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Who's Who Legal
Who's Who Legal

Frequently Asked Questions

About Who’s Who Legal


What does Who's Who Legal do?


Who’s Who Legal (WWL) is one of the world’s leading directories of legal practitioners and non-lawyer consulting experts.


Our service is designed to reduce the short-term costs incurred in finding a lawyer or expert, but more significantly to minimise the transactional expense and risk of receiving poor counsel. The publications are designed primarily as a reference source for companies seeking to corroborate the reputations of practitioners recommended by another party.


However, because numerous referrals are lateral, we also endeavour to create a referral network between the lawyers listed, for though they will have a thorough knowledge of the ablest practitioners in their own practice area, their familiarity with other fields in interdisciplinary and international transactions may not be as extensive.


What does WWL publish?


WWL researches 35 individual practice area guides covering corporate and commercial law. In total, we list more than 27,000 private practice lawyers and over 2,000 consulting experts from over 160 national jurisdictions. All of our research can be viewed for free via this website.


Following the success of our global practice area guides, WWL also publishes a series of national guides. These go into greater depth in local or regional markets, identifying the leading individuals across a number of practice areas, as well as providing further in-depth editorial analysis of each area and a breakdown of the leading firms overall.


In addition to lawyers, many of our guides also cover consulting experts, including expert witnesses, accountants and legal consultants. We research an annual guide comprising the leading experts across the individual practice area guides.


Who reads these publications?


Our readership is extensive and influential. Copies of our publication are distributed by request and free of charge to counsel and officers at many of the world's leading corporations, as well as to the lawyers listed in the guides. They are also delivered to executive partners at pre-eminent firms and are distributed at leading international business law conferences.


In addition, email briefings tailored to practice area and industry groupings are sent out on a regular basis to subscribers to our mailing list.


If you have someone in mind that you think should receive our publications free of charge, please contact us.


Can I buy hard copies of the publications?


Yes, please visit our shop.

The research process


What is the research process for Who's Who Legal guides?


The WWL research process is 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.


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.


The compiled preliminary nomination list is then distributed to all nominated practitioners, requesting their comments via an online or written survey 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.


Once this process is complete, all of the feedback, votes and nominations received is tallied and weighted on our database using a bespoke algorithm. 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.


The standard required for inclusion in our 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.


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.


Which areas of the law are covered?


WWL publishes global practice area guides in 35 areas, the full list of which can be seen by visiting the Practice Areas page. Additional areas which are considered niche to a particular region or jurisdiction (e.g. Forestry Investment in Brazil) may be included in certain National Guides but are not researched globally.


When is research conducted?


Each of our practice area guides are researched during a dedicated research period each year. National Guides also have their own research period. Our current schedule can be found on the Research Schedule page. Please note that all dates and timings are subject to change.


Do you list law firms or consulting firms?


We 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.


I am not currently listed. How can I be considered for inclusion?


We encourage the proposal of additional names in any of our areas. Individuals may put themselves forward or firm marketing contacts may propose individuals at their firm for potential inclusion on those individuals' behalf.


Please contact us to let us know why you, or individuals at your firm, should be considered for inclusion and in relation to which practice area or national guide chapter. In almost all cases, we ask for corroboration of expertise via the submission of client referees whom we can contact for an appraisal. These should be provided in the format set out in our referee template. Once we have received sufficient feedback to establish credentials as a potential nominee, the practitioner(s) can be added to the preliminary nomination list for further consideration.


What criteria must I meet to be considered?


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 2020, you must have been born on or after 1 January 1975).
  • 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.


I am not a private practice lawyer or expert but I would like to recommend someone. Can I take part in the research process?


We are always interested in people's recommendations or comments. Please contact us by email or telephone to make any suggestions on an anonymous and unattributable basis.


WWL is also conducting research to identify the foremost corporate counsel and in-house teams worldwide. If you would like further details on this, please contact us.


Is it possible to pay for a listing in your guides?


No. We set a high nomination threshold for inclusion in our publications. Only those practitioners who have met our independent research criteria are recommended and listed on this site. Financial considerations play no part in the research process. All listed individuals receive a free, basic listing on our website and in print.


How can I publish a biography on the WWL website or in your print editions?


All those listed in our guides, and only those listed, are invited, under no obligation, to publish a professional biography to enhance their listing and facilitate the task of instructing parties to identify the appropriate lawyer or expert. This process allows us to conduct and disseminate our research at no expense to law firm clients. If you have been selected for inclusion in one of our guides and would like to publish a professional biography, please contact us.


What else do you research?


