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Awards Criteria

Awards Criteria


U.S. News & World Reports Best Law Firms (Years Received: 2010-2018)

The methodology for the U.S. News – Best Lawyers “Best Law Firms” involved surveying thousands of law firm clients; leading lawyers and law firm managers; partners and associates; and marketing officers and recruiting officers. Each were asked what factors they considered vital for clients hiring law firms, for lawyers choosing a firm to refer a legal matter to, and for lawyers seeking employment.

Based on that feedback, six key surveys instruments were created: A client survey was sent to 52,480 clients; a lawyer survey was sent to 43,900 lawyers, including every U.S. lawyer listed in Best Lawyers; surveys were sent to 2,314 marketing officers and 2,322 recruiting officers as well as to 8,597 firms without marketing- or recruiting-office contacts; and associate surveys were sent to 2,322 firm associates and 1,775 summer associates. The marketing-officer, recruiting-officer, associate, and summer-associate surveys included a total of 724 questions.

The level of response from this vast group exceeded our most optimistic expectations: 1,859 firms participated in the marketing-officer and recruiting-officer surveys; 9,514 clients – including every Fortune 100 company and 587 of the Fortune 1000 companies – provided 194,370 firm practice-area evaluations; 6,190 clients provided 11,181 comments about law firm practice areas and individual lawyers; and 8,842 lawyers provided 594,012 firm practice-area evaluations.

Client and lawyer surveys collected mostly reputational data. Using a scale of 1 (weakest) to 5 (strongest), clients voted on expertise, responsiveness, understanding of a business and its needs, cost-effectiveness, civility, and whether they would refer another client to a firm. Lawyers voted on expertise, responsiveness, integrity, cost-effectiveness, and whether they would refer a matter to a firm and whether they consider a firm a worthy competitor.

 Information from http://bestlawfirms.usnews.com

The Best Lawyers in America – Mark A. Sternlicht (2003-Present); H. Gerald Beaver (1995-Present)

Inclusion in Best Lawyers is based entirely on peer review. For 28 years, the top lawyers in the U.S. have helped make The Best Lawyers In America the leading legal referral guide by candidly evaluating the work of other top lawyers in the same practice areas and geographic areas.

Lawyers are nominated to Best Lawyers in three ways. First, all of the lawyers in the previous edition of Best Lawyers are automatically nominated into the next edition. Second, during the voting process, voting lawyers are asked to nominate any outstanding lawyers who have not yet been nominated. These lawyer nominations are generally for lawyers at other firms and register as votes as well as nominations.

Best Lawyers is published annually. Each year, lawyers in half the states (by population) are called and asked to vote by phone; lawyers in the other half are asked to vote by e-mail or fax. The next year, the process is reversed, so that every voter has an opportunity to vote “in person” every two years.

Whether by telephone, e-mail, or fax, we ask voting lawyers the same question, “If you could not handle a case yourself, to whom would you refer it?” Lawyers are asked to give nominees 5-1 numerical grades – 5 for a lawyer the voter would certainly refer a case to, 4 for a lawyer the voter would probably refer a case to, and 3 for a lawyer the voter might hesitate to refer a case to. Lawyers are allowed to give pluses or minuses in order to make their votes more precise.

 Information available at www.bestlawyers.com

Super Lawyers (Years Received: Since 2007)

Super Lawyers selects attorneys using a rigorous, multiphase rating process. Peer nominations and evaluations are combined with third party research. Each candidate is evaluated on 12 indicators of peer recognition and professional achievement. Selections are made on an annual, state-by-state basis.

The objective is to create a credible, comprehensive and diverse listing of outstanding attorneys that can be used as a resource for attorneys and consumers searching for legal counsel. Since Super Lawyers is intended to be used as an aid in selecting a lawyer, we limit the lawyer ratings to those who can be hired and retained by the public, i.e., lawyers in private practice and Legal Aid attorneys.

The Super Lawyers selection process involves three basic steps: creation of the candidate pool; evaluation of candidates by the research department; and peer evaluation by practice area.

 Information from http://www.superlawyers.com/

Fayetteville Observer Reader’s Choice Award (Received over 10 times)

  • Beaver Courie Attorneys at Law was recognized as Reader’s Choice Best Law Firm in 2014.
  • Attorney Mark L. Hearp was recognized as Reader’s Choice Best Lawyer in 2009 (third) and 2010 (best lawyer).
  • Attorney David T. Courie, Sr. was recognized as Reader’s Choice Best Lawyer in 2001, 2004-2008, and a finalist in 2017.

