Our goal at Texas Lawyer and our parent company, ALM, is to serve the entire legal community. As part of that, we’re adding new wrinkles to our annual Professional Excellence Awards to make sure we get a chance to highlight the great work and achievements across the full breadth of the Texas Lawyer legal community.

The changes will create level playing fields among litigation groups vying for awards and more opportunities for lawyers from midsize and small firms to be recognized.

ALM will produce a national awards event in which big firms—those with 200 or more lawyers anywhere in the country—will compete against their peers for litigation departments of the year honors. Details about those awards will be announced soon.

At the local level, Texas Lawyer will recognize litigation teams from midsize and small firms, and lawyers from any-sized firm will be considered for Attorney of the Year, On the Rise and Lifetime Achievement.

Listed below are the Professional Excellence contests held for Texas Lawyer. The winners will be recognized in the magazine, online and at an event in the fall.

Litigation Teams of the Year (Midsize: Texas-based firms with 50 to 199 lawyers), for these categories: General, IP, Energy and Appellate.

Litigation Teams of the Year (Small: Texas-based firms with 1 to 49 lawyers), for these categories: General, IP, Energy and Appellate.

CLICK HERE to download instructions for Litigation Team of the Year Midsize and Small Firms.

The following categories for Texas Lawyer Professional Excellence awards are open to lawyers from all sizes of firms and organizations:

Attorney of the Year: This award goes to the lawyer who in 2017 had the biggest impact on the law or the Texas legal community or did the most to advance the cause of justice. (To be sure, some of this work may have originated before 2017 and/or extended into 2018.) If you think someone deserves this recognition, please send an email essay, with the subject line “Texas Lawyer Attorney of the Year,” of up to 1,000 words to EditorialAwards@alm.com by May 1, 2018.

Lifetime Achievement Awards: Please tell us in up to 1,000 words about anyone living who has left a lasting imprint on the Texas legal community. Nominations should be sent to EditorialAwards@alm.com, with the subject line “Texas Lawyer Lifetime Achievement Awards,” by May 1, 2018. Please include a high-resolution color photo of the nominee, at least 200 dpi.

On the Rise: Please tell us, in up to 1,000 words, about lawyers under the age of 40 who have wielded influence in their practice areas in Texas and beyond. They should be innovators, developing unique practice niches, amassing robust books of business, demonstrating strong leadership qualities, showing expertise in litigation, in-house or transactional work and committing themselves to pro bono, charitable and professional volunteer work. Nominees must have been born after June 1, 1978, to be eligible. Nominations should be sent to EditorialAwards@alm.com, with the subject line “Texas Lawyer On the Rise,” by May 1, 2018. Please include a high-resolution color photo of the nominee, at least 200 dpi.

The following categories for Texas Lawyer Professional Excellence awards are open to lawyers only from midsize and small firms and organizations (199 lawyers and under):

Best Mentors: This is a new category, designed to recognize lawyers who have helped less-experienced colleagues become better lawyers. The relationship between mentors and mentees need not be formal. Please tell us in up to 500 words about anyone who meets this (deliberately vague) criterion. Nominations should be sent to EditorialAwards@alm.com, with the subject line “Texas Lawyer Best Mentors,” by May 1, 2018. Please include a high-resolution color photo of the nominee, at least 200 dpi.

Top Women in IP (Ginger Rogers Award): This award goes to one woman who exemplifies doing “everything her male counterparts do but backwards and in heels.” Please tell us in up to 1,000 words about anyone who fits this description—making sure to include a link to the nominee’s social media address. Nominations should be sent to EditorialAwards@alm.com, with the subject line “Texas Lawyer Top Women in IP,” by May 1, 2018. Please include a high-resolution color photo of the nominee, at least 200 dpi.

Most-Effective Deal-makers: Again, quantity or dollar volume are not the only criteria. These deal-makers get repeat business for how they achieve their clients’ goals so that both sides sign on the dotted lines. Please tell us in up to 1,000 words about anyone who fits this description, using examples from 2017.  Nominations should be sent to EditorialAwards@alm.com, with the subject line “Texas Lawyer Most-Effective Deal-makers,” by May 1, 2018. Please include a high-resolution color photo of the nominee, at least 200 dpi.

Unsung heroes: They weren’t the lead lawyers on the matter, but you could not have won the case, done the deal or finished the project without them. Please tell us in up to 500 words about anyone who fits this description, using examples of what they did during 2017.  Nominations should be sent to EditorialAwards@alm.com, with the subject line “Texas Lawyer Unsung Heroes,” by May 1, 2018. Please include a high-resolution color photo of the nominee, at least 200 dpi.