Our Tips on Top Lawyer Lists

What are legal rankings, and how can you get your name in the top spot?

A Guide to Lawyer Rankings

Pat Rafferty

July 19, 2018 12:32 PM

Ubiquitous is the only word to describe the various “top lawyer” and law firm listings these days. What was once an occasional ranking has become a year-round onslaught of surveys and nomination opportunities. Can anyone blame attorneys and law firm marketing directors who say they are overwhelmed by all these lawyer and law firm recognitions?

It might be tempting to simply boycott the whole system, but that’s not advisable because many potential clients put some stock in “best” lists. A lawyer’s or a law firm’s presence on such a list can help validate a referral and provide confirmation that the lawyer or law firm is highly regarded in the legal community.

Lists have become part of the legal landscape and are used as a point of differentiation. Whether the clients you seek are the general counsel of a major company or an individual seeking a divorce lawyer, having a “best lawyer” stamp can help legal consumers narrow the list of potential contenders or validate a selection they already have made.

Don’t waste time seeking out a spot on every list. It’s essential to prioritize and pursue only those opportunities that make sense for your firm and its clientele.

Consider these tips to help improve your chance at being selected to credible “top lawyer” lists and rankings:

Identify Lists with a True Methodology for Selection

There are many factors involved:

  • Nominations
  • Participation and voting
  • Submission of information
  • Feedback from peers
  • Client reviews
  • Verdict amounts
  • Independent research
  • Vetting by a panel of experts

Avoid lists that charge a fee to be included. If you can pay to be on it, it’s not credible and not worth your time and effort.

Understand the Criteria for Consideration

Learn what it takes to earn selection:

  • Is it based on number of votes?
  • Is it based solely on peer review?
  • Is client feedback important?
  • Do you need a specific verdict amount?
  • Is there a submission form or template?
  • Are there certain benchmarks required?
  • What are the deadlines?

Identifying the criteria will enable you to better meet the requirements.

Get to Know the Researchers and Editors

Reputable lawyer lists will be compiled by a team of researchers and editors. Make sure you’re aware of:

  • Their deadlines
  • Their schedules
  • How they prefer to receive information
  • The required format for submissions

Lawyer and law firm rankings are here to stay. Readers seem to love them, lawyers use them to market their practices, and publications make money from them. Regardless of the frustrations, rankings can make a client feel reassured about their choice of lawyer. Attorneys view the “best of” lists as a point of differentiation, and some firms use honors and recognitions to demonstrate their strengths in key practice areas. The lists might seem overwhelming, but when used judiciously and sought out strategically, they can provide an important boost to a lawyer’s or a firm’s overall marketing efforts.


With 28 years of legal marketing experience, Pat Rafferty assists lawyers and law firms in heightening awareness and building a positive professional image. As the Director of Marketing & Advertising at Androvett, Pat is responsible for planning and implementing targeted marketing strategies for clients through a variety of channels. Pat has been named among the Top 100 Legal Consultants nationally by Lawdragon and is a member of the Advertising Review Committee for the State Bar of Texas, and regularly advises clients on the do’s and don’ts related to solicitation communications. You can contact Pat at

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