A key day today in the annual U.S legal directories calendar.
Last night was the Chambers USA Awards in New York – see below and click here for winners – while the 2014 edition of the Chambers USA directory is published today.
The new directory content is now online.
Anyone that didn’t attend the awards event can collect a hard copy of Chambers USA from Cipriani at 110 East 42nd Street (between Lexington and Park) on Thursday, May 23 2014 from 8-10 am
Those who have been working on Chambers USA in recent months might have noticed the emergence of a new category called “Recognized Practitioner”.
In Chambers’ words:
A ‘Recognized Practitioner’ handles notable matters and/or has received some recommendation during the course of our research. However, they have not received a sufficiently high level of sustained recommendation to be included in the printed version of the Chambers guide. Instead, the ‘Recognized Practitioner’ category shows that these individuals are on our research radar. ‘Recognized Practitioners’ do not receive independent editorial comment, but they are able to provide a biography for our website.”
In other words, they are lawyers and firms that didn’t quite make it in to the “main list” this time around, but received sufficient market feedback to justify some official recognition.
I’m not clear why Chambers didn’t simply add an extra tier on to the bottom of each list, but I suspect they’re mindful of not over-stratifying and over-complicating the tables, where the definitions between tiers, particularly in the lower reaches, can be pretty marginal anyway.
The structure probably gives them more flexibility with potential new entrants – a sort of “wait and see” holding area – rather than adding new lawyers straight to the main list and then maybe having to consider dropping them the following year (which they’d rather not do).
There’s also the broader issue that the number of lawyers engaging in the Chambers process and seeking to get ranked has grown hugely in the last 10 years.
The bar for entry gets higher every year, so, as well as just expanding the size of the main lists, they’re looking at structural ways to accommodate the increased demand for lawyer listings.
Chambers has always had an internal watch list, it’s just now you get to see some of the lawyers publicly that have moved on to their radar screen, whereas before they were hidden from view.
A number of lawyers I work with have been recognized in this way for the first time this year.
While, ideally, they would like to be in the main list, they’re broadly happy that they’re in the list in some form rather than not in at all.
Directory feedback is cumulative, and presumably, the recognized practitioners stand a better chance the following year of moving into the main list with a baseline of positive market feedback, rather than starting from scratch.
Chambers USA Awards for Excellence 2014 – Team Winners
Bankruptcy: Weil, Gotshal & Manges
Construction: Peckar & Abramson
Corporate/M&A: Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz
Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation: Morgan, Lewis & Bockius
Energy/Projects: Oil & Gas: Vinson & Elkins
Energy/Projects: Power/Renewables: Simpson Thacher & Bartlett
Environment/Climate Change: Hunton & Williams
Finance: Cravath, Swaine & Moore
Healthcare: Manatt Phelps & Phillips
Insurance (Policyholder): Kasowitz, Benson, Torres & Friedman
Insurance (Insurer): Debevoise & Plimpton
International Arbitration: Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer
International Trade: Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom
Investment Funds: Willkie Farr & Gallagher
IP: Sidley Austin
Labor & Employment: Jones Day
Media & Entertainment: Jenner & Block
Product Liability: Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan
Real Estate: Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton
Securities Regulation: Davis Polk & Wardwell
Tax: Debevoise & Plimpton
Picture by Lloyd Pearson – May 2014
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