Today, the legal community is increasingly interconnected. A look at the coverage across ALM’s  brands illustrates the ever-increasing ways law firms, legal technology companies and others are crossing paths. To better reflect the evolution of the way legal services are delivered, this year ALM is revamping how it recognizes success in the legal industry.

In 2018, The National Law Journal will continue to celebrate honorees selected for our traditional and ever-competitive special reports—including the Pro Bono Hot List, D.C. Litigation Departments of the Year, Winning Litigators, D.C. Legal Departments of the Year and The Appellate Hot List. (The rules for each NLJ award are posted as “Calls for Nominations” between 2.5 and 3 months ahead of each special report’s magazine run date.) We will also continue to note firms that appear in our rankings like the NLJ 500/Am Law 200.

Additionally, ALM will add new recognition awards—backed by the company’s signature national brands, The American Lawyer, Corporate Counsel, The National Law Journal and Legaltech News—that reflect the evolution in the ways the legal industry achieves success—such as the best law firm-client partnership and the best business team within a law firm.

These company-wide awards are focused at the national level, largely around large law firms and in-house departments. There will be some categories within the national awards for large firms based on their regional expertise. And our regional brands will continue to honor key constituents in their markets, while adding a new element of the mid-market awards, focused on firms outside of the Am Law 200/Global 100.

How will this all work? We will retain our traditional processes for The National Law Journal awards. And to make application seamless for the new ALM-wide set of awards, we have created one form that allows our readers to select the categories for which they’d like to submit. Our National Law Journal awardees will be recognized at a Washington, D.C., event at the end of the year. Additionally, the ALM-wide set of awards,”The American Lawyer Awards,”  will be celebrated at an event in New York City. See below for more details on those submission requirements and stay tuned for more details on both events, which will bring together key players from across the legal industry.

The categories: Below please find the various categories, notes on who may want to enter each category, submission requirements and deadlines. Please feel free to reach out to Pearl Wu at pwu@alm.com with any questions. The fine print: ALM reserves the right to consider and award organizations whether or not they have submitted nominations. We also reserve the right to take notice of external information that would impact the submission. ALM also may choose not to select an awardee in categories where reviewers determine the submissions don’t warrant it. For some awards, an distinguished outside judging panel will be involved in the selection of winners. For all categories, please include the appropriate contact information in case we require more information. Deadlines: Submission deadlines vary. Please be mindful of the submission deadlines. Limits: For the ALM-wide awards, an organization can only submit up to two entries per category. More on the ALM-wide awards follows below. Good luck! 

The American Lawyer Awards Categories

Award: Lifetime Achievement

Who Should Apply: Nominees can come from all corners of the legal profession, whether it be a law firm, in-house legal department, government, public interest, education, alternative legal service providers, etc. They should be nearing the end of their career.

Award Description: The distinguished Lifetime Achievement Award will honor those professionals who have left an indelible mark on the legal profession through their substantive area of work as well as a strong public service component, whether that be through government work, diversity and inclusion efforts or some other form of public service. This is an elite award and the bar is set high. We will honor no more than seven individuals.

Deadline: March 30, 2018

Materials required: No more than one page describing why this individual deserves this highly selective honor. Describe their work and public service and how it has left a mark on the profession. A Word, Google or PDF document is accepted.

Submit via email: EditorialAwards@alm.com with “The American Lawyer Awards Lifetime Achievement” in the subject line

Finalists Announced: N/A

Winners Announced: August 2018


Award: Law Firm Distinguished Leader

Who Should Apply: A current or former law firm managing partner, chair or other firmwide leader nearing the end of their career.

Award Description: This award is given to someone who has transformed their firm and whose leadership will leave its mark well beyond their tenure.

Deadline: March 30, 2018

Materials required: No more than one page describing how the individual has changed and improved their firm in a meaningful way. A Word, Google or PDF document is accepted.

Submit to: EditorialAwards@alm.com with “The American Lawyer Awards Law Firm Distinguished Leader” in the subject line.

