(Photography Portfolio by Steven Laxton for The American Lawyer)
No group is more keenly aware of its competition than the litigators at the world’s most elite law firms. In court at least, Am Law 200 litigation departments clash one-on-one, or maybe in twos and threes. In this contest, 108 competitors faced off before our judges, including 64 submissions for the top Litigation Department of the Year honor in the general litigation category. After months of intense vetting and interviews, the results are below: A repeat winner, Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, claimed the top prize, and we recognized three practice area winners and 11 finalists whose hard-fought successes stood out over the contest period from August 2013 through July 2015. We also named six individual lawyers as Litigators of the Year, including top individual honoree Philippe Selendy of Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan. Congratulations to all, and sincere thanks to every one of the firms that participated. As always, the competition was fierce.
WINNER: GIBSON, DUNN & CRUTCHER
Aiming high: Gibson Dunn doesn’t just like to win. It likes to win big.
FINALIST: BOIES, SCHILLER & FLEXNER
On the Offense: Boies Schiller took on the big, risky cases—and won them.
FINALIST: KIRKLAND & ELLIS
Decisive Firepower: When clients faced outsized problems, they turned to Kirkland & Ellis.
FINALIST: ORRICK, HERRINGTON & SUTCLIFFE
In the Spotlight: High-intensity headline cases didn’t faze Orrick’s litigators.
FINALIST: PAUL, WEISS, RIFKIND, WHARTON & GARRISON
Tough Negotiators: No Wall Street firm strikes a harder bargain than Paul Weiss.
FINALIST: QUINN EMANUEL URQUHART & SULLIVAN
Bank Examiner: After the global financial crisis, Quinn Emanuel held Wall Street accountable.
Ten firms win Honorable Mention recognition in our 2016 Litigation Department of the Year competition.
LITIGATORS OF THE YEAR
PHILIPPE SELENDY Grand Prize Winner
Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan
Munger, Tolles & Olson
Shearman & Sterling
Boies, Schiller & Flexner
Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr
Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison
WINNER: ORRICK, HERRINGTON & SUTCLIFFE
Rescue Squad: Time after time, Orrick makes its name by saving the day.
Team Players: The secret behind Cooley’s success: No stars, just talent.
FINALIST: FISH & RICHARDSON
Big Fish: Fish & Richardson is omnipresent in the IP world—and it wins.
FINALIST: WILMER CUTLER PICKERING HALE AND DORR
The Navigators: Wilmer is on a long mission to reshape the law. Buckle up.
WHITE-COLLAR / REGULATORY
WINNER: GIBSON, DUNN & CRUTCHER
Best Defense: A deep bench and appellate strength set Gibson Dunn apart.
FINALIST: JONES DAY
Fight Club: Jones Day is ready, willing and able to go toe-to-toe with the feds.
WINNER: COVINGTON & BURLING
A Fresh Approach: Covington succeeds with innovative thinking and tactics.
FINALIST: REED SMITH
Early Intervenors: Jurors never get to see some of Reed Smith’s best work.
FINALIST: SHOOK, HARDY & BACON
Midwestern Might: Size and smarts help give Shook Hardy an edge in huge mass torts.
Celebrity clients and high-profile cases come with the territory for the nation’s top litigation teams.
The 15 firms and six litigators whose images dominate The American Lawyer’s January issue.
THE 2016 LITIGATION POWER RANKINGS
See which firms have fared best over the years.
How we select Litigation Department of the Year winners and finalists.