Litigation looked a little different over the past year and a half, but that didn’t stop the country’s top litigation departments from demonstrating their excellence. In courtrooms and Zoom rooms—and sometimes on behalf of Zoom—these law firms did their best work to deliver results for clients in the most high-stakes, high-profile cases on the docket.

The American Lawyer’s editors and reporters have reviewed hundreds of matters put forth by dozens of firms as part of the 2021 Litigation Departments of the Year contest. The competition was as fierce as ever, even in this most unusual period of time. As clients turned to their outside counsel in search of answers to their most pressing problems, these firms showed up time and time again with novel solutions, preserving civil rights and corporate livelihoods all the same.