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.

To qualify for inclusion, firms had to have scored at least one significant plaintiffs win between Jan. 1, 2013, and June 30, 2014, and possess an impressive track record of wins within the past three to five years. A “significant win” meant prevailing in a bench or jury trial or in a major settlement where the stakes were high—for example, a substantial amount of money was at stake or the outcome could have affected litigation strategy or results in similar cases nationally. Also, firms had to devote at least 50 percent of their litigation resources to plaintiffs work and derive half or more of their revenue from plaintiffs-side activities. Firms with higher percentages of plaintiffs-side work were considered.