The New York Law Journal is looking to honor the best and brightest among New York’s legal community across several different categories. Those chosen will appear in a New York Law Journal special section and be honored at an event in Manhattan in October.

We want to hear from lawyers, law firms and litigation departments who have influenced their practice areas in New York and beyond. They should be innovators, developing unique practice niches, employing creative uses of technology, amassing robust books of business, showing expertise in litigation or transactional work, contributing to the improvement of their institutions, or committing themselves to pro bono, charitable and professional volunteer work. Law firms of all sizes, including solos, are encouraged to apply.

Note about submissions: No more than three attorneys per category can be nominated from any one firm or organization.  References to “past year” cover the period between Jan. 1, 2017 and April 1, 2018.

THE SUBMISSION DEADLINE IS THURSDAY, April 5, 2018 for most categories. Litigation and In-House Legal Departments of the Year will be due on April 16. 


Rising Stars

This award recognizes the region’s most promising lawyers who are no older than 40 by the submission date. Past honorees are not eligible for an additional award.  Please see additional details about Rising Stars here.

Distinguished Leaders

This award recognizes attorneys in leadership roles who achieved impressive results in the past year. Strong leaders are hard to come by, and we want to highlight lawyers who had great performances while demonstrating clear leadership skills leading to positive outcomes. Please see below for instructions on how to submit a nomination.

Lifetime Achievement

This award honors an attorney’s accomplishments and impact on the legal community and the practice of law over an entire career. Please see below for instructions on how to submit a nomination.

Attorney of the Year

This “MVP” award goes to the lawyer who had the most profound effect on the law or legal community in the past year or did the most to advance the cause of justice. Three finalists will be recognized; the winner will be announced at a recognition event in October. Please see below for instructions on how to submit a nomination.

Process for Judging

All submissions should be in an attached Word or PDF document via email to The subject line should specify the NYLJ, the attorney/firm being nominated and the category. Examples:

  • NYLJ: John Smith-Rising Stars
  • NYLJ: Smith & Smith-litigation department/specialty.

The file name should specify the NYLJ, the attorney/firm being nominated, and the category. Please do not include spaces or special characters in the file name. Example:

  • NYLJSarahSmithRisingStars.doc

An advisory panel of attorneys from across the state will review applications for Rising Stars. A panel of judges will choose attorney of the year finalists and the winner. Other categories will be judged internally.

If you have questions, please contact Pearl Wu, Recognition Desk Manager, at


(Rising Stars, Distinguished Leaders, Attorney of the Year, Lifetime Achievement):

1. Write an essay of no more than 500 words describing why the nominee should be selected. Describe the accomplishments during the last year that qualify the nominee for our list. Lifetime achievement essays can be up to 1,000 words.

2. Send a resume/biography of the nominee, including:

  • Employer
  • Title
  • City/State
  • Birthdate
  • Education
  • Legal work experience (including dates and employer names)
  • Contact Info (Email and Phone)
  • Other relevant information (awards, affiliations, significant publications)

3. Attach a high-resolution color photo of the nominee, at least 200 dpi

4. Include contact information for two references (inside or outside of the firm/organization) for an on-the-record conversation about the nominee’s legal work and accomplishments

The Law Journal also seeks to recognize:

In-House Legal Departments of the Year

This contest recognizes outstanding work performed by general counsel and in-house legal departments over the past year.  Please see separate nomination post for detailed guidelines.

Litigation Department of the Year

This contest has two distinct sections:  the top department in general litigation, and the top specialty practice departments. The competition is open to any law firm with a New York presence; New York lawyers must have had a significant impact on the work being presented, though the work can extend beyond New York. Please see separate nomination post for detailed guidelines.