This list is excerpted from the 2008 edition of The Best Lawyers inAmerica®, the preeminent referral guide to the legal profession inthe United States. Published for a quarter of a century, Best Lawyerslists attorneys in 78 specialties, representing all 50 states and theDistrict of Columbia, who have been chosen through an exhaustivesurvey in which thousands of the nation’s top lawyers confidentiallyevaluate their professional peers. The 2008 edition of Best Lawyers,which was published in November 2007, is based on more than2 million evaluations of lawyers by other lawyers.
The method used to compile Best Lawyers remains unchangedsince the first edition was compiled 25 years ago. Lawyers are chosenfor inclusion based solely on a vote of their peers. Listings cannot bebought, and no purchase is required to be included. In this regard,Best Lawyers remains the gold standard of reliability and integrity inlawyer ratings.
The nomination pool for the 2008 edition consisted of all lawyerswhose names appeared in the previous edition of Best Lawyers,lawyers who were nominated since the previous survey, and newnominees solicited from listed attorneys. In general, lawyers wereasked to vote only on nominees in their own specialty in their ownjurisdiction. Lawyers in closely related specialties were asked to voteacross specialties, as were lawyers in smaller jurisdictions. Wherespecialties are national or international in nature, lawyers were askedto vote nationally as well as locally. Voting lawyers were also given anopportunity to offer more detailed comments on nominees. Eachyear, half of the voting pool receives fax or email ballots; the otherhalf is polled by phone.
Voting lawyers were provided this general guideline for determiningif a nominee should be listed among “the best”: “If you hada close friend or relative who needed a real estate lawyer (for example),and you could not handle the case yourself, to whom would yourefer them?” All votes and comments were solicited with a guaranteeof confidentiality — a critical factor in the viability and validity of BestLawyers surveys. To ensure the rigor of the selection process, lawyerswere urged to use only their highest standards when voting, and toevaluate each nominee based only on his or her individual merits.The additional comments were used to make more accurate comparisonsbetween voting patterns and weight votes accordingly.Best Lawyers uses various methodological tools to identify andcorrect for anomalies in both the nomination and voting process.
Ultimately, of course, a lawyer’s inclusion is based on thesubjective judgments of his or her fellow attorneys. While it is truethat the lists may at times disproportionately reward visibility orpopularity, the breadth of the survey, the candor of the respondents,and the sophistication of the polling methodology largely correct forany biases.
For all these reasons, Best Lawyers lists continue to represent themost reliable, accurate and useful guide to the legal profession inthe United States.
Best Lawyers lists are available at www.bestlawyers.com. “BestLawyers,” and “The Best Lawyers in America” are registered trademarks of Woodward/White, Inc.