ALM is pleased to announce its 2016 Elite Trial Lawyers report, recognizing law firms that achieved high-dollar recoveries for clients and that did some of the most creative and significant work on the plaintiffs side.

The 2016 Elite Trial Lawyers report includes two components: a list of the 50 firms with the largest total recoveries over a 12-month period, compiled by ALM’s VerdictSearch; and a separate list of 35 firms recognized as finalists in nine categories (listed below) reflecting a range of plaintiffs work. The category winners will be named later this month. And a complete report on the total recovery amounts for the 50 firms will be published in December.

The honorees were selected after thorough research, analysis and nomination vetting by editors and reporters at VerdictSearch, Law.com and The National Law Journal. For the category finalists, we closely reviewed submitted nominations and reported on accuracy and performance. Since teamwork contributes to successful trial work, we recognized the work of firms as a whole.

The top 50 firms’ recoveries totaled $11.2 billion. This doesn’t approach the $35 billion in total recoveries on last year’s list.  However, last year’s rankings were skewed by a $23 billion verdict won by a Florida woman in a suit against R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co.

For inclusion on the list, rankings are based on verdicts and settlements submitted to VerdictSearch, with disposition dates between July 1, 2015, and July 1, 2016. Given the complexity of the process, we were not able to consider cases submitted after July 13, 2016.

In addition to ensuring that their cases fell within the required date range, firms on the Top 50 list also had to meet these qualifications:

• Have a total of more than $40 million in awards during this period.

• Have four or more cases totaling more than $15 million in awards during this period.


Here is the ALM selection of 50 firms based on largest 12-month recoveries:

Alexander Law Group, LLP Arnold & Itkin LLP
Bailey & Glasser, LLP Baker & Hostetler LLP
Beasley, Allen, Crow, Methvin, Portis & Miles, P.C. Beckmen Law
Bernadette Panzella, P.C. Block O’Toole & Murphy, LLP
Caldwell Cassady & Curry Crane Flores, LLP
Dorta & Ortega PA Ernest Cannon & Associates
Fish & Richardson Gary A. Dordick, A Law Corporation
Gordon & Doner P.A. Greenberg Traurig
Gruber Hurst Elrod Johansen Hail Shank, LLP Irell & Manella LLP
Jones Day Kirkland & Ellis LLP
Kline & Specter Lanier Law Firm
Law Office of Michael G. O’Neill Law Office of T. John Ward Jr.
Law Offices of Frank L. Branson P.C. Law Offices of James J. McCrorie, P.C.
Morris, Haynes, Hornsby & Wheeles Neblett, Beard & Arsenault
NIRO McANDREWS, LLC Onder, Shelton, O’Leary & Peterson, LLC
Panish Shea & Boyle LLP Parker, Bunt & Ainsworth
Pillsbury Winthrop Powers Law 
PPGMR Law, PLLC Simmons Hanly Conroy
Smith Law Firm, PLLC Sullivan Papain Block McGrath & Cannavo P.C.
Susan M. Karten & Associates, LLP The Alvarez Law Firm
The Buzbee Law Firm The Hall Law Firm
The Law Offices of Fidel Rodriguez Jr. Thomas J. Henry Injury Attorneys
Tom Rhodes Law Firm P.C. Werner Ayers, L.L.P.
Wigington Rumley Dunn & Blair Winston & Strawn LLP
Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice LLC Woods & Aitken LLP

For our recognition of the 35 practice-area finalist firms, reporters and editors at The National Law Journal and law.com vetted nomination submissions for accomplishments from the same time period as the Top 50 recoveries list, across these nine categories:


Class action


Financial institutions

Medical devices


Products liability

Securities litigation

Special litigation

To qualify for inclusion, firms had to have scored at least one significant plaintiffs win during the time period 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. 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.

Honorees will be recognized at a dinner in New York City on Dec. 6. Stay tuned for details and follow-up reports about the Top 50 list and on which finalists are the leading honorees in the nine categories.


Here are the NLJ selections for category finalists:


Arnold & Itkin, Pharmaceuticals

Beasley, Allen, Crow, Methvin, Portis & Miles P.C.—Products liability

Berger & Montague—Special litigation (environmental)

Bernstein Liebhard—Antitrust

Bernstein Litowitz Berger & Grossmann—Financial institutions; securities

Bilzin Sumberg Baena Price & Axelrod LLP—Antitrust

The Buzbee Law Firm—Employment

Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll—Class action; antitrust

Girardi | Keese—Special litigation (environmental)

Gordon & Doner—Products liability

Grant & Eisenhofer—Securities

Greene Broillet & Wheeler—Employment

Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro—Class action

Hilliard Muñoz Gonzales—Products liability

Kanner & Whiteley—Pharmaceuticals

Kasowitz, Benson, Torres & Friedman—Financial institutions

Kline & Specter—Medical devices

Korein Tillery—Financial institutions

Labaton Sucharow—Securities

The Lanier Law Firm—Medical devices

Levin, Fishbein, Sedran & Berman—Antitrust

Levin Papantonio—Special litigation (environmental)

Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein—Class action; employment

McNicholas & McNicholas—Employment

Motley Rice—Medical devices

Podhurst Orseck—Class action

Reid Collins & Tsai—Financial institutions

Robbins Geller Rudman & Dowd—Securities

Robins Kaplan—Antitrust

Robinson Calcagnie—Products liability

Schlichter Bogard & Denton—Employment

Simmons Hanly Conroy—Medical devices

Susman Godfrey—Pharmaceuticals

Terris, Pravlik & Millian—Class action

Tycko & Zavareei—Class action


Editor’s note: The story was updated to reflect the nine categories in which the 35 finalist firms were recognized. An earlier version of the story referred to eight categories.

The editors, in reviewing a strong collection of submissions for Elite Trial Lawyers, will occasionally use their discretion to move a submission from one category to another.