US News: Law Firm Da Vinci Code?

After many months of work, US News has released its America’s Best Law Firms ranking.

A likely starting point is the practice research page. Interestingly, as I clicked on that page this morning, this rotating US News banner ad appeared on the right:


Mentioning Masons is probably not accurate, as I think the firm is based in the UK and referred to in the market as “Pinsents.”

For National Law firms in Corporate Law, there are 27 firms in Tier 1. So it’s good marketing for law firms that had the foresight 100 years ago to choose a name partner with a surname starting with an A, B or C.

For potential clients? The jury is out.

The methodology is actually quite solid, and they do mention the obligatory value mantra. But no way to compare firms on value or cost.

Beyond marketing, these rankings will likely be used as a confirming source rather than a primary one. When you have a lead on a firm, or a need in a specific practice area, a firm’s entry is integrated with the companion Best Lawyers site. As most general counsel will tell you, they usually start with finding the right lawyer for a matter rather than by just throwing a dart at a list of firms.