I'm glad to see they're "tiering" the rankings but, if clients behave at all like law school applicants, there is real cause for concern here. I'm not in a law firm, nor do I know all of the steps that are involved in selecting counsel, but you could imagine scenarios in which companies could bid down Tier 2, 3, 4+ law firms based in no small part on their ranking. On the supply side, there might also be pressure for firms to take ONLY T20 or T10 students if US News measures that (% of associates from T10, T20, T50, T100). I don't know all of the metrics involved but I suspect that will be one of them.
Every Fortune 100 Company Returned Its Survey in US News Effort to Rank Law FirmsPosted Jun 25, 2010 8:10 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss
U.S. News & World Report is reporting 100 percent participation from the Fortune 100 in the magazine’s effort to rank best law firms.
The response rate was high—but not quite as high—among the Fortune 1000; 587 of the top 1,000 companies returned their surveys, according to the U.S. News blog Morse Code. They are among 9,514 clients who returned surveys asking them to rate law firms in areas such as expertise, cost-effectiveness and responsiveness.
The magazine, in a joint project with Best Lawyers, is ranking best law firms and best law firms to work for. The results will be released on the U.S. News website in mid-September and in the October issue of the magazine.
Because firms were often separated by small differences, they will be grouped by tiers rather than ranked sequentially, according to a press release.
The survey was also sent to lawyers, including every lawyer listed in Best Lawyers; law firm marketing and recruiting officers; law firms without recruiting and marketing officer contacts; and associates and summer associates.
“Client and lawyer surveys collected mostly reputational data,” according to the press release. “Using a scale of 1 (weakest) to 5 (strongest), clients voted on expertise, responsiveness, understanding of a business and its needs, cost-effectiveness, civility, and whether they would refer another client to a firm. Lawyers voted on expertise, responsiveness, integrity, cost-effectiveness, and whether they would refer a matter to a firm and whether they consider a firm a worthy competitor.”