The Benchmark Litigation 2024 research cycle has officially commenced! Relevant documents & research timelines can be found below.
The United States research cycle also includes the production of two supplementary extension guides:
See below for more information on how to particpate.
Please note: Benchmark Litigation's Labor & Employment guide will not be running in 2023. Labor and employment as a practice area will be considered for the Benchmark USA guide. The US edition will include national rankings and the Top Labor & Employment Litigators list. Labor & Employment Stars will be considered for the National Practice Area Star designation in labor and employment, as well as Litigation Star and Future Star designations. Additionally, law firms that were listed in the labor and employment rankings will also be considered for state ranking within the Benchmark USA guide. We strongly encourage all labor and employment firms and lawyers to participate in the Benchmark USA research cycle.
How to participate:
1. Create an Accreditation Portal account HERE. If you previously registered, please check that login information is up to date.
2. Upload the documents to your portal account.
3. Encourage lawyers to take the INDIVIDUAL LAWYER SURVEY once available.
Please note: Client referees must be provided using the above template. Any references not provided in this format will NOT be contacted.
For each jurisdiction, you only need to submit ONE Research form covering all areas of litigation work, however if you wish, you can provide additional information/documents and case highlights for individual litigation practice area categories in support of your main submission.
• RESEARCH BEGINS – February 2023
• SUBMISSION DEADLINE – Friday April 7, 20023
• RESEARCH INTERVIEW PERIOD (firms and client referees) – February - June 2023
• RANKINGS AND EDITORIAL PUBLISHED – October 2023
**If you submit after the above deadline, we cannot guarantee your consideration for our supplemental extension publications, as they publish sooner. For information regarding those publications (Top 250, Under 40, etc.) see below.**
Benchmark Top 250 Women in Litigation & Benchmark 40 & Under Hotlist
Alongside our main US coverage we also produce standalone guides looking at leading female litigators who participate in some of the most impactful litigation matters, and leading litigators who are among the top young talent in their respective practice areas.
Benchmark Top 250 Women in Litigation
The extensive research process used in the creation of Benchmark’s Top 250 Women in Litigation involves months of investigation into individual female litigators’ professional activities as well as client feedback surveys and one-on-one interviews, and has culminated in the selection of the most distinguished women in the world of litigation.
These women have earned their place amongst the leading female litigators by participating in some of the most impactful litigation matters in recent history. Though they hail from widely different practice areas, they all share the distinction of being recognized as top players in their respective fields. This year's guide includes coverage of female litigators in the US, Canada and Latin America.
To put forth a litigator for this designation, simply nominate the individual under the 'Litigation Star' section of the U.S. research questionnaire and indicate "Top 250". Follow the remaining steps outlined above for our main US research. Nominees must be of 'Partner' status. This guide publishes in August.
Benchmark 40 & Under List
Each year, the Benchmark team sets out to find the best and brightest law firm partners who stand out in their practices throughout the US and in Canada. The current group of litigators is diverse and enthusiastic, ready to take the reins from previous generations. These young ambitious and accomplished lawyers frequently handle major cases – some of which are high-stakes or precedent-setting. They are able to adapt to rapidly changing times in addition to juggling their flourishing careers and personal lives, and all while staying on top of their industry. These practitioners are among the top young talent in their respective litigation communities in the U.S. & Canada.
To put forth a litigator for this designation, simply nominate the individual under the 'Litigation Star' section of the U.S. research questionnaire. Follow the steps outlined above for our main US research. Nominees must be of 'Partner' status. This guide publishes in July.
In an effort to provide the most accurate and comprehensive coverage of the United States litigation market, we have taken a two-fold approach to our research.
The national section of our guide identifies select firms and attorneys who have displayed the ability to consistently handle complex, high-stakes cases in multiple jurisdictions. These selections are consistently recommended within the United States business and legal communities for the quality of their litigation professionals and trial work.
Additionally, we have identified individual litigators who were noted as having strength in a particular practice area – either exclusively or as a specialty component of their general practice.
Regional and local expertise is also a crucial factor in commercial litigation, and in the second section of the guide we identify the leading litigation firms and partners in each US state. Each state chapter includes:
Rankings of the top local litigation firms
We divided the firms in each local market into “highly recommended” and “recommended” categories. All listed firms were consistently mentioned by peers and clients, but the “highly recommended” firms received the most mentions, and were held as dominant in their particular jurisdiction.
Rankings of the top local litigation stars
The list of “local litigation stars” for each state reflects only those individuals who were recommended consistently as reputable and effective litigators by clients and peers.
Editorials on every ranked firm
We have made every effort to offer in-depth coverage of the ranked firms. In some cases, however, we were not able to provide editorial content for every ranked firm due to a lack of participation or available information.
Recommendations are based on interviews with the nation’s leading private practice lawyers and in-house counsel. These interviews were conducted between February and July. Firms cannot pay to be recommended for the guide. Instead, firms have been independently offered the opportunity to take a professional listing regardless of editorial content.
Litigation Stars and Future Stars
Alongside our firm rankings we also recognise the work of outstanding individuals. Our recommendations are based on the same three factors as our law firm rankings and consist of the following categories:
Lawyers who are highly regarded by their peers and possess a strong case record and positive client feedback.