Best of Fayetteville, Up & Coming Weekly (Received 2010, 2013-2017)

  • Voted Best Law Firm in Up & Coming Weekly’s “Best of Fayetteville.”
  • Attorney David Courie was voted Best Traffic Ticket Attorney in 2013-2015 and Best Criminal Attorney in 2016-2017.
  • Attorney Mark L. Hearp was voted Best Traffic Ticket Attorney in 2016-2017.
  • Paralegal Danielle Rea was voted Best Legal Assistant in 2015-2017.

Greatest Around Fayetteville

All community polls are based on the answers and submissions we receive from the local community. We merely seed the playing field with the questions. Our team has researched and vetted over 600 potential categories that we rotate through markets, when appropriate. Of course,  as we go along our list grows and so does our awareness and intimacy with each market. The poll is 100% unbiased.

Information provided by www.greatestaround.com

  • The law firm was voted Greatest Around Fayetteville in 2012, 2013
  • Attorney Cristina S. Quantock  was voted as Greatest Around Fayetteville for “Best Criminal Attorney” in 2013.
  • Attorney David T. Courie was voted second in Greatest Around Fayetteville for “Best Criminal Attorney” in 2013.
  • Attorney Mark L. Hearp was voted second in Greatest Around Fayetteville for “Best DWI Attorney” in 2013.

National Trial Lawyer’s Top 100 Trial Lawyers (Received by attorneys H. Gerald Beaver, Mark A. Sternlicht, David T. Courie, Sr., and Cristina Quantock )

The National Trial Lawyers: Top 100 an invitation-only organization composed of the premier trial lawyers from each state in the nation who meet stringent qualifications as civil plaintiff and/or criminal defense trial lawyers. Selection is based on a thorough multi-phase process which includes peer nominations combined with third-party research. Membership is extended solely to the select few of the most qualified attorneys from each state who demonstrate superior qualifications of leadership, reputation, influence, stature and public profile.

Information provided by www.thenationaltriallawyers.org

National Trial Lawyer’s Top 40 Under 40 (Received by Mark L. Hearp in 2013-2014)

The National Trial Lawyers: Top 40 under 40 is a professional organization composed of the top trial lawyers from each state or regions of certain highly-populated states who are younger than the age of 40.  Membership into The National Trial Lawyers: Top 40 under 40 is by invitation only and is extended exclusively to those trial lawyers practicing civil plaintiff and/or criminal defense law.  Invitees must exemplify superior qualifications, trial results, and leadership as a young lawyer under the age of 40. Selection is based on a thorough multi-phase process which includes peer nominations combined with third-party research.

Information provided by www.thenationaltriallawyers.org

Avvo Rating 10.0 Superb (2014-2017)

The Avvo Rating is our effort to evaluate a lawyer’s background, based on the information we know about the lawyer. The rating is calculated using a mathematical model that considers the information shown in a lawyer’s profile, including a lawyer’s years in practice, disciplinary history, professional achievements and industry recognition – all factors that, in our opinion, are relevant to assessing a lawyer’s qualifications.

We periodically collect background data from multiple sources, including state bar associations, court records, lawyer websites, and information that lawyers choose to provide to Avvo.

The Avvo Rating is based on all of the background information in a lawyer’s profile. However, we do not disclose how we weigh this information, primarily because we don’t want anyone gaming the Avvo Rating system. Much as Google doesn’t share its search engine secrets, we don’t share the inner-workings of the Avvo Rating so that we can maintain the integrity of the Avvo Rating.

What are the levels on the numerical Avvo Rating?

  • 9.0-10.0 Superb
  • 8.0-8.9 Excellent
  • 7.0-7.9 Very good
  • 6.0-6.9 Good
  • 5.0-5.9 Average
  • 4.0-4.9 Concern
  • 3.0-3.9 Caution
  • 2.0-2.9 Strong caution
  • 1.0-1.9 Extreme caution

Information provided by www.avvo.com

AV Preeminent (2013-2014, 2016-2017)

The Martindale-Hubbell® Peer Review Ratings™ help buyers of legal services identify, evaluate and select the most appropriate lawyer for a specific task at hand. Lawyer ratings serve as an objective indicator that a lawyer has the highest ethical standards and professional ability and are used by buyers of legal services to justify their hiring decisions. Combined with the Martindale-Hubbell® Client Review Ratings, self-reported professional credentials and other fact-based performance data, the Peer Review Ratings contribute to the comprehensive view of a lawyer.

