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In the last year, plaintiffs lawyers helped their clients win billions of dollars in awards—in fact, the 100 largest verdicts of 2013 yielded more than $10 billion in recoveries. That sum is likely to be equaled or surpassed in 2014. The ripple effects of these wins reach beyond dollars, with plaintiffs’ efforts helping in many cases to reshape public policies or reform corporate behavior.

Recognizing the impact of this work, The National Law Journal and Law.com this year teamed to select law firms that are doing the most creative and substantial work on the plaintiffs side.

The result is our inaugural list of America’s Elite Trial Lawyers. The 50 firms named here pulled in big victories in complex cases that have a wide impact on the law and legal business.

To create our list, we vetted more than 100 firms, poring over nominations and reporting on performance. We recognized the work of the firms as a whole, understanding that successful trial work is usually the result of a team effort. We also strived to capture a wide variety of practices and business models—from Wall Street securities specialists to firms that focus on high-impact personal injury cases.

Read the methodology for our report.

In this special report, you’ll find insights on why we selected the firms that we did. In November, we’ll gather in Las Vegas for a special dinner and conference honoring the firms and focusing on the current state of the plaintiffs bar.