whether or not the law firm discussed these issue with Hulk Hogan. Insurance defense law firms typically charges carriers $150-$200 per hour and this case didn't sound so complicated that it warranted attorneys that charged $550 per hour. But if that is what Hulk Hogan wanted, then his only complaint might be the number of hours spent. If the law firm did not discuss the option of letter the carrier hire and attorney, then I would say the law firm has a big problem.
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