Best Lawyers is the oldest and most respected peer review publication in the legal profession. Recognition 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.


Gregory White Smith and Steven Naifeh found Best Lawyers.

First Publication

The First Edition of The Best Lawyers in America is published.

International Growth

The first publications outside the U.S. are released in Canada and the United Kingdom.

International Expansion

Best Lawyers publications and coverage continue to grow globally.

Partnership with US News & World Report

Best Lawyers partners with U.S. News & World Report to include Law Firm rankings within the company scope.

Best Lawyers publishes in 75 countries around the world

Learn more by exploring individual country timelines.

Partnership with LLCP

Best Lawyers partners with Levine Leichtman Capital Partners ("LLCP").

Best Lawyers: Ones to Watch Released

The First Edition of Best Lawyers: Ones to Watch is published, recognizing associates and other lawyers who have been in private practice for less than 10 years in the United States.

Best Lawyers History

For four decades, Best Lawyers publications have earned the respect of the profession, the media, and the public, as the most reliable, unbiased source of legal referrals anywhere.

Our lists of outstanding lawyers are compiled by conducting exhaustive peer review surveys in which tens of thousands of leading lawyers confidentially evaluate their professional peers. If the votes for a lawyer are positive enough for recognition in Best Lawyers, that lawyer must maintain those votes in subsequent polls to remain in each edition. Lawyers are not permitted to pay any fee to participate in or be recognized by Best Lawyers.

Best Lawyers peer-reviewed listings are now published in almost 75 countries around the world, and our presence has grown substantially in the international legal community. The 28th edition of The Best Lawyers in America® (2022) includes more than 66,000 lawyers in 147 practice areas, covering all 50 states and the District of Columbia, and inclusion in this year’s publication is based on 10.8 million detailed evaluations of lawyers by other lawyers.

Because of Best Lawyers' known credibility, our lists reach a broader and more important audience than any other legal guide, boasting more than 17 million readers in city, regional, and national publications across the globe. In addition to The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post, and The Chicago Tribune, Best Lawyers partners with major business and general publications around the world, from Les Echos in France, to the Australian Financial Review, Business Day in South Africa and Handelsblatt in Germany.

In 2009, Best Lawyers partnered with U.S. News & World Report, a leading rankings publication, to produce the first annual "Best Law Firms." Now in its 11th edition (2021), "Best Law Firms" uses quantitative data and client surveys to rank 14,643 law firms, resulting in the most comprehensive guide to legal representation in the United States. Best Lawyers and "Best Law Firms" endure as definitive resources for top legal talent, building on our transparent, peer review methodology founded four decades ago.

In May 2018, Best Lawyers' co-founder Steven Naifeh retired from the organization and Best Lawyers partnered with Levine Leichtman Capital Partners. Later that month, Best Lawyers and U.S. News additionally launched an all-new legal industry platform: U.S. News Lawyer Directory — powered by Best Lawyers®. To learn more about this new exciting initiative, visit: lawyers.usnews.com.

In August 2020, Best Lawyers released the inaugural Best Lawyers: Ones to Watch awards. Using the same peer review methodology that Best Lawyers has utilized for four decades, Best Lawyers: Ones to Watch recognizes associates who have been in private practice for less than 10 years in the United States.

Best Lawyers is an excellent guide and an important credential for high-caliber attorneys.
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John Ryan

General Counsel