In addition to our practice area guides and our special reports, we also conduct ad hoc research, including, but not limited to, an annual pro bono survey, as well as research into topical issues such as Brexit.

Rankings and designations


Do you rank listed practitioners?


WWL does not assign listed individuals into bands or tiers. However, all practitioners are given one of four designations in any guide in which they are listed.

  • 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.

  • Thought Leader: 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.

  • Recommended: 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.

  • Future Leader: 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.


How can I become a Thought Leader or Global Elite Thought Leader?


Only those individuals scoring most highly in our research are selected as Thought Leaders or Global Elite Thought Leaders. Anyone wishing to be designated as such will need to receive substantial numbers of recommendations from other market sources in our research. There is therefore no 'secret' or 'quick fix' to gaining these designations.

However, if you do not already do so, we would advise providing us with the details of client referees during our research process using our referee template.


It is not possible to submit directly for inclusion in our Thought Leaders publications.

Market Insight Tool


What is the Market Insight Tool?


WWL's dedicated research team speak to thousands of leading names in the legal sector each year, and receive written feedback from thousands more. The results are collated into more than 50 global practice area and national guides, each focusing on a particular sector, industry or market. However, navigating such a vast amount of information can be a daunting or time-consuming task.


WWL's Market Insight Tool is designed to enable users to quickly find detailed information on the practitioners in a particular legal sector or industry, to allow them to make an informed decision about hiring a firm or individual. A portal into the entirety of WWL's current research, the Market Insight Tool searches through more than 28,000 lawyers and consulting experts across 35 practice areas and more than 160 jurisdictions.


How do I use the Market Insight Tool?


Start by going to the Market Insight Tool search page or clicking the link in the navigation bar at the top of this page.


You should first select the practice area, sector or category you are interested in from the dropdown page. You can then, if you choose, select a geographic region and/or country. Clicking search will show you the appropriate results.


If you already know the name of the firm or practitioner you are looking for, you can enter their it under "Search by Firm name or Practitioner name". Entering a practitioner name will take you directly to that practitioner's profile page, showing all of WWL's research into that person. Selecting a firm name will take you to our Market Insight Tool results page, filtered for that firm.


As WWL does not list firms, only individuals, the default view shows individuals, sorted by their WWL Ranking, in the following order:

  • Global Elite Thought Leader
  • Thought Leader
  • Recommended
  • Future Leader

You can choose group individuals by firm using the "Group by Firm name" option on the sidebar. Firms are shown in order by the number of total listings they have.


It is also possible to sort firms and individuals alphabetically and reverse alphabetically.


The filters on the left hand side of the page allow you to refine the listings by sector/chapter (e.g. Banking - Finance or Banking - Regulatory), by practitioner type (e.g. barrister, expert) and location.


You can also check the relevant boxes to only show Thought Leaders or Future Leaders (where available) or to only view listings in WWL National Guides or Global Practice Area Guides.


Clicking on a practitioner's name or avatar will take you to their individual profile page, where you can see all of their listings in all guides.

Thought Leaders publications


What are WWL Thought Leaders guides?


WWL Thought Leaders guides bring together the insight, expertise and wisdom of some of the world’s foremost lawyers and experts in a single place. Through interviews with the practitioners themselves, our Thought Leaders guides aim to shine a light on what puts these practitioners at the pinnacle of the profession.


We publish Thought Leaders guides relating to more than a dozen of our international practice area guides, including Arbitration, Competition and Construction. We also publish Thought Leaders editions relating to certain national guides, including Switzerland and Germany.


How do I get into WWL Thought Leaders?


It is not possible to nominate yourself for inclusion in a Thought Leaders guide. Only those individuals scoring most highly in our research are invited to participate. Therefore anyone wishing to be selected as a Global Elite Thought Leader or Thought Leader must be selected in a corresponding practice area or national guide instead.


For further information, see the Rankings and designations section above.

Future Leaders


What is Future Leaders?


While our various practice area editions cover tens of thousands of outstanding lawyers and experts internationally, it became clear that there is a tremendous amount of first-class work being done by younger practitioners currently unrecognised by our research. With WWL's Future Leaders editions we aim to address that, by focusing on the outstanding members of the next generation: the future leaders of the profession.


We currently run Future Leaders editions in six practice areas. The full list can be found on our Research Schedule. The chapters are incorporated as part of the guides, not separately, to enable these excellent young practitioners to be featured alongside our other listed individuals.


How do you define a Future Leader?


Future Leaders are the leading individuals aged 45 or under in the practice area concerned. In order to be eligible, a practitioner must be 45 or under at the end of the year of publication.


How do I get listed in a Future Leaders edition?


The research process is very similar to our standard practice area guides. For further details, see the section "The research process" above.

WWL Awards


What are the WWL Annual Awards?


Since 2005, WWL has identified a leading firm and practitioner across each our practice areas as WWL Firm/Lawyer/Expert of the Year in that area. In addition, we select a leading firm in over 80 jurisdictions globally. Since 2013, we have held an annual black-tie awards ceremony to celebrate the incredible achievements of these pre-eminent names in the legal profession.


How are the WWL Awards determined?


In judging the WWL awards we study the nominations made by clients and fellow professionals. Our bespoke database weights each recommendation according to the standing of the nominator: so a vote from the general counsel of a major corporation or one of the practice area's leading lights carries greater weight than that of a less frequently nominated lawyer. The individual who scores highest in our research is named as WWL Lawyer or Expert of the Year.


The firm awards are determined by the number of its members that feature in the publication as well as by the number of nominations its lawyers or experts have received during the course of the research.


We also give WWL awards to the outstanding firms in major jurisdictions around the globe. These are also determined by the number of nominees a firm has in the publication and by their standing within the research.


It is not necessary to submit for consideration for any of our awards. Any firm or individual listed in our research will automatically be considered, subject to the criteria above.

Pro Bono Survey, Women in Law and Corporate Counsel


What is the WWL Pro Bono Survey?


Since 2013, WWL has conducted an annual pro bono survey, inviting submissions from firms around the world in the form of a detailed questionnaire concerning firms' pro bono activity. The results of our research are published annually on, with the firm who has demonstrated the most outstanding work across the preceding year being crowned the WWL Pro Bono Firm of the Year.


How do I take part in the WWL Pro Bono Survey?


We welcome submissions from any firm that undertakes work on a pro bono basis. A detailed submission form/questionnaire will be posted on our website along with further details on how to participate.


How do you decide the Pro Bono Firm of the Year?


WWL's Pro Bono Survey committee, which includes the editor and pro bono survey coordinator, meet after the closing date for submissions and discuss the submissions received.


We look for the winning firm to demonstrate a strong and genuine commitment to pro bono work, including encouraging engagement at all levels of the firm. We want to see firms going above and beyond any minimum rules requiring participation. We also look at the specific projects undertaken and the overall attitude towards pro bono work at the firm.


What is WWL Women in Law?


For several years, WWL has conducted interviews and Q&As with prominent women private practice lawyers and in-house counsel, raising awareness of issues particular to women in the market and highlighting the challenges involved in succeeding in the legal profession as a woman.


We also feature similar content in Thought Leaders: Women in Law, a new addition to our Thought Leaders series, which aims to give even greater prominence to women in the legal sector through Q&As and other content.


Do you do any research into in-house lawyers or corporate counsel?


For the past 12 months, WWL has been conducting our Corporate Counsel Survey, obtaining feedback from sources across the legal market with the aim of identifying the leading in-house lawyers and teams worldwide. The results will be announced shortly.

Listings and personal details


I am not currently listed in your guides. Can I add my details or those of my firm to your website anyway?


No. We only show the details of firms and individual practitioners who are selected based on our independent research. Anyone wishing to be added to the website must first take part in our research process and obtain a listing. See "The research process" section above.


Can I enhance my profile or that of my firm?


All listed practitioners receive a free, basic listing. However, such individuals are, under no obligation, invited to publish a professional biography to add further information and exposure to their profile.


Firms with practitioners listed in any of our guides are entitled to publish a bespoke professional notice on our website and in the corresponding print edition.


If you are interested in publishing a professional biography or professional notice for your firm or listed practitioner(s), please contact Adam Landes.


What should I do if my contact details on this site are inaccurate?


We endeavour to ensure that contact details for all individuals and firms are up-to-date. However, in the event that any information is incorrect, or has changed, please contact us with the correct contact information and we will update your listing as soon as possible.


What should I do if my professional biography is inaccurate?


Please contact us with the requested corrections and we will make the changes as soon as possible.

Law Business Research Ltd


What is Law Business Research Ltd?


Law Business Research is an international legal publishing company based in London and is the parent company of WWL.


Aside from WWL, Law Business Research is home to numerous leading resources and publications in the legal and business sector, including:



Lexology Getting The Deal Through

Global Competition Review
Global Arbitration Review
Global Investigations Review
Global Restructuring Review
Global Data Review

Latin Lawyer

The Law Reviews


World Trademark Review


Latin American Corporate Counsel Association (LACCA)


Who should I contact for more information on Law Business Research's brands?


Please use the links above to find the relevant contact for the brand you are interested in.


For more information on WWL, please Contact Us.

Law Business Research
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