NEW YORK--(EON: Enhanced Online News)--The legal industry often links an individual's personal brand to their success, making it difficult to pinpoint a universal "it" factor that makes certain lawyers stand out from the rest. But a new report from the global legal industry research firm Acritas reveals four defining attributes that outstanding lawyers possess, regardless of their status within a law firm.
“Star Lawyers find solutions, exercise judgement and are decisive - it is the combination of expertise and commerciality that their clients value most.”
The new Acritas Stars Database and Report are the results of an 18-month long survey of nearly 4,000 general counsel and other senior leaders at legal departments around the world. Participants were asked to name any exemplary outside counsel with whom they had worked, and to describe the particular characteristics that qualified these individuals to be outstanding, or "Star Lawyers."
The following traits were the most frequently cited by in-house counsel as being integral to having a successful partnership with an outside lawyer:
- Expertise: Star Lawyers are clients' go-to advisors on legal matters - their knowledge and quality of work are unparalleled.
- Commercially-minded: Star Lawyers can translate legal advice into practical and pragmatic solutions, they have a complete picture of their client's business and industry and it shows in their approach.
- Speed: Star Lawyers can turn on a dime, respond to requests quickly and deliver on deadlines.
- Integrated: Star Lawyers are approachable, and build strong, long-lasting relationships with their clients on the legal team and in the broader business.
“We set out to develop a composite of the world's outstanding lawyers based on what clients value, and the findings from the inaugural Acritas Star Lawyers survey help us do just that," said Lisa Hart Shepherd, founder and chief executive officer of Acritas Research, Ltd. “Star Lawyers find solutions, exercise judgement and are decisive - it is the combination of expertise and commerciality that their clients value most.”
Other Key Findings
The Acritas Star Lawyers research also revealed:
- Law firm partners are not necessarily the only stars in clients' eyes: 8 percent of Star Lawyers are Associates or Of Counsel at their respective firms.
- 18 percent of Star Lawyers are female, exactly in line with the proportion of law firm lead partners who are female, and women are much more likely to recognize other women as stars. Compared to their male counterparts, women clients place higher value on well-rounded skill sets, rather than just core legal expertise.
- Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz has 14 percent of its partners as Star Lawyers, the highest of the Am Law 1001 firms, which typically have 5 percent of their partners identified as Stars.
- Clients buying technical specialties, such as tax or data protection, place a higher premium on their lawyers having specific expertise.
Stars Receiving the Most Nominations
The majority of the lawyers in the Stars database were named by one individual; however, two nominations are not uncommon. One lawyer received six independent, unprompted nominations, and four received four nominations. These exceptional lawyers are named below.
Unique: Six Nominations
Exceptional: Four Nominations
|H. Rodgin Cohen||Sullivan & Cromwell||US|
|Rob Elvin||Squire Patton Boggs||UK|
|Kees Groffen||De Brauw Blackstone Westbroek||Netherlands|
|Dr. Peter Weyland||Hengeler Mueller||Germany|
“Our congratulations go out to these outstanding lawyers,” said Shepherd. "They realize that though subject matter expertise is critical, their ability to enable clients to operate successfully within their respective industries is paramount."
The Acritas Stars Database currently contains 5,261 different lawyers, and can serve as a guide for those interested in accessing some of the most outstanding lawyers across the world, according to the clients who have used them. It is not intended to be a complete list of all the best lawyers in the world, a census of all law firm clients across the globe would be required to achieve that, but it is a robust resource that fills a void for in-house legal teams. Acritas is continuing to build out the database, adding approximately 50 new lawyers every week.
Law firms and legal departments can access the complete database online at http://www.acritas.com/stars-report for an annual subscription fee. Qualifying general counsel who participate in Acritas’ Sharplegal survey have free access to the database.
The Acritas Stars Database was developed based on nearly 4,000 telephone interviews with legal services buyers across the world. No prompts were given and the reasons for identifying stars were spontaneous and not selected from a pre-coded list. All interviews were conducted by telephone in local languages across 55 countries between June 2015 and December 2016.
All interviewing was undertaken by Acritas in strict accordance with the rules governing best practice in research. As such, no law firm or other third party had any involvement in selecting sample, analyzing or influencing the individual lawyers identified.
Founded in 2002 and headquartered in London, Acritas Research, Ltd., is raising the bar in research of management issues facing law firms and other legal services providers. Using a scientific, data-driven approach, Acritas helps firms address marketing and branding challenges, and provides business intelligence to the global legal marketplace. Its flagship annual Sharplegal survey queries more than 2,000 legal industry decision-makers globally on how legal services are bought and sold. For more information, please visit www.acritas.com or follow us on Twitter at @acritas.
1 The American Lawyer, April 2016