Leading Lawyers Network
THE SELECTION PROCESS
The list of Leading Lawyers and the LeadingLawyers.com website are very different from other attorney search sites or lawyer directories. A LAWYER CAN NOT BUY THEIR WAY ONTO THE LIST OF LEADING LAWYERS. The list of Leading Lawyers is the result of contact with thousands of lawyers in a given state. We ask them which of their peers they believe comprise the top lawyers in their state. Only those lawyers who are most often recommended qualify as Leading Lawyers. We limit this total to less than five percent of all lawyers licensed to practice law in a given state. The lawyers profiled on this site have all been selected by their peers as being among the top lawyers in the nation and have paid a fee to be profiled
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 Publishing Company 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 strength 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 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 one 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 (in Illinois this is the Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission) 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 Network Advisory Board. The Advisory Board is comprised of those Leading Lawyers who received the highest number of votes for their area(s) of law and/or their region of the state. 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. Once approval is received from the Advisory Board, these pre-selectees become Leading Lawyers.
Annual surveys are sent each year 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 due to the Advisory Board raising an issue or a new ethical issue which came to light.
We take the quality of the list and the integrity of our research process very serious. We believe the comprehensiveness, geographic diversity, the 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.