Finalists Announced: N/A

Winner Announced: August 2018


Award: Best Law Firm of the Year

Who Should Apply: Any Am Law 200/Global 100 firm

Award Description: This prestigious award goes to a law firm that has had an exceptional year across its service offerings, netting big wins but also showing a commitment to and progress in an area not solely related to their practice, such as pro bono, diversity or innovation in how legal services are delivered.This award covers the time frame from January 2017 through the date of submission.  

Deadline: May 30, 2018

Materials required: A document briefly describing why the firm had such a successful year (no more than 500 words for the essay portion). Also include up to 3-6 examples of client matters (across any practice area) that demonstrate the firm’s prowess in its service offerings and ability to handle its clients’ most serious issues. Explain why the matters were so impactful. Additionally, include evidence of how the firm made strides in an area not related to their practice (see award description above). Any data to support the submission criteria is encouraged. Also please include a contact for firm leadership.  Detailed instructions and submission forms are available for download in the survey.

To go directly to the survey, click on the following hyperlink: 2018 Best Law Firm of the Year

Finalists Announced: TBA by the Fall

Winner Announced: At the event in December 2018


Award: Attorney of the Year

Who Should Apply: Any attorney from any part of the legal industry, whether it be law firm, in-house legal department, public interest, government, education or elsewhere, that has made a profound impact in the profession or community. Tenure in the profession is irrelevant to this award.

Award Description: This award goes beyond success in their practice, but rather honors a lawyer who has perhaps changed an area of law, reshaped their institution or an industry, accomplished something of great public service or otherwise made a lasting impact within the time frame for this award, which is January 2017 through the submission deadline.

Deadline: March 30, 2018

Materials required: Please submit no more than one page describing why this individual is deserving of the esteemed honor, giving detailed explanations of how they had such a significant impact in the last year. A Word, Google or PDF document is acceptable.

Submit to: EditorialAwards@alm.com with “The American Lawyer Awards Attorney of the Year” in the subject line

Finalists Announced: TBA by the Fall

Winner Announced: At the awards dinner in December 2018


Award: Legal Services Innovation Award

Who Should Apply: Any Am Law 200/Global 100 law firm

Award Description: This award is given to a law firm that has made significant strides in the last two years (2016 and 2017) to innovate how it delivers legal services. This could be through an impactful individual program run through a certain practice area or firmwide, to a full revamping of the firm’s processes. This award will honor a law firm that has changed the way it does business to better deliver value to the client.

Deadline: March 30, 2018

Materials required: A brief description (no more than two pages) of how the firm demonstrated true innovation to its legal services delivery model. Supporting documents are allowed. Any data to show the impact of the innovation is encouraged. Client testimonials are also welcome. A Word, Google or PDF document is accepted.

Submit to: EditorialAwards@alm.com with “The American Lawyer Awards Legal Services Innovation” in the subject line

Finalists Announced: TBA by the fall

Winner Announced: At the awards dinner in December 2018


Award: Best Use of Technology

Who Should Apply: Any Am Law 200/Global 100 law firm

Award Description: This award, which is different from our Legal Services Innovation award, is focused on the implementation of technology within a law firm to either improve the delivery of legal services, improve efficiency in internal or client-facing operations, improve work-life balance, etc.

Deadline: March 30, 2018

Materials required: A brief description (no more than two pages) of how technology was implemented in the last two years (since early 2016) to improve life at the firm or for clients, with any data to support the technology’s impact and efficacy. Internal or external testimonials are welcome. Also explain whether this technology was developed internally or externally. Supporting documentation is accepted. A Word, Google or PDF document is accepted.

Submit to: EditorialAwards@alm.com with “The American Lawyer Awards Best Use of Technology” in the subject line

Finalists Announced: TBA by the fall

Winner Announced: At the awards dinner in December 2018


Award: Best Alternative Legal Services Provider

Who Should Apply: Any provider of legal services outside of the traditional law firm model.

