U.S. News and Best Lawyers, the leading survey of lawyers worldwide, announced last year that the two publications have teamed up for an expansion of U.S. News's signature "America's Best" series to include new rankings of "America's Best Law Firms" and "America's Best Law Firms to Work For."
We want to give an update on the status of these new rankings. The ranking projects continue to make progress on the collection of client references and associate references from law firms. The vast majority of America's major law firms have provided the requested information. As with other rankings published by U.S. News, we believe that we will be able to secure from various sources quantitative data concerning those law firms that do not provide the requested statistical data directly to U.S. News and Best Lawyers. Combined with the qualitative reviews of the firms by clients—more than 50,000 client references have already been accumulated—and qualitative peer-reviews by leading lawyers, this will enable the publication of valid rankings for all major law firms, both large and small, across the United States in the inaugural year. In time, it is expected that an increasing number of the ranked law firms will participate in the process.
More than 5,000 law firms will be ranked in 125 legal practice areas nationally, by state, and by metropolitan area. In addition to rankings by legal practice area, the national, state, and metropolitan-area rankings for law firms with general corporate practices will be aggregated from rankings in individual practice areas to produce an overall "America's Best Law Firms" ranking. Lawyers, clients, marketing officers, recruiting officers, associates, and summer associates are being surveyed. In firms without marketing or recruiting officers, lawyers will be asked to provide the information asked of marketing and recruiting officers. The overall national rankings, including the highest ranking firms by practice area nationwide and the highest ranking firms in each state, will appear in U.S. News's October edition. The full set of "Best Law Firms" rankings may also appear in a stand-alone publication, tentatively scheduled for October release. The "Best Law Firms to Work For" rankings will appear in a stand-alone publication, tentatively scheduled for release in January 2011. All of the "Best Law Firm" rankings and accompanying data will be posted online in September. The Best Lawyers search engine already appears on usnews.com as well as on the Best Lawyers website.