The lists are prepared by the Best Lawyers' research and development team, who have been complying the list since 1983 when the first edition of The Best Lawyers in America was published. The Board of Advisors to Best Lawyers has 429 members from 378 organizations and includes firm leaders from the world's leading law firms and many of the General Counsel from Fortune 500 and Global 500 companies. The list here is excerpted from the Best Lawyers in America 2017, which includes listings for more than 55,000 lawyers nationwide in 140 specialty areas, in all 50 states and the District of Colombia.
Through the years, Best Lawyers has developed a comprehensive database of attorneys based on the recommendations of their peers. Each year, listed attorneys are asked to vote on the lawyers nominated in their own specialty and metro area. Although anyone can nominate an attorney for inclusion on this prestigious list, only lawyers who have already been selected by their peers the previous year can vote. When necessary, attorneys' names from previous lists are deleted, based on either changes in their personal circumstances or for not receiving enough affirmative votes.
It allows peers to vote for peers in their own city. Lawyers working in the same practice area in Kansas City are likely to be very familiar with each other's work and able to judge the work and character of their peers more fairly and accurately than someone in, for example, St. Louis or Chicago. Because the system is based entirely on local peer-review, it provides the most accurate list of the finest attorneys in the area.
Best Lawyers requests that nominees have been in practice for 10 years or more to place an emphasis on the listed lawyers' reliability and longevity. The company concedes that the lists still may tend to award popularity over experience and sheer ability. Lawyers who give lectures and who writes articles are more likely to come to the attention of their colleagues than those who work outside the public eye. We would add, however, that those who are recognized for their speaking and writing are obviously making a contribution.
Publishing for over 30 years, Best Lawyers is the oldest and most respected peer-review publication in the legal profession. A listing in Best Lawyers is widely regarded by both clients and legal professionals as a significant honor, conferred on a lawyer by his or her peers. For more than there decades, Best Lawyers lists have earned the respect of the profession, the media, and the public, as the most reliable, unbiased source of legal referrals anywhere.