Best Lawyers:
Ones to Watch

These awards are recognitions given to attorneys who are earlier in their careers for outstanding professional excellence in private practice in the United States. Our "Ones to Watch" recipients typically have been in practice for 5-9 years.

Our methodology for determining these awards remains the same as it did when Best Lawyers was founded almost 40 years ago: peer-review. Lawyers are the best resource to provide feedback on the caliber of work performed by their peers.

Eligibility & Coverage

  • Lawyers who have been in private practice for 5-9 years or are re-entering private practice after extended sabbaticals are welcome to be nominated.
  • Best Lawyers does not currently accept or recognize talent among in-house lawyers.
  • Currently these awards are limited to attorneys practicing in the United States.
  • Awards are based on 77 areas of expertise.
  • View the timeline for these awards.


Recognition by Best Lawyers: Ones to Watch is based entirely on peer review and employs the same methodology that has made Best Lawyers the gold standard for legal rankings worldwide. Read about the Best Lawyers methodology in more detail.

Like our traditional Best Lawyers awards, the first step in our methodological process is for a lawyer to be nominated.

Methodology wheel
  • 1

    Nomination Lawyers can be nominated by anyone but themselves.

  • 2

    Peer Review Lawyers recognized in our traditional The Best Lawyers in America publication were invited to provide feedback on candidates. Additionally, all nominees for "Ones to Watch" were invited to vote for the inaugural edition.

  • 3

    Analysis of Feedback Results are calculated and feedback is reviewed.

  • 4

    Eligibility Check Nominees are confirmed to be in good standing with their local bar associations.

  • 5

    Results Released Firms are informed of results and the list is published.

From "Ones to Watch" to Best Lawyers

Ones to Watch awards are given to attorneys earlier in their legal careers. An awarded lawyer can be recognized for multiple years but cannot indefinitely remain recognized in "Ones to Watch." After a candidate has been in practice for 10+ years, they are eligible to be nominated for our traditional Best Lawyers awards. "Ones to Watch" is not a seed list to Best Lawyers and all hopeful candidates must be nominated and vetted by their peers recognized in Best Lawyers.

Transitioning from Ones to Watch to Best Lawyers


Know someone already worthy of making our list?

Are they licensed to practice in the United States?

Have they been in private practice less than 10 years?

Are they currently taking on clients?

Would you recommend them to a friend or client?

Nominate them now, it’s easy to do!

Ways to Promote


Best Lawyers: Ones to Watch honorees can share this recognition with their friends, colleagues, clients, and professional network. We also provide marketing options to feature your individual and firm awards. These include lawyer and firm profiles that appear in the Best Lawyers search engine and customized logos that can be used in your marketing and client outreach.

If you wish to learn more or if you need assistance promoting your awards, please reach out to and read our publicizing guidelines.

Have more questions?

Access our full Ones to Watch FAQ or email us at