'Ones to watch' these are lawyers who are building their reputations in the market and have been deemed likely to be noted as litigation stars within the next three years at most. These individuals MUST BE OF PARTNER LEVEL.
Frequently Asked Questions
How does Benchmark differ from Chambers or other competitors?
Benchmark focuses exclusively on dispute resolution and litigation. This allows us to provide a much more in-depth analysis of the market. Benchmark is also editorially driven, rather than statistically driven, and strives to avoid being over-inclusive. We aim to cover only firms and litigators that are of an elite status.
How much influence do we have over our ratings vs. the external market?
Firms are encouraged to tell their story via our research form and through interviews. We then measure the firm’s input against the feedback we receive via studying the market. If our studies are in harmony with the firm’s assertions, we weight them equally. If there is an extreme disparity between the firm’s views and a pronounced percentage of the market, we will provide greater weight to the market consensus.
If we participate, are we guaranteed to get rated and/or have commentary?
All firms who submit questionnaires by the due date and who eventually become ranked are likely to receive some form of editorial coverage, either in print or online or both. However we do not guarantee rankings or lawyer ratings simply on the strength of firm questionnaires/interviews alone. Rankings are a cumulative product of direct input from firms, peer review and client review. Firms who submit questionnaires 30 days or more beyond the due date are not guaranteed editorial analysis at all.
Should we list confidential cases/clients? How do we ensure these remain confidential?
You can provide confidential clients/cases if you feel we should be aware of these, and we will certainly be respectful of confidential agreements – please mark confidential information clearly.
When/how do you contact client referees?
We contact all client referees provided to us via email and invite them to take part in an online client survey. The survey asks clients about the firms they use, why they use them, what they use them for and how long they have been using them. The information provided by clients is confidential though we do publish non-attributed client quotes in the guide.
Do you only rate those of partner level?
Yes. Litigation stars and future stars alike MUST be of partner status. The only exception to this is partners who have since hit "mandatory retirement" age at a particular firm and has stayed on as counsel status. However, these are reviewed on a case-by-case basis and de-equitized former partners must demonstrate and/or receive market recognition as still maintaining an active enough litigation practice to qualify for "star" status.
We’re a small boutique firm – what chance do we stand against the big brand name firms in your ratings?
Because Benchmark focuses exclusively on disputes, which is often the focus for specialist firms in the market, smaller firms stand a very good chance of being just as highly rated as large corporate firms, and in some cases even more highly rated.
How do we prepare for the interview process, and how do we know which partner(s) to schedule?
Benchmark reporters are available to speak with partners between February and July on a first-come/first-serve basis. Phone interviews can be scheduled between 10am and 5pm ET, Monday through Friday. We interview anywhere between one and five partners per firm. One-partner interviews are typically with a managing partner or head/chair of the litigation department. Multiple partner interviews are typically with those representing different practice areas and/or those exemplifying a "generational spectrum" (a mix of more seasoned/established partners and those representing the "future star"/"next generation" levels.) Conference calls can be arranged, with no more than three partners on any one call. Phone interviews can last anywhere between 20 and 60 minutes, depending on the number of practitioners involved and the reporter's inquiry needs. Partners should be prepared to speak to their, as well as the firm's, overall perspective on litigation and disputes, discussing any recent highlights or achievements, as well as any broader market trends or forces that are driving work in their area. Partner interviewees MUST also be prepared/willing to answer peer review questions from the Benchmark reporter. The interview is not merely a promotional opportunity for the firm, it is also essential to our data gathering process and key to ensuring the integrity of our rankings. Benchmark reporters reserve the right to decline to interview any partner(s) who do not wish to offer peer review.
How do we get an in-person interview?
In-person interviews are welcomed. Simply contact us and request one, and, depending on the schedule flexibility of our researchers and your firm's location, we can arrange one. In-person meetings allow for more partners to be interviewed (up to 10) and greater time frames devoted (up to 2 hours.) These can be scheduled between 11am and 4pm ET on a first-come/first-serve basis. We also conduct in-person meetings outside the New York metro area, with various locales chosen on a yearly basis. Reporters will be in touch if plans are confirmed to make a visit to your jurisdiction.
Should I wait until the firm questionnaire is complete before scheduling partner interviews?
There is no need to wait, as the interviews are not about going through the submission again. Interviews allow lawyers to tell our researchers their stories in general personal summary form, and provide us with the feedback that we require regarding peer review, market trends, in-house counsel references, etc.
Can I review my firm’s editorial in advance of press and suggest changes to it?
No. Firms cannot be allowed to view their editorials prior to press, and are never allowed to have their own input into how they read.
What is the readership of Benchmark?
The readers of Benchmark include law firms and buyers of legal services/in-house counsel.
Is Benchmark "pay-to-play?" If I don’t support the project financially do I still get rated?
Benchmark is absolutely not "pay-to-play." Firms cannot pay to appear in the guide, and can only be rated if the market deems them worthy of consideration.
I have a question that’s not answered here. Can I contact anyone to ask it?
Editor, Michael Rafalowich at firstname.lastname@example.org
Senior Research Analyst, Brittany Sharoff at email@example.com
Head of Business Development, Rebecca Synott at firstname.lastname@example.org