Earlier this week, Law360 Pulse released its inaugural Law360 Leaderboard law firm ranking. This completes a trifecta of new surveys developed by Law360 over the past year. The most recent survey highlights what the editors have defined as “well-rounded firms.” The new metric purports to identify firms that excel across a broad range of criteria such as culture, reputation, and business practice.

The Leaderboard combines the scores from the previously released rankings for Social Impact and Prestige. The new score is based on the Practice Footprint law firms have made in the litigation and transactional spaces over a three-year period. Law360 leverage data from Lexis Nexis sister companies Intelligize and Lex Machina. Intelligize data was used to define the size of completed public M&A and registered offering deals. Lex Machina data provided the metrics for Federal litigation cases across 10 case-types.


Kerry G. Benn, Director of Series, Surveys and Data Law360 Pulse, Editor of the survey describes the survey as offering a “brand-new, fully rounded picture of what makes a successful law firm.” The release materials indicate that “With this Leaderboard, Law360 Pulse is looking beyond just financials to take a holistic view of law firms, assessing them across a broad range of categories to highlight what they’re doing well and how they could improve. It represents a totally new way to visualize what makes a strong, successful law firm, and showcases the strengths and weaknesses of a particular firm for those looking to hire outside counsel or seek employment.”

The Top Ten Leaderboard Firms:

  1. Covington
  2. Morgan Lewis
  3. Cooley
  4. Sidley Austin
  5. Arnold & Porter
  6. O’Melveny
  7. WilmerHale
  8. Orrick
  9. Morrison & Foerster
  10. Hogan Lovells

The Leaderboard Score suffers from the same data problem I highlighted in my post about the Prestige survey. Almost ¼ of the ranked firms are missing the data for the “Social Impact” score. Since “Social Impact” is 1/3 of the score, the final Leaderboard Ranking is questionable. By this survey’s definition a law firm that specializes and excels in a single practice area can never make the Leaderboard, the Littler firm comes to mind as an example. Must a firm do both deals and litigation to be “well rounded?” Will the market “buy” that definition? The Editor indicates that they will continue to evolve the survey in response to reader feedback.