The Martindale-Hubbell® Peer Review Ratings™ are an objective indicator of a lawyer’s high ethical standards and professional ability, generated from evaluations of lawyers by other members of the bar and the judiciary in the United States and Canada. The first review to establish a lawyer’s rating usually occurs three years after his/her first admission to the bar.

LexisNexis facilitates secure online Martindale-Hubbell Peer Review Ratings surveys of lawyers across multiple jurisdictions and geographic locations, in similar areas of practice as the lawyer being rated. Reviewers are asked to assess their colleagues’ general ethical standards and legal ability in a specific area of practice. The ratings appear in all formats of the Martindale-Hubbell® Law Directory, in the online listings on martindale.com®, Lawyers.comSM, on the LexisNexis services, on LexisNexis mobile apps.

The Ratings Explanation
Martindale-Hubbell® Peer Review Ratings™ reflect a combination of achieving a Very High General Ethical Standards rating and a Legal Ability numerical rating. A threshold number of responses is required to achieve a rating.

The General Ethical Standards rating denotes adherence to professional standards of conduct and ethics, reliability, diligence and other criteria relevant to the discharge of professional responsibilities. Those lawyers who meet the “Very High” criteria of General Ethical Standards can proceed to the next step in the ratings process – Legal Ability.

Legal Ability ratings are based on performance in five key areas, rated on a scale of 1 to 5 (with 1 being the lowest and 5 being the highest). These areas are:

  • Legal Knowledge – Lawyer’s familiarity with the laws governing his/her specific area of practice(s)
  • Analytical Capabilities – Lawyer’s creativity in analyzing legal issues and applying technical knowledge
  • Judgment – Lawyer’s demonstration of the salient factors that drive the outcome of a given case or issue.
  • Communication Ability – Lawyer’s capability to communicate persuasively and credibly
  • Legal Experience – Lawyer’s degree of experience in his/her specific area of practice(s)

The numeric ratings range may coincide with the appropriate Certification Mark:

  • AV Preeminent® (4.5-5.0) – AV Preeminent® is a significant rating accomplishment – a testament to the fact that a lawyer’s peers rank him or her at the highest level of professional excellence.
  • BV Distinguished® (3.0-4.4) – BV Distinguished® is an excellent rating for a lawyer with some experience. A widely respected mark of achievement, it differentiates a lawyer from his or her competition.
  • Rated (1.0-2.9) – The Peer Review Rated designation demonstrates that the lawyer has met the very high criteria of General Ethical Standing.

 Information available at http://www.martindale.com

NC Legal Elite (Received by H. Gerald Beaver (2005-2013))

Since 2002, Business North Carolina magazine has honored Tar Heel lawyers by publishing Business North Carolina’s Legal Elite, a listing of the state’s top lawyers in business-related categories. Winners are chosen not by BNC editors but by the state’s lawyers. Business North Carolina’s Legal Elite has become the model for other awards and lists, but it remains unique as the only award that gives every active lawyer in the state the opportunity to participate. Business North Carolina’s Legal Elite includes the top lawyers chosen using this statewide ballot.

Each year, BNC sends ballot notices to every member of the N.C. State Bar living in North Carolina — asking each a simple question: Of the Tar Heel lawyers whose work you have observed firsthand, whom would you rate among the current best in these categories? Voters are not allowed to vote for themselves. They may select members of their firms only if they pick out-of-firm lawyers in the same categories, with the latter votes weighted more heavily. The top vote-getter in each category becomes a member of Business North Carolina’s Legal Elite Hall of Fame and is ineligible to win again.

Information available at http://www.businessnc.com

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Practice Areas
Contact Information

Fayetteville Office:

Cumberland County
230 Green Street
Fayetteville NC 28301
P: (910) 323-4600
F: (910) 323-3403

Raeford Office:

Hoke County
127 W. Edinborough Ave.
P.O. Box 688
Raeford, NC 28376
P: (910) 875-3379
F: (910) 875-4030

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