Leading Lawyers have been recommended by their peers to be among the TOP LAWYERS in the areas of practice noted on this website. Less than 5% of all lawyers licensed in each state have received the distinction of Leading Lawyer.
THE SELECTION PROCESS
The list of Leading Lawyers and the LeadingLawyers.com website are very different from other attorney search sites or lawyer finder directories. LAWYERS CANNOT BUY THEIR WAY ONTO THE LIST OF LEADING LAWYERS. The list of Leading Lawyers that appears on this site is the result of contact with thousands of lawyers in a given state. In surveys mailed to all lawyers in that state, we ask them which of their peers they believe comprise the top lawyers within their respective region and/or area(s) of law. Only those lawyers who are most often recommended, and later approved by our Advisory Board, are selected as Leading Lawyers. We limit the total number of Leading Lawyers in a state to less than five percent of all lawyers licensed to practice law in that state. All Leading Lawyers have their name, firm name, city and recommended area(s) of law listed on this site at NO COST. Leading Lawyers may then choose to pay a fee to have their biographical profile and photo on this site. But again, a lawyer cannot simply pay to become a Leading Lawyer.
THE RESEARCH PROCESS
Phase I - We begin with the premise that the practice of law is unique in that you truly need to be a lawyer to judge the quality, experience, and reputation of other lawyers. With this premise in mind, Law Bulletin Media mails a survey to all lawyers licensed in a state that asks them, "If a family member or friend needs legal help and you can't take the case, which lawyers would you recommend within your area of law or geographic region?" This methodology ensures that peers recommend peers - indeed their own competitors. To maintain the quality and credibility of the survey, lawyers cannot nominate themselves or anyone at their law firm. To overcome popularity contests, we give varying weight to different nominators.
Phase II - When the surveys are returned by mail or online with qualifying nominations, we conduct discussions by mail, phone, fax and e-mail with the lawyers who are most often nominated. We use Phase I and other qualitative information sources to determine the most highly regarded lawyers within each of our more than 100 practice areas. The second phase involves lengthy discussions with the top lawyers in each area of law and within all geographic areas of a state to complete the list. It is assumed that the most highly regarded lawyers know their areas of law and their geographical regions better than most lawyers. This is due to their extensive experience and interaction with other lawyers from their respective areas of law and regions of the state. These nominations are weighted more heavily than Phase I of the survey process.
Phase III - The lawyers who receive the most nominations in this stage of the survey process are pre-selected for membership. Next, the ethical standing of each of these selectees is verified with the state's lawyer registration or disciplinary board to ensure their law licenses are current and that there are no legal or ethical violations of note.
Phase IV - In this final stage, the selectees are reviewed by the Leading Lawyers Advisory Board. The Advisory Board is comprised of those Leading Lawyers who received the most number of votes for their area or areas of law and/or their region of the state. All have agreed to serve on the Advisory Board. Each State's Advisory Board is geographically and categorically diverse so it would be impossible for an individual law firm or a small group of lawyers to negatively affect the credibility of the research. The Advisory Board serves to ensure that this is not a popularity contest. Once approval is received from the Advisory Board, these pre-selectees become Leading Lawyers.
Annual surveys are sent and lawyers do need to qualify each year. As a practical matter, and due to the nature of who these Leading Lawyers are, the number of changes from year to year is small, but past association or paid membership has no bearing on future selection. We have actually refunded money to lawyers whom we had to later remove when the Advisory Board raised an issue or a new ethical issue came to light.
We take the quality of the list and the integrity of our research process very seriously. The comprehensiveness, geographic diversity, quality and public nature of our Advisory Board in each state are what separate us from other leading, Best, Top or Super attorney or lawyer concepts.
Emerging Lawyers have been identified by their peers to be among the TOP LAWYERS who are age 40 or younger unless they have practiced for no more than 10 years. Less than 2% of all lawyers licensed in each state have received the distinction of Emerging Lawyer.
THE RESEARCH AND SELECTION PROCESS
Emerging Lawyer selection arises from Law Bulletin Media's annual surveys that are mailed to all Leading Lawyers in the state. The survey asks Leading Lawyers to confidentially share the names of lawyers whom they believe have jumped quickly from the starting gate and have proven themselves professional, ethical, and experienced at an early point in their legal career. Unlike Leading Lawyers surveys, each Leading Lawyer is permitted to recommend one lawyer from their own law firm for every two lawyers recommended from outside of their firm.
CRITERIA FOR EMERGING LAWYERS
Any lawyer licensed in a given state who has proven to be of exceptional character and has conveyed outstanding aptitude for the practice of law in the early stage of their career. Emerging Lawyers must be 40 or younger unless they have practiced for no more than 10 years.