Methodology for US Awards

Below are descriptions of the selection methodologies for our rankings and recognitions. No aspect of this advertisement has been approved by the Supreme Court of New Jersey.

Benchmark Litigation (Euromoney Institutional Investor PLC) 

Law firms are asked to register in Benchmark Litigation’s Accreditation Portal, where they can download a research form and client referee template to complete and submit.

For the national section, select firms and attorneys who have displayed the ability to consistently handle complex, high-stakes cases in multiple jurisdictions are selected. These selections are consistently recommended within the United States business and legal communities for the quality of their litigation professionals and trial work.

Individual litigators who were noted as having strength in a particular practice area also are identified.

Leading litigation firms and partners in each US state are identified for the second section of the guide.

Research is conducted through extensive interviews with litigators, dispute resolution specialists and their clients to identify the leading litigators and firms. During these interviews, recent casework handled by law firms are examined and individual litigators are asked to provide their professional opinions on peers and practitioners within their jurisdiction or practice area.

In the United States researchers also conduct research into specific areas of the American disputes market, producing relevant research content specific to 40 & Under List, Top 250 Women in Litigation, and Labor & Employment.

Best Lawyers

Best Lawyers considers all lawyers in previous editions as well as new nominations for any lawyers in private practice. Once the nomination period closes, the peer-review process begins. Nominees must garner enough positive feedback to be highlighted in the next edition. Best Lawyers suggests that nominees be in practice for at least 10 years in order to give them time to build a legal presence in their community and practice areas. While anyone can submit a nomination, Best Lawyers asks that a lawyer not nominate himself or herself.

Best Lawyers voters provide peer review within their own geographic region and practice areas, therefore restricting lawyers from select which nominees they want to vote on. Voters are asked to score each lawyer with “5” being the highest score and indicating that the voter would certainly refer a case to the nominee. On the other end, “1” is the lowest score and indicates that the voter would definitely not refer a case to the nominee. The option to choose “Do Not Know” is also available to voters, which signifies that the voter is not familiar with a particular candidate‘s work. Lawyers are not allowed to vote on themselves.

Once voting is complete Best Lawyers begins the verification process, in which contact information for all recognized lawyers is confirmed to ensure accurate information and that clients can reach them.

Lawyers who are recognized in the new edition are alerted via email and hard-copy letter. Marketing departments at firms also receive a complete list of the lawyers from their firm who will be recognized by Best Lawyers.


Chambers researchers review submission documents, submitted by law firms, which include such information as the overall size of each team, names of key partners and notable achievements over the last 12 months. Firms also submit contact information for references. Rankings are based on interviews with selected references. Researchers review the submissions and conduct selected interviews with supplied references. In addition to submissions, researchers also analyze reference feedback, client satisfaction indices, reputation in the market, peer knowledge and other discreet independent market sources for rankings that are considered among the most thorough. While all submissions are reviewed and assessed, only the best receive a ranking. The top-ranked firms must demonstrate legal ability, expertise and experience in the selected practice area and jurisdiction, recognized client service, evidence of responsiveness, speed of action, clarity in communication and opinions that are both decisive and inform. Evidence of an ability to support client needs right across the team from associate to senior partner also must be demonstrated.

Once the research process has been concluded, the assessment team meets to analyze the findings and determine the final ranking tables.

IFLR1000 (Euromoney Institutional Investor PLC)

Law firms are asked to provide annual submissions for each practice area they wish to have considered. Submissions must including basic information on the structure and focus of the practice, recent changes to the team and highlight deals. Experience on complex, innovative or significant deals is the key factor used to determine a firm or lawyers' ranking.

Client referees, also requested from firms, are surveyed for their opinion on the performance of firms and lawyers during the research cycle. Client referees must have worked with the firm in the 18 months prior to submission on work relevant to our research.

IFLR1000 evaluates law firms and lawyers by practice area within a jurisdiction on the basis of transactional evidence and client feedback. Transactions are assessed and compared by how complex or challenging the work is or whether there was any innovation involved in the deal or its structuring. Firm and lawyers that consistently – over at least several research cycles or three calendar years – advise on a share of the most complex or innovative transactions in their markets, and that receive excellent feedback for that work, will be ranked or rated highly.

IFLR1000 ranks firms according to the work undertaken by firms’ lawyers based in a jurisdiction. Only firms with an office in a jurisdiction licensed by a local bar association can be ranked in that jurisdiction’s rankings. Lawyers must be licensed and based in a country to be rated at a national level there.

Legal 500

Legal 500 invites firms every year to provide information on practice areas and requests specific details of work undertaken in the preceding year (some of which can be confidential).

Researchers conduct interviews with attorneys in each subject area – generally the head of department or nominated partner. Interviews also are conducted with chief executives, managing and senior partners of law firms and practice managers.