Award Description: This award will honor a player in the alternative legal services space that has made a significant impact since Jan. 1, 2017, on how legal services were delivered.

Deadline: March 30, 2018

Materials required: A brief (no more than two pages) description of why your organization has made an impact in the ALSP space, including concrete examples and any data that supports the impact the organization has had. Client testimonials are welcome. A Word, Google or PDF document is accepted. Supporting materials are also accepted.

Submit to: EditorialAwards@alm.com with “The American Lawyer Awards Best Alternative Legal Services Provider” in the subject line.

Finalists Announced: TBA by the Fall

Winner Announced: At the awards dinner in December 2018


Award: Best Client Law-Firm Team

Who Should Apply: Any Am Law 200/Global 100 firm or legal department (likely in conjunction)

Award Description: This award honors a relationship and arrangement between a law firm and client that exemplifies a true partnership that drives value for both sides. Examples may be related to fee arrangements, secondments, training, or the many other ways the pair may have creatively structured their working arrangement.

Deadline: April 30, 2018

Materials required: A brief (no more than two pages) description of why the arrangement is unique and beneficial. Please give details of how long the parties have worked together, on what types of matters and how that relationship is structured. Give examples of the ways the parties work together, how they help one another and why each finds the relationship unique and beneficial.

Submit to: EditorialAwards@alm.com with “The American Lawyer Awards Best Client Law Firm Team” in the subject line.

Finalists Announced: TBA by the Fall

Winner Announced: At the awards dinner in December 2018


Award: Best Business Team

Who Should Apply: Am Law 200/Global 100 Firms Only

Award Description: The role of the business professional within a law firm is growing in number and importance. This award honors those teams that have been allowed to, and have had, an identifiable impact on their organization, from how it is run to the client work they have brought in and anything in between. It covers their work from January 2016 through the present.

Deadline: March 30, 2018

Materials required: A brief description (no more than two pages) of who is part of the business team, how they are empowered to make an impact on their organization and how they have done so. Any data to support their efforts is encouraged. Client testimonials or other supporting documents are also welcome. A Word, Google or PDF document is accepted.

Submit to: EditorialAwards@alm.com with “The American Lawyer Awards Best Business Team” in the subject line.

Finalists Announced: TBA by the fall

Winner Announced: At the awards dinner in December 2018


Award: Best Mentor: Law Firm

Who Should Apply: Any lawyer or staff professional within an Am Law 200/Global 100 firm.

Award Description: This award will honor someone who has dedicated a significant portion of their time and energy to mentoring younger professionals. This could be demonstrated through the lawyer or professional’s deep commitment to an individual or through mentoring a litany of younger professionals over their career.

Deadline: March 30, 2018

Materials required: A brief description (no more than two pages) of how the lawyer has shown his or her dedication to mentoring.This award has no time parameters for when the mentoring was done. Please include specific examples of mentoring and anything that shows its impact. Testimonials from mentees are welcome. A Word, Google or PDF document is accepted.

Submit to: EditorialAwards@alm.com with “The American Lawyer Awards Best Mentor Law Firm” in the subject line.

Finalists Announced: TBA by the fall

Winner Announced: At the awards dinner in December 2018


Award: Best Mentor: In-House Legal Department

Who Should Apply: Any lawyer or staff professional working in an in-house legal department.

Award Description: This award will honor someone who has dedicated a significant portion of their time and energy to mentoring younger professionals. This could be demonstrated through the lawyer or professional’s deep commitment to an individual or through mentoring a litany of younger professionals over their career.

Deadline: March 30, 2018

Materials required: A brief description (no more than two pages) of how the lawyer has shown his or her dedication to mentoring.This award has no time parameters for when the mentoring was done. Please include specific examples of mentoring and anything that shows its impact. Testimonials from mentees are welcome. A Word, Google or PDF document is accepted.

