Methodology - United States

Welcome to Benchmark Litigation the definitive guide to America's leading litigation law firms and lawyers.

Benchmark Litigation is the only publication on the market to focus exclusively on litigation in the US. Since its inception 11 years ago, the Benchmark brand has grown dramatically and garnered industry-wide accolades as the definitive hub for in-depth analysis of the players shaping the dynamic practice of litigation. In keeping with Benchmark’s sharp rise in popularity, its publishing staff increasingly aims to respond to the demands of its audience.

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

In the United States we also conduct research into specific areas of the American disputes market, specifically Benchmark California, Benchmark Labor and Empoyment, Benchmark 40 and Under Hotlist and Benchmark Top 250 Women in Litigation.

To ensure that you hear about research updates from Benchmark

Our Lawyer Survey is now LIVE!

Our Lawyer Survey is a quick and easy way for lawyers to tell us about their practice and promote their credentials. It is a key factor in helping us determine our Stars list of ranked lawyers. Lawyers can also provide feedback on our existing lists of ranked firms and individuals.

The survey is open to all disputes lawyers and you can take it by clicking the link below


Research timeline

  • RESEARCH BEGINS – January 2019
  • RESEARCH INTERVIEWS (firms and client referees) – February - July

How to take part

To take part in our research simply complete our ONLINE SUBMISSION FORM and CLIENT REFEREE SUBMISSION FORM.

The ONLINE SUBMISSION FORM includes the following sections:

  1. Litigation Star nominees - Your recommendations as to who who we should rank as 'Litigation Stars' in the next edition.
  2. Future Star nominees - Your recommendations as to who we should rank as 'Future Stars' in the next edition.
  3. Representative cases - Your selection of your firm's most significant cases from the last 12 months.

The CLIENT REFEREE SUBMISSION FORM allows you to provide us with basic contact details of clients the firm has worked with recently. We contact these clients as part of our research to get feedback on your firm and lawyers. Client contact details provided are treated as confidential. The answers provided by clients are 'not for attribution' and we do not publish or reveal client details.

You can view PDF examples of the online forms at the following links:



Why take part?

  • Editorial coverage in the guide
  • Accurate and in-depth representation of your firm’s activities
  • Exposure to our global readership at the world’s most significant corporations and financial institutions

Benchmark California and Benchmark Labor and Employment

Alongside our main US coverage we also produce standalone guides looking at specific disputes practice areas and specific states.

Benchmark California

The objective of this research is to offer a more comprehensive and nuanced examination of the California litigation and disputes market, including offering a closer look at the channels that are driving the work in this specific market, as well a deeper dive into uncovering the firms and individuals servicing this work.

To take part simply follow the steps outlined above for our main US research making sure to select 'California' where prompted in our online form to make a California specific submission.

You can submit for both California and for our nationwide US research, but please submit seperately for each if you wish to do so.

Benchmark Labor & Employment

Owing to a rising chorus of demand from practitioners, in 2018 the Benchmark team set out to find the best and brightest law firms and partners who stand out in their labor and employment practices throughout the US.

To take part in our Labor and employment research you can either submit your work and details through our main US research form or submit via our dedicated labor and employment submission form. For more details please click HERE.


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 October and January. 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:

Litigation Stars

Lawyers who are highly regarded by their peers and possess a strong case record and positive client feedback.

Future Stars

'Ones to watch' these are lawyers who are building their reputations in the market.

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 will receive some form of editorial coverage, 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 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 - no exceptions.

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 January 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

Business Development, Rebecca Synott at