Researchers also contact an estimated 300,000 clients, from lists submitted by firms, asking for feedback on the lawyers they instruct. Interviews are based on a standard-form questionnaire, but supplementary questions and more wide-ranging conversations about both specific law firms and the key issues which inform the purchase of legal services are in fact the norm. Interviews are conducted by experienced journalists and researchers with a considerable depth of market knowledge. All interviews are non-attributable. Unsolicited comments and recommendations from clients also are taken into account.

Findings from submissions and reference interviews are benchmarked against a detailed representative sample of the world’s leading companies. Researchers ensure that they’ve contacted a statistically valid sample of leading clients when ranked either by market cap, by business sector or by region.

Pro Bono Publico Award (Legal Aid Society)

Each year nearly 3,000 volunteers from the private bar, corporate legal departments, and law schools generously partner with the staff of The Legal Aid Society on behalf of vulnerable New Yorkers. Of those volunteers, just 300 are nominated by Legal Aid staff for special recognition with a Pro Bono Publico award, which recognizes exceptional commitment to ensuring that no New Yorker is denied the right to equal justice.

Super Lawyers (Thomson Reuters)

Lawyers enter the candidate pool by being formally nominated by a peer or if identified by the research department during the research process. Once a year, lawyers in each state are invited to nominate the top attorneys they've personally observed in action. Lawyers may nominate attorneys in their own firm, but these nominations count only if each in-firm nomination is matched by at least one out-firm nomination.

Each nomination carries a point value and out-firm nominations have a greater point value than in-firm nominations. Lawyers cannot nominate themselves, and must limit their nominations to others who practice in the same state.

An attorney-led research staff searches for additional lawyers who have attained certain honors, results or credentials which indicate a high degree of peer recognition or professional competence. Researchers also find outstanding lawyers who have been overlooked in the nomination process, which could include lawyers with national litigation practices who rarely appear in the courts of their home jurisdiction or lawyers in smaller firms or from smaller communities.

Super Lawyers also opens the nomination process to those who are not actively licensed to practice in the same state as the nominee, such as marketing directors. These informal nominations carry a lower point value.

Researchers evaluate nominees based on 12 indicators of peer recognition and professional achievement, including verdicts/settlements, transactions, honors/awards, special licenses/certifications, position within the law firm and pro bono and community service. Some of the 12 indicators have a higher maximum point value than others.

The third step of the selection process is peer evaluation by practice area. The candidates in each practice area with the highest point totals are asked to serve on a panel to review a list of candidates from their practice areas, rating them on a scale of one to five.

Candidates are grouped into four firm-size categories. Those with the highest point totals from each category are selected. Five percent of the total lawyers in the state are selected for inclusion in Super Lawyers. Researchers check each candidate's standing with the local licensing authority. Each candidate is asked to declare that they have never been subject to disciplinary or criminal proceedings. Final Internet searches are performed to ensure there are no outstanding matters that would reflect adversely on the lawyer. Each lawyer is contacted to ensure accuracy of all published information.

The final published list represents no more than 5 percent of the lawyers in the state. The lists are published annually in state and regional editions of Super Lawyers Magazines and in inserts and special advertising sections in leading city and regional magazines and newspapers.

The selection process for the Rising Stars list is the same as the Super Lawyers selection process, with one exception: to be eligible for inclusion in Rising Stars, a candidate must be either 40 years old or younger or in practice for 10 years or less. All attorneys first go through the Super Lawyers selection process. Those who are not selected to the Super Lawyers list, but who meet either one of the Rising Stars eligibility requirements, go through the Rising Stars selection process. While up to five percent of the lawyers in the state are named to Super Lawyers, no more than 2.5 percent are named to the Rising Stars list.

Who's Who Legal (Law Business Research Ltd.)

Findings are based on recommendations and feedback from private practitioners in each sector or industry, as well as from corporate counsel or other clients who have worked closely with the nominees. Written submissions of work highlights are not requested or accepted as part of the process.

An extensive pre-research process takes place for any new practice area to identify potential names for inclusion. Firms are generally invited to put forward notable candidates for consideration.

For existing practice areas, research builds upon findings from previous years. The names of practitioners who have received recommendations, nominations or other positive feedback in the area in previous years are collated to form a preliminary nomination list. This is supplemented by suggestions of new potential additions made by firms, corporate counsel and through other pre-research conducted by the WWL research team.

The preliminary nomination list is distributed to all nominated practitioners, requesting their comments via online surveys. They are invited to submit client references support their inclusion. All feedback received is taken into account when deciding the listings.

Telephone and face-to-face interviews are then conducted with a selection of nominated practitioners to gain further insight into the market and to collect additional feedback on the preliminary nomination list. All client referees are contacted and invited to appraise the referring practitioner and any other individuals they wish to provide feedback on.

Recommendations for a practitioner within the same firm or Swiss Verein are not considered nor are votes for an individual known by reputation but not first-hand experience.

Once the process is complete, all of the feedback, votes and nominations received are tallied and weighted on a database using a proprietary in-house algorithm. The preliminary nomination list is culled to produce a final list of practitioners who are considered the pre-eminent names in their field.