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Who’re you gonna call? That’s the question we set out to answer in The Recorder‘s first survey of top attorneys in the Bay Area. If you were a client facing a bet-the-company case and money were no object, who would be your dream lawyer? If you were a plaintiff with a strong case, who’s the lawyer that would give you the best shot at the best possible result? If you were a corporate executive facing criminal charges, who would be your best hope for keeping you out of jail? We asked these questions for 10 specialized areas of law: admiralty, bankruptcy, ERISA, environmental, family, immigration, patent litigation, trusts/estates, securities litigation and white-collar defense. We deliberately included several areas of law that don’t usually make headlines, so that we could shine a light on some noteworthy attorneys who practice under the radar. We are fully aware that some readers will disagree with our choices. Let us be clear, we do not present this as a scientific study. Lawyering is not an objectively measurable skill — any time you talk about the best lawyers, there will always be room for debate. To determine who should be recognized, The Recorder‘s editorial staff contacted many dozens of judges, arbitrators, mediators, clients, peers and adversaries, and asked them their opinions. We pressed these sources to speak frankly (and usually confidentially) about lawyers with whom they have had direct professional experience. We asked them: For the case of a lifetime, whom would you hire? Any survey of this kind will have built-in biases, and ours is no different. Because a large number of our sources were judges and mediators, our survey may tend to favor litigators, for example. It’s important to emphasize, though, that the reporting, writing and ultimate decisions on the top attorney picks were made solely by Recorder editorial staff, based exclusively on our own reporting. For admiralty, securities, environmental and ERISA, we divided each practice area into plaintiffs and defense. We divided immigration and trusts/estates into litigation and counseling. We divided white-collar defense into high-profile and behind-the-scenes categories. For bankruptcy, family law and patent litigation, we made no subdivisions and simply picked the top two in each category. Although the reporting was in many cases a team effort, we have affixed the bylines of the reporters and editors who wrote each profile. This special report is a first for The Recorder, so if you have any feedback about it — the format, the practice areas, who else should have been chosen — please e-mail me at [email protected] Throughout the next year we plan to bring you further Top Attorney features for other practice areas. In the meantime, we hope you’ll enjoy this special report and put it on your own top legal reading list. Scott Graham Editor in Chief

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