Submit to: EditorialAwards@alm.com with “The American Lawyer Awards Best Mentor In-house” in the subject line.

Finalists Announced: TBA by the fall

Winner Announced: At the awards dinner in December 2018


CORPORATE COUNSEL AWARDS

Award: Best Legal Departments

There is one survey for all 5 subcategories. To go directly to the survey, click on the following hyperlink: Best Legal Departments Survey

Detailed instructions and submission forms are available for download in the survey.

Five Subcategories:

1.U.S. Legal Dept. of the Year (for U.S. companies)

Who Should Apply: Legal department leader/GC, in-house attorney or in-house staff member Award Description: This prestigious award goes to the legal department that surmounted extreme challenges, was innovative in its thinking and achieved measurable successes in 2017.

Deadline: February 26, 2018

Materials required: A brief description (no more than 1,000 words) of your most significant activities in the last year, including litigation achievements (you can include arbitrations and settlements) and any strategies that you put into play to achieve measurable success. Items can include but are not limited to:

  • Describe any unique strategies for multiple litigation matters, such as suits involving the same product.
  • Describe any out-of-the-ordinary nonlitigation matters in the last year, such as working on a major M&A transaction or responding to a government investigation.
  • Describe any unique strategies for routine nonlitigation matters, such as patent applications or employment contracts. 
  • In describing all matters, please provide specific details about what your in-house lawyers did in each case. Please limit yourself to accomplishments that occurred during the past year (though you can describe work done in prior years that contributed to the accomplishment).   The submission forms are available for download in the survey.

Winner Announced: June 1

  1. Compliance Dept. of the Year (in-house compliance departments)

Who Should Apply: Legal department leader/GC, in-house attorney or in-house staff member Award Description: An award recognizing an in-house team that has developed or implemented creative innovative compliance plans to achieve success.

Deadline: February 26, 2018

Materials required: A brief description (no more than 1,000 words) describing:

  • Any innovative compliance programs that your legal department put into place in the last year.
  • How have you creatively communicated compliance information to all employees to ensure that they understand and adhere to company policy?
  • How have you used technology to help manage your compliance program?

Please include any key performance indicators used by their program. The submission forms are available for download in the survey.

Winner Announced: June 1

  1. Startup Solo GC of the Year

Who Should Apply: General counsel of a startup company

Award Description: An award recognizing the challenges a startup GC has and acknowledges the achievement of successfully overcoming those obstacles by innovation and determination.

Deadline: February 26, 2018

Materials required:  A brief description (no more than 1,000 words) of how a startup solo from scratch achieved success by innovation and determination. The submission forms are available for download in the survey.

Winner Announced: June 1

  1. Best Use of Technology

Who Should Apply: General Counsel or in-house counsel teams

Award Description: This award recognizes the legal department that showed innovative uses of technology to solve issues and enhance productivity.

Deadline: February 26, 2018

Materials required: Please submit a short essay (no more than 1,000) describing:

  • Any innovative uses of technology that your legal department put into place in during the last year. We’re specifically interested in how people use technology, and how it’s made work in the department easier and more efficient.
  • A problem you used technology to solve. Give specifics. The submission forms are available for download in the survey.

Winner Announced: June 1

  1. General Counsel of the Year

Who Should Apply: General Counsel

Award Description: This award is focused on the significant positive impact a GC has had on their business and broader industry.

Deadline: February 26, 2018

Materials required:  A brief description (no more than 1,000) of what significant positive impact the GC has had on their business and/or industry. Please give specific examples. The submission forms are available for download in the survey.

Finalists Announced: TBA by the fall

Winner Announced: At the awards dinner in December 2018


GLOBAL LEGAL AWARDS

The global legal awards will cover four broad categories that will each have finalists and one overall winner: M&A Deal of the Year, Finance Deal of the Year, Dispute Resolution of the Year, Pro Bono Deal/Initiative of the Year. These awards honor the teams of law firms and in-house counsel who work on the matter, often from all sides of the matter.

There is one survey for all 4 categories. To go directly to the survey, click on the following hyperlink: Global Legal Awards Survey

Detailed instructions and submission forms are available for download in the survey.

  1. Global Pro Bono Deal of the Year

Who Should Apply: Law firms or in-house legal departments that shephered a pro bono deal, pro bono financing,pro bono litigation or corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiative that had a clear global/cross-border component from January 2017 through the contest submission period.

Award Description: This award recognizes the legal team that had a major impact for the client or beyond when handling a matter or implementing an initiative pro bono. It could be anything from a pro bono deal to keep an orphanage open in another country to a organization-wide initiative to stem the European refugee crisis, as examples.

Deadline: March 30, 2018

Materials requiredPlease submit a short essay (no more than 750 words) describing which organizations that worked on the matter, what the legal challenges were, what creative ways the team overcame them and the impact the work had for the client or, in the case of a CSR, the broader initiative. Please include names of all firms/entities that played a significant role in the matter. The submission forms are available for download in the survey.

Finalists Announced: TBA by the fall

Winner Announced: At the December 2018 awards dinner.

  1. Global M&A Deal of the Year

Who Should Apply: Law firms or in-house legal departments that completed a notable M&A deal between January 2017 and the contest submission period.

Award Description: This award recognizes the legal team that had a major impact for the client or beyond when handling an M&A deal with a strong global component. The monetary amount of the deal is only one component, with other factors including the complexity of the deal, the regulatory or business issues that needed to be overcome and the impact to the client. (M&A will be defined broadly to encompass any business combination, purchase or disposal. All deals must be global matters.)

Deadline: March 30, 2018

Materials required: Please submit a short essay (no more than 750 words) describing which organizations that worked on the matter, what the legal/regulatory/financial/time constraint challenges were, the creative ways the team overcame them and the impact the work had for the client or industry. Please include names of all firms/entities that played a significant role in the matter. The submission forms are available for download in the survey.

Finalists Announced: TBA by the fall

Winner Announced: At the December 2018 awards dinner.

  1. Global Finance Deal of the Year

Who Should Apply: Law firms or in-house legal departments that completed a notable financing deal between January 2017 and the contest submission period.

Award Description: This award recognizes the legal team that had a major impact for the client or beyond when handling a financing deal with a strong global component. The monetary amount of the financing is only one component, with other factors including the complexity of the financing, the regulatory or business issues that needed to be overcome and the impact to the client. A finance deal (including a capital markets deal) will be eligible if it involves significant lawyering under the securities, banking or other relevant laws of more than one nation; or if it is conducted by a law firm with origins in one nation under the securities, banking, or other relevant laws of another nation.

Deadline: March 30, 2018

Materials required: Please submit a short essay (no more than 750 words) describing which organizations that worked on the matter, what the legal/regulatory/financial/time constraint challenges were, the creative ways the team overcame them and the impact the work had for the client or industry. Please include names of all firms/entities that played a significant role in the matter. The submission forms are available for download in the survey.

Finalists Announced: TBA by the fall

Winner Announced: At the December 2018 awards dinner.

  1. Global Litigation/Dispute Resolution of the Year

Who Should Apply: Law firms or in-house legal departments that resolved a notable dispute or litigation between January 2017 and the contest submission period.

Award Description: This award recognizes the legal team that had a major impact for the client or beyond when resolving a piece of litigation or dispute with a strong global component. Deadline: March 30, 2018

Materials required:  Please submit a short essay (no more than 750 words) describing which organizations that worked on the matter, what the legal/regulatory/financial/time constraint challenges were, the creative ways the team overcame them and the impact the work had for the client or industry. Please include names of all firms/entities that played a significant role in the matter. The submission forms are available for download in the survey.

Finalists Announced: TBA by the fall

Winner Announced: At the December 2018 awards dinner.


REGIONAL LITIGATION DEPARTMENTS OF THE YEAR AWARDS

Am Law 200/Global 100 law firms can apply for our regional Litigation Department of the Year Awards for work performed by lawyers in the following jurisdictions: Pennsylvania, New Jersey, California, Texas, Florida, Georgia, Connecticut. These awards recognize the best litigation department in each jurisdiction, but the work can be done outside the jurisdiction as long as lawyers from the jurisdiction were substantially involved. Their roles should be explained in the submission.

There is one survey for all seven regions. To go directly to the survey, click on the following hyperlink: Regional Litigation Departments of the Year Awards Survey

Detailed instructions and submission forms are available for download in the survey.

Submission Deadline: April 15, 2018

Materials Required:

  • Write an essay of no more than 500 words explaining why your firm should be a finalist.
  • Select up to 7 litigation results that demonstrate the excellence of your litigation department in that jurisdiction. Submissions must include one pro bono matter as part of the total 7 matters. Please limit the narrative description of each result to 400 words. Please be clear how this matter was significant to your client. Winning entries will demonstrate not necessarily a high dollar-figure (though they may), but work on high-stakes matters, the setting of important precedent and/or unique/exceptional lawyering.
  • Do not include results achieved by lateral hires when they were working at other firms.
  • These results must have occurred from August 1, 2016, through the contest submission period.
  • Please include full case names and docket numbers for all cases mentioned. Also include opposing counsel as well as the names of the lawyers in your firm who led the matters.
  • Please include 3 new matters to be handled by lawyers in the relevant jurisdiction. They should be matters taken on after Nov. 1, 2017. Just name the client, issue at stake and firm’s expected role.
  • Please name the biggest litigation loss for the group since Aug. 1, 2016.
  • Firm information: please include the size of the firm’s litigation department in the relevant jurisdiction as of March 15, 2017, specifying the number of partners, associates and other counsel. Please include the percentage of your entire firm represented by the litigation department in the relevant jurisdiction. Please include the percentage of overall firm revenue generated by the litigation group in the relevant jurisdiction.
  • Please list two client references and their contact information.

National Boutique/Specialty Litigation Department of the Year

This award is for national boutique/specialty firms focused on litigation, including IP litigation. This award recognizes the best boutique firm litigation department for work handled from Aug. 1, 2016, through the contest submission period of April 15, 2018.

Submission Deadline: April 15, 2018

To go directly to the survey, click on the following hyperlink: National Boutique Specialty Litigation Department of the Year Survey

Detailed instructions and submission forms are available for download in the survey.

Materials Required:

  • Write an essay of no more than 500 words explaining why your firm should be a finalist.
  • Select up to 7 litigation results that demonstrate the excellence of your litigation department. Please limit the narrative description of each result to 400 words. Please be clear how this matter was significant to your client. Winning entries will demonstrate not necessarily a high dollar-figure (though they may), but work on high-stakes matters, the setting of important precedent and/or unique/exceptional lawyering.
  • Do not include results achieved by lateral hires when they were working at other firms.
  • These results must have occurred from August 1, 2016, through the contest submission period.
  • Please include full case names and docket numbers for all cases mentioned. Also include opposing counsel as well as the names of the lawyers in your firm who led the matters.
  • Please include 3 new matters to be handled by your firm. They should be matters taken on after Nov. 1, 2017. Just name the client, issue at stake and firm’s expected role.
  • Please name the biggest litigation loss for the firm since August 1, 2016.
  • Firm information: please include the size of the firm’s litigation department as of March 15, 2017, specifying the number of partners, associates and other counsel. Please include the percentage of your entire firm represented by the litigation department. Please include the percentage of overall firm revenue generated by the litigation group.
  • Please list two client references and their contact information.

Other Awards

A-List, national Litigation Department of the Year, Litigator of the Year, a new Dealmaker of the Year award, Pro Bono and Diversity awards will also be given out based on the detailed surveys and reports on those topics done over the year by The American Lawyer and The National Law Journal. More information on that will be made available shortly.