A couple people have asked me my thoughts on the “Best Law Firms” Survey by U.S.News and Best Lawyers® which were just published. Normally, I don’t take great stock in rankings and surveys. For the most part, they are vanity propositions designed to sell advertising. Very few hiring decisions are made on rankings and surveys. And, let’s face it, they’re a pain in the ass (my blog, I can say that). That being said, there are times you must play, and times when you can ignore. I play when the external exposure is too great.

  • You don’t want your clients flipping through the inaugural issue of the “Best Law Firms” Survey by U.S.News and Best Lawyers® and not find you there.
  • Chambers USA is too high-profile, and, let’s face it, they do the most legitimate research of the nominated firms and individual attorneys.
  • If your practice/industry have annual lawyer surveys (usually managed through an industry or trade industry publication).
  • If you have a strong local presence, or consumer-based practice within your city, you don’t want to lose out in the annual publication of Best Lawyers or Super Lawyers in your city magazine or newspaper.

When do you not play?

  • When it is 100% vanity.
  • Anything that begins with “Who’s Who.”
  • No local practice, don’t waste the time or money on your local newspaper.
  • We’ll just ignore Martindale’s AV Ratings for now.

When it comes to rankings and surveys, you need to decide what is of benefit to you, your firm and your practices. But, it really shouldn’t become a full-time job. All of this being said, I want to give a special shout-out to the attorneys at my firm, Barger & Wolen LLP. We received a First-Tier ranking in the Inaugural “Best Law Firms” Survey by U.S.News and Best Lawyers® for Insurance Law. Sweeter yet, our main competitors ranked in the second and third tiers. Not that we were checking.