The Lawdragon Process

How we select our Leading Lawyer guides.

The Lawdragon Leading Lawyer Guides

Background & Mission

Lawdragon is among the most respected legal media companies in the world. Founded in 2005 by veteran legal journalists, we have created award-winning journalism covering global justice, marriage equality and the 9/11 proceedings at Guantanamo Bay.  We are passionate about covering important issues related to the law far beyond the billable hour.  We are passionate, as well, about providing a more accurate mirror of the evolving face of the legal profession, reflecting enhanced gender and inclusion representation.

The Lawdragon 500 Annual Lawyers of the Year Editorial Feature

Among our signature achievements is the creation of our lawyers of the year guide, the Lawdragon 500 Leading Lawyers in America. This annual editorial look at 500 lawyers whose cases, deals and other accomplishments told us something about the state of the law that year has been our hallmark since 2005. We annually invite lawyers and firms to share with us news and nominations for lawyers who have made a significant impact in the profession the prior year. The core selection method for this editorial feature is a year-long, journalism-driven investigation into the legal developments that mattered most and the lawyers and judges behind those achievements.

The Lawdragon Practice Guides

Since 2006 we have published practice guides of leading lawyers and legal professionals, including Dealmakers; Litigators; Employment. Lawyers; Legal Consultants; and. Plaintiff Lawyers. In 2019, we renewed our emphasis on the contribution Lawdragon can make – consistent with our mission – to contribute to greater awareness of a range of excellent lawyers  in individual practice areas who are not necessarily noted in existing recognition or ranking guides. Our philosophy in creating our practice guides is different and our process is one that is fresh and inclusive.

Our process for identifying firms and lawyers to recognize in our practice guides is inspired by our journalistic roots. We research the firms and lawyers who have achieved the highest level of recent success in their field of expertise, based on publicly reported matters, databases and firm reports. We track the firm and individuals’ contributions to those successes, and discuss with our vast network of sources the role and quality of the work achieved. While we do accept submissions from firms and ‘peers’, we have consciously created a recognition process that is not reliant on these infrastructures as they can torque accurate reports because of firm politics and can prolong old boys’ networks that often exclude diverse talent.

Depending on the nature of the practice focus, the guides can be quite firm-driven (as in Plaintiff Financial, which requires sophisticated armies of lawyers to take on complicated financial litigation) or more individual-driven (as in Plaintiff Consumer, in which smaller firms often band together to find justice for individuals harmed by pharmaceuticals, toxics or the like). For those firm-driven practices, we heavily vet the firm and its members, looking at the impact the firm has had on its practice area, in addition to the capabilities and contributions of its members. For more individual-driven practices, the same curation process and vetting is conducted but moreso on the individual with the team often as a secondary focus.

We will be expanding the number of practice guides published annually in 2020, in recognition of our 15th year as a new type of legal publisher. We will post our editorial calendar of upcoming guides shortly and encourage those interested to subscribe to our newsletter to stay up to date on upcoming guides.

Finally, we are not a machine. We are individuals who are accountable and responsible for our reporting. We invite anyone to contact Lawdragon Editor John Ryan at for more information. We believe you cannot patent judgment, and that knowledge and achievement are to be commended rather than given out as a trophy at a chicken banquet and put on a shelf.

We seek to enhance equality in the law, and knowledge about it.

What we do

Lawdragon Limelights

Our popular discussion series features a varied mix of lawyers from around the nation, touching on recent achievements, career highlights, trends, tips and personal interests outside the practice.

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Lawdragon Press

From Q&As to lengthy feature pieces and “Roundtable” dialogues, Lawdragon Press works with your firm to create the content you need to strengthen your online brand and promotional efforts in print.

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Our Guides

The Lawdragon 500 Leading Lawyers is the most elite distinction in the profession covering all practices, while our employment lawyer guides and new “Insights” series highlight attorneys in specialty areas.

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The Magazine

Lawdragon’s acclaimed print publications combine original reporting with the best photojournalism in the legal industry, presenting the “who’s who” of the law in each region as never captured before.

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Enterprise Reporting

For 10 years, Lawdragon’s award-winning reporters have provided in-depth coverage historic trials, record-setting deals, complex practice trends, human rights initiatives, international justice and much more.

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Lawdragon Campus

Our site devoted to legal education let’s prospective students build their own “law school ranking” with the metrics that matter to them, while providing original articles on deans, students and alums.

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