Expanded Methodology

Our Best Law Firms rankings are based on a rigorous evaluation process that includes the collection of clients and professional reference evaluations, peer review from leading attorneys, industry leader interviews and review of additional firmographic highlights provided by law firms as part of the formal research submission process.


Firms that have at least one lawyer who is currently recognized in the current edition of The Best Lawyers in America ® in a practice area and metro jurisdiction ranked by Best Law Firms are eligible to receive a firm ranking in that practice area and jurisdiction. For more information on Best Lawyers®, please visit www.bestlawyers.com.

Practice Areas

Practice area rankings are produced both nationally and within 188 metropolitan areas across the United States. Because some practice areas have limited presence in particular legal markets, or because there was not enough data garnered for proper evaluation, some practice areas that are covered in our research are not represented in the national rankings or various metropolitan rankings. The 2024 Best Law Firms national rankings cover 75 practice areas and 127 practice areas are covered on the metropolitan lists.

Metro Areas

Metropolitan-area jurisdictions are defined by assessing the population of eligible law firms geographically to guarantee enough comparative data to produce accurate results. There are eight states that have a high percentage of eligible law firms located in one large metropolitan area. Because there are also eligible law firms outside of those metropolitan areas, but not enough to create accurate results for separate metropolitan rankings, results are produced for the entire state. The states that fall into this category are Alaska, Colorado, Delaware, Hawaii, Idaho, New Jersey, Rhode Island and Utah.

Submission Process

As part of our research process, eligible firms are sent submission packets in January. This packet includes information about a firm’s eligibility as well as access to their law firm survey and the portal to provide clients and professional references. Law firms are asked to provide us with general demographic and background information on the law firm and practicing lawyers, and other data that speaks to the strengths of a law firm’s practice area(s).

Additional Feedback Analyzed

Clients and professional references are asked to provide feedback on firm practice groups, addressing experience, responsiveness, understanding of a business and its needs, cost-effectiveness, civility and whether they would refer another client to the firm. 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, as part of the foundational Best Lawyers research process, lawyers are asked to provide feedback individually and organizationally on competitors in their 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.
For the tenth year, a Law Firm Leaders Survey was implemented to provide personal insight on the legal landscape surrounding the nationally ranked practice areas. We ask this group to vote on law firms that have a preeminent national presence within specified legal practice areas they know well.
In addition to information from these surveys and interviews, the 2024 rankings incorporate 13.7 million evaluations of more than 125,000 individual leading lawyers from more than 23,000 firms.

Rankings by Tiers

The quantitative and qualitative data collected is combined into an overall Best Law Firms score for each firm. This data is then compared to other firms within the same metropolitan area 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 in each metropolitan area 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 metropolitan awards as well as on the number of offices each firm has and on the level of legal activity in each jurisdiction. The number of tiers included in each practice area or metropolitan area ranking varies, and some specialties may not be ranked in metro areas in which there is not enough data to provide rankings in a particular specialty.
For the 2024 edition ranking process, 16,324 firms received metropolitan rankings and 2,202 firms received national rankings.

"Law Firm of the Year"

A singular "Law Firm of the Year" recognition was awarded in the 127 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 given practice. Additionally, a firm can only win in two practice areas in a particular edition.

Award Announcement

Law firms are confidentially notified in late July 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

The 2025 edition of Best Law Firms was released on November 2, 2024. For additional information or assistance, please contact us at bestlawfirms@bestlawyers.com.
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