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The American Lawyer‘s A-List is a new way to measure the success of Am Law 200 law firms. It relies on a formula that has four elements: revenue, pro bono, associate satisfaction, and diversity of the lawyers. We overweighted the revenue and pro bono performance, tallied the scores, and the top 20 firms became our A-List. In more detail, here are the standards we used: � Revenue per lawyer: RPL is both a fair measure of the success of a firm’s practice and an approximation of client quality and satisfaction. Clients with the deepest pockets and hardest problems can retain any firm; their willingness to pay top dollar is a rough measure of what they think a firm is worth. The rankings for the 2003 A-List come from our July and August 2003 issues. � Pro bono: Providing high-quality, free legal services to the poor and to organizations that serve the poor is a bedrock professional value. We ask law firms to report their activities each year, and we rank them by a formula that includes both per capita hours and the number of firm lawyers who performed at least 20 hours of service annually. The Am Law 200 pro bono rankings appear in the September issue. � Associate satisfaction: Training and developing the next generation of lawyers is one of the key missions of any profession. To assess how well firms fulfill that duty, we survey third- and fourth-year (midlevel) associates every June. We score the firms based on the answers from their young lawyers. The associate rankings for the 2003 A-List come from our October 2002 issue. � Diversity: Each fall our sibling publication The National Law Journal conducts a census of law firms to prepare its NLJ 250 list. From that data, another of our publications, The Minority Law Journal, compiles a diversity scorecard, which ranks the firms on percentage of minority lawyers. The rankings we used for The A-List come from the MLJ‘s Summer 2003 issue. In each survey, each firm was ranked, usually one to 200. For The A-List, each of those ranks was assigned a grade. For example, the firm that finished first in revenue per lawyer earned 200 points; the firm that finished last received one point. On the pro bono, associate satisfaction, and diversity surveys, firms that didn’t participate received no points. We then used a weighted formula to compile the A-List rankings. We doubled the scores for both revenue per lawyer and pro bono and added them to the scores from the associate satisfaction and diversity surveys. (Expressed as a formula, it would be: [RPL score x 2] + [PB score x 2] + AS score + D score = total score.) Then we ranked the firms by their total scores. The top 50 became the honored top quarter. The top 20 form The A-List. Our weighting system reflects a value judgment. Of the four measures we use, we think that revenue per lawyer — as a reflection of the health of a firm’s practice and its success at serving clients — and pro bono work are the most important. We think that a firm’s primary duty is to its clients — both its paying and needy ones. Because we had the data, and because it was interesting to see movement among the firms, we also compiled A-Lists for 2001 and 2002. Those lists used the same formula described above. To see complete law firm rankings for each year, please click on the links below. The A-List, 2003 The A-List, 2002 The A-List, 2001

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