Expanded Methodology

Our Best Law Firms- Canada rankings are based on a rigorous evaluation process that includes the collection of client and professional reference assessments, peer review from leading lawyers, industry leader interviews and review of additional firm highlights provided by law firms as part of the formal research cycle.


Firms with at least one lawyer recognized in the current edition of The Best Lawyers in Canada in a practice area ranked by Best Law Firms are eligible to receive a firm ranking in that practice area in Canada. For more information on Best Lawyers® awards, please visit www.bestlawyers.com.

Practice Areas

Practice area rankings are produced through jurisdictional and separately national evaluation, throughout Canada. As some practice areas are highly specialized, with a small number of firms offering client services in these legal areas, there is not always sufficient competitive data for proper evaluation on a national level. Therefore, national practice areas are specialties that have a preeminent national presence.


Jurisdictions are defined by assessing the population of eligible law firms geographically to guarantee enough comparative data to produce accurate results.

Submission Process

As part of our research process, eligible firms will be sent research submission packets in May. This campaign includes information about a firm’s eligibility, access to the firm’s “Law Firm Survey” and the link to the clients and professional references portal. Law firms are asked to provide us with firmographic data and other information that speaks to the strengths of a law firm’s practice areas. Firms are also asked to supply client and professional references for us to contact to collect their feedback on their own experiences with the firm.

Additional Feedback Analyzed

Clients and professional references are asked to provide feedback on firm performance addressing six criteria: expertise, responsiveness, understanding of a business and its needs, cost-effectiveness, integrity and recommendability. References also have the option to add names of additional law firms they have worked with on other matters and within practice areas beyond those they were asked to comment on by the referring firm. Some clients choose to write a comment about their experience with the law firm. These comments are for reference only and are not used as data points in the formal evaluation process.
Additionally, through the foundational Best Lawyers research process, lawyers are asked to provide feedback individually and organizationally on competitors in specific fields. Voting lawyers are asked to consider experience, responsiveness, whether they would refer a matter to a firm and whether they consider a firm a worthy competitor.
The “Law Firm Leaders Survey” provides personal insight into the legal landscape surrounding the nationally ranked practice areas. We invite a group of practice group leaders and firm management to provide feedback on law firms that have a preeminent national presence within specified legal practice areas they know well.

Rankings by Tiers

The quantitative and qualitative data collected is combined into an overall Best Law Firms - Canada score for each firm. This data is then compared to other firms within the same jurisdictions and at the national level. Because firms are often separated by small differences in overall score, we use a tier system rather than ranking law firms sequentially. The first tier includes those firms that score within a certain percentage of the highest-scoring firms; the second tier those firms that score within a certain percentage of the next highest-scoring firms, and so on. National rankings are based on jurisdictional awards, the scope of the firms’ coverage in an area outside of one jurisdiction, and the level of legal activity in each region. The number of tiers included in each practice area ranking varies, and some specialties may not be ranked in areas where there is not enough data to provide rankings in a particular specialty.

"Law Firm of the Year"

A singular "Law Firm of the Year" recognition will be considered in the 34 nationally ranked practice areas. Law firms receiving the "Law Firm of the Year" designation have an outstanding overall performance in that particular specialty. The same factors for determining national rankings also apply to these awards. Reference reviews, peer-lawyer feedback, and industry leader interviews determine the top firm in a practice area. Additionally, a firm can only win in two practice areas in a particular edition.

Award Announcement

Law firms will be confidentially notified in early October by email of their upcoming rankings in advance of the public announcement in November. This gives firms time to prepare press releases, website updates, social media posts, advertisements and other announcement materials prior to the public release. If you work for a firm and would like to be added to our announcement distribution list, please contact us at info@bestlawyers.com to request an account.

Public Release

Our inaugural Best Law Firms - Canada awards will be released in November on bestlawfirms.com. For more information, contact us at: bestlawfirms@bestlawyers.com.
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