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Research Methodology

 

Building on over 20 years of market experience, the WWL research process is conducted using proprietary digital and in-person qualitative techniques, with 5,000 interviews with leading practitioners occurring annually. More than 250,000 third-party recommendations are gathered each year.

Our research process

 

Our findings are based on recommendations and feedback from eminent private practitioners in the sector or industry in question as well as from corporate counsel or other clients who have worked closely with the nominees. We do not request, or accept, written submissions of work highlights as part of our process.

 

Preliminary research process

 

For any new practice area, an extensive pre-research process takes place to identify potential names for inclusion. Firms are generally invited to put forward notable candidates for consideration.

 

For an existing practice area, our research builds upon that conducted in previous years. The names of practitioners who have received recommendations, nominations or other positive feedback in the area in previous years are collated to form a preliminary nomination list. This is supplemented by suggestions of new potential additions made by firms, corporate counsel and through other pre-research conducted by the WWL research team.

 

Main research process

 

The compiled preliminary nomination list is then distributed to all nominated practitioners, requesting their comments via flexible and intuitive online surveys and inviting them to submit the details of client referees to support their inclusion. All feedback received is taken into account when deciding the listings.

 

We subsequently conduct telephone and face-to-face interviews with a selection of nominated practitioners to gain further insight into the market and to collect additional feedback on the preliminary nomination list. At this stage, we also contact all client referees put forward, inviting them to appraise the referring practitioner and any other individuals they wish to provide feedback on.

 

Recommendations for a practitioner within the same firm or Swiss Verein are not considered nor are votes for an individual known by reputation but not first-hand experience.

 

Post-research evaluation and selection process

 

Once this process is complete, all of the feedback, votes and nominations received is tallied and weighted on our database using a proprietary in-house algorithm. Our rigorous evaluation framework ensures accuracy and consistency. The preliminary nomination list is then refined to produce a final list of practitioners who, by general agreement, are considered the pre-eminent names in their field.

Eligibility criteria

 

Criteria for consideration

 

Anyone wishing to be considered in one of our guides should meet the appropriate broad definition below:

 

  • Global practice area guide: You should reasonably be considered an international leader in your field.
  • National guide: You should reasonably be considered a national or regional leader in your field.
  • Future Leaders guide: You should reasonably be considered a future leader in your field. In addition, you must be aged 45 or under on 31 December in the year of the publication (e.g. for WWL: Arbitration - Future Leaders 2021, you must have been born on or after 1 January 1976).
  • Thought Leaders guides and WWL annual awards: Thought Leaders and annual award winners are selected based on existing research. It is not possible to submit directly for consideration or inclusion. You should instead submit for the appropriate global or national guide.

 

Criteria for selection

 

The standard required for inclusion in WWL’s guides is high. Typically fewer than half of those put forward for inclusion are selected in the final list, sometimes this proportion is considerably lower. Individuals must continue to receive strong and regular feedback to maintain their listing and every listed practitioner's listing is reviewed annually as part of the research process.

 

We pride ourselves on our rigorous and independent research process; only those receiving the highest number of recommendations from peers and clients are listed in our publications. We aim to ensure our guides act as useful tools to private practitioners in search of counsel in unfamiliar jurisdictions as well as to clients in search of a lawyer or expert, and in order to achieve this we uphold the highest standards of integrity. We conduct our research afresh each year and through conversations with practitioners worldwide ask whom they have been working with recently that they could recommend from personal experience.

 

Firm listings

 

WWL’s guides do not list law firms or consulting firms, only individual lawyers and experts. The firms whose individuals receive the most nominations in the research are featured in our editorials, but this does not amount to a listing for the firm.

 

WWL Analytics is a new product which, for the first time, provides access to benchmarking indices and rankings relating to firms. For more information, see our explanation of these indices below, or contact us.

How we rank listed practitioners

 

All practitioners are given one of five designations in any guide in which they are listed.


Traditionally, although these designations have been analagous to a tier system in WWL’s guides, we have not named them as such. With the introduction of WWL Analytics, this equation of tiers has become more formalised.

 

DescriptionTier (in WWL Analytics)

 

Global Elite Thought Leader: These practitioners are the best of the best across all of our practice areas according to our research. Only those listed practitioners who obtained the highest number of nominations from peers, corporate counsel and other market sources in their practice area are selected. Entry into our guides, is, of itself, no easy feat, with fewer than half of those nominated obtaining a listing. The bar to be considered a Global Elite Thought Leader is even higher. Typically no more than five per cent of practitioners in any WWL global practice area guide are selected as Global Elite Thought Leaders.


We designate Global Elite Thought Leaders in all of our global practice area guides.

 

Tier 1

 

Thought Leader (certain guides only): Thought Leaders are individuals who have performed especially well in their particular practice area or national research. Although they may not have received quite as many recommendations as Global Elite Thought Leaders, they are nevertheless frequently mentioned in the first breath by respondents to our research as eminent names in their field. Typically around 25-30 per cent of practitioners selected for inclusion in a guide are selected as Thought Leaders.


We designate Thought Leaders in around half of our global practice area guides and a small number of national guides. The full list can be found on our Research Schedule.

 

Tier 2

 

Recommended (practice area guide): Anyone who is included in a WWL guide is recommended by us and can deservedly be considered a leading name in their profession. Fewer than half of those nominated for inclusion in WWL guides are selected for inclusion, with our preliminary nomination list itself only making up a small proportion of all lawyers or experts in any given practice area.

 

Tier 3

 

Recommended (national guide): Anyone who is included in a WWL guide is recommended by us and can deservedly be considered a leading name in their profession. Fewer than half of those nominated for inclusion in WWL guides are selected for inclusion, with our preliminary nomination list itself only making up a small proportion of all lawyers or experts in any given practice area.

 

Tier 4

 

Future Leader (certain guides only): Future Leaders are practitioners who are already doing outstanding work in their practice area or industry, despite their relatively young age, and are likely to be the pre-eminent names of the next generation. They need not be partners, or even counsel - each of our Future Leaders chapters has listings for both partners and non-partners.


The Future Leader designation is limited to practitioners aged 45 and under. Anyone over this age who has inadvertently been selected as a Future Leader should contact us.


We designate Future Leaders in a proportion of our guides, including Arbitration, Competition and Litigation, as well as WWL: Consulting Experts. The full list can be found on our Research Schedule.

 

Tier 5

WWL Analytics indices and firm scores

 

WWL Analytics introduces a number of indices calculated weekly to assess various aspects of firms’ capabilities:

 

  • Geographical Score

    This ranking reflects a firm’s international coverage. Firms that only have WWL listings in one country will not generate a ranking, while those with a truly global presence, including multiple large offices offering clients exceptional international capability, will perform the best.

 

  • Practice Area Score

    This ranking indicates a firm’s breadth of practice area expertise and strength in depth based on the number of WWL listings in each area. Firms that can draw on a deep bench across numerous practice areas will score very highly, while those with a few strong hubs of expertise or several small but adept practice area groups will also perform well.

 

  • Thought Leadership Score

    This ranking does not depend on size of firm but rather the proportion of top-quality (Tier 1 or Tier 2) practitioners it possesses. Smaller firms that feature several world-renowned names among their number will therefore score highly here, while firms that rely on weight of numbers rather than star power will not excel.

 

  • Single Practice Area Score

    This ranking reflects a firm’s performance in the selected practice area, based the number of practitioners listed, their tier performance, thought leadership score and geographical score.

 

  • Single Jurisdiction Score

    This ranking reflects a firm’s performance in the selected jurisdiction, based the number of practitioners listed, their tier performance, thought leadership score and practice area score.

 

  • Overall Score

    The overall ranking takes into account a firm’s practice area, geographical and thought leadership scores while also looking at the number and tier rankings of all of its listed practitioners. The result is a single ranking that reflects how well the firm performs across the entire WWL research.

     

    Firms near the top of this ranking will have significant capability across numerous jurisdictions and practice areas, as well as a sizeable roster of practitioners who perform well in our research.

     

    A firm missing one of these facets (e.g. a firm based in only one jurisdiction or with a narrow practice area focus) can still perform well but are unlikely to occupy the very highest places in the ranking. Its prowess may instead be better reflected in the Single Practice Area or Single Jurisdiction scores for its areas of strength.

Still have questions?

 

You can find additional detailed information on WWL guides and processes on our FAQ page. Alternatively, you can contact us.

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