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Reaction to New U.S. News Law Firm Rankings

US News Today is the day. The long-awaited-first-ever-omigodomigodomigod U.S. News rankings of the "Best Law Firms" in the country are out.

And people don't seem to know what to think. The rankings are not structured the same way as the publication's ever-popular law school rankings. There's no sequential numerical ranking of firms; even today, no first-year document monkey can claim to work at a U.S. News T14 firm. 

Rather, firms are broken up into tiers, and rankings are done by practice area, with no "overall" category. For those of you who want to explore the survey's methodology in detail, have at it.

What's the verdict on the rankings? Well, Above the Law didