About our research and methodology

The results of Benchmark Litigation, Benchmark Canada, and Benchmark Mexico stem from the culmination of a research period (lasting from four to six months, depending on region) where our researchers conduct extensive interviews with litigators and their clients to identify the leading litigators and firms. During these interviews, researchers examine recent casework handled by law firms and ask individual litigators to offer their professional opinions on peers.

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. Recommendations are based on interviews with the nation’s leading private practice lawyers and in-house counsel.

In an effort to provide the most accurate and comprehensive coverage of the litigation market, we have taken a two-fold approach to our research by analyzing the litigation market on both the geographic (state or provincial) level as well as the capacity in which individuals are specialists in a particular area of practice.

What you can find in our National Practice Area Section:

The national section of each guide identifies the firms and attorneys who have displayed the ability to consistently handle complex, high-stakes cases in multiple jurisdictions. These selections are consistently recommended within their respective country’s business and legal communities for the quality of their litigation professionals and trial work.

For Benchmark Litigation, our guide focused exclusively on the overall US litigation market, we rank firms and list leading national attorneys in the following practice areas:

- Appellate - Intellectual Property
- Antitrust - International Arbitration
- Bankruptcy - Products Liability
- General Commercial - Securities
- Insurance - White-collar crime/Enforcement/Investigations

And finally, in Benchmark Canada, our guide focused exclusively on the litigation market in Canada, we rank firms and list leading national attorneys in the following practice areas:

- Aboriginal - Intellectual Property
- Competition - International Arbitration
- Energy - Product Liability
- Insolvency - Securities
- Insurance

What you can find in our State and Provincial Sections:

Regional and local expertise is also a crucial factor in commercial litigation. During our research phase, we dive into the local litigation markets in a similar manner to our national analysis but on a local level.

For Benchmark Litigation, we identify the leading litigation firms, local litigation stars, and future stars in each of the 50 states and the District of Columbia. And we do the same for Benchmark Canada across the provinces.

Leading 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.
Star attorneys:
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.
The list of “future stars” in each state reflects those partners who were consistently referenced by peers and clients as litigators who are likely to be become “local litigation stars” in coming editions of the guide.

Benchmark Judges Research and Methodology

Research for Benchmark Judges is carried out by a team of experienced journalists based in New York. The content is derived from telephone interviews with thousands of litigators across America about sitting federal judges in whose courts they have appeared. A number of the most active senior status judges were also included. Anonymity was completely guaranteed during the process to ensure we would receive the most candid, honest feedback possible about each judge’s temperament, personality, and procedural eccentricities.

The headlines represent the key focus areas of our research. Typically the profiles are based on a minimum of four separate interviews, with more informants interviewed for the larger, busier districts. The litigators are invited to give us their opinions and recount their personal experiences with specific district court judges. In the rare case that the respondents do not reach a general consensus regarding a particular judge, we further investigate the issues to arrive at a more balanced depiction. In the case of the newer appointees, we have assembled a basic profile to reflect what information was received while we continue to carry out additional research.

Benchmark Judges cannot confirm the exact details of each personal experience cited by litigators, but all interviewees were vetted to confirm their professional credentials.