Let’s face it, no person or business gets a thrill out of hiring a law firm. Fortunately, peer-reviewed rankings have simplified the process.
Best Lawyers, which has been tracking trends and innovations in the legal industry for more than four decades, serves as a trusted resource for identifying what it takes to be a preeminent law firm in the United States. Their recently released 14th annual rankings of Best Law Firms, found at bestlawfirms.com, provides keen insight, not only into the most successful law firms, but also the key factors to keep an eye out for when going through the reliably trying task of retaining counsel.
Here is some of Best Lawyers’ advice
1. Does the firm use the latest technology?
Right now, even the legal profession is abuzz about generative Artificial Intelligence (gen AI) tools. With its ability to parse information more quickly, gen AI offers the immediate potential to automate routine tasks such as research; summarizing long, complex content; and writing first drafts of simple documents such as NDAs. All of which can save both time and money.
And smart firms are closely watching regulations and any risks that this new technology may bring, all while using it for the benefit of the firm and its clients.
2. What do other legal experts think about the way they do business?
There are better options available than just word of mouth when choosing legal representation. After all, hiring a law firm isn’t like choosing which novel to download next. Through Best Lawyers’ research process, a firm’s performance is assessed by its peers, ultimately helping consumers make better-informed decisions.
Why is this important? At its heart, a robust peer-review process asks legal professionals to answer this key question: “If you had a legal issue and could not represent yourself, what firm would you hire?” This peer-review method is critical, and offers a straightforward way to help identify the most trusted firms.
3. Does the law firm embrace diversity?
Today’s leading law firms know that to be successful, the makeup of their staff should represent the communities they serve. Inclusion is a necessary element of well-rounded representation because a team with different backgrounds and experiences will bring diverse points of view to solving clients’ unique and complex challenges.
Fortunately, in recent years there has been an uptick in law firm diversity. In 2023, 21.6% of attorneys were members of traditionally underrepresented ethnic groups, according to an American Lawyer survey. That’s up more than 20% from the same survey just three years prior.
As a consumer, consider asking a law firm about its diversity track record. In fact, the best law firms will not only expect the question but welcome it.