In discussions with corporate counsel, Who’s Who Legal researchers ask: what criteria do you look for when instructing external lawyers?

While responses vary as to which qualities are emphasised, the core requirements remain the same: relevant experience and understanding; value; responsiveness; working style and relationship; and cost. Not to mention, commerciality: counsel need someone who truly partners with their business.

So how does one go about finding a practitioner who meets these criteria in today’s crowded marketplace? Well, they might find themselves with a copy of Who’s Who Legal in their hands.

Since inception our service has been designed to reduce the short-term costs incurred in finding a lawyer and, more significantly, to minimise the transactional expense and risk of receiving poor counsel. Many of you reading this will have endured negative experiences such as untimely responses and international offices not talking to each other and communicating effectively, to say nothing of the quality and consistency of advice.

It is our aim to act as a reference source for those looking to corroborate the reputations of expert lawyers recommended by another party – be they a company or a private practitioner looking to refer work.

The WWL 100, our definitive guide to the world’s leading law firms, illustrates the top law firms across all our practice areas combined with an in-depth ranking order based on the recommendations of their leading lawyers from peers and corporate counsel.

In today’s economy, and under increasingly tightened spending budgets, corporate counsel are becoming smarter consumers of legal services; they know what they are looking for and the price they expect to pay. To stand out, law firms need to distinguish themselves by the depth of experience and value they can bring to a matter.

As such, law firms have been challenged to do more with less. From launching low-cost legal centres to support the business, to implementing document review processes and online legal services, how law firms respond to market developments and reinvent themselves for the future will be key to how they are viewed by those retaining them, and subsequently their positioning in future editions of this guide.

In the following pages, we single out the elite law firms in the global market: those firms whose lawyers receive the highest number of recommendations across all business areas of law covered by our research.

We also delve deeper into specific areas of practice to name the leading firms in asset recovery, business crime defence and investigations; construction and real estate; competition; corporate; dispute resolution; employment; benefits and immigration; energy and natural resources; finance; IP; tax; and TMT. 

In addition to this we name the leading consulting firms in our research, those who are considered the best in the business according to the lawyers who have retained them.

We round off this year’s edition with the Who’s Who Legal 2015 Pro Bono Survey results, including a list of the leading law firms worldwide. We also feature an exclusive interview with our Pro Bono Firm of the Year Morrison & Foerster, highlighting their achievements and recent activities.

This publication would be impossible to put together without the time and effort of hundreds of thousands of lawyers and experts worldwide who participate in in-depth market interviews with our researchers throughout the year. We take this opportunity to thank you for your continued support of our publication.


April French

Editor, Who’s Who Legal

April 2016

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87 Lancaster Road, London
W11 1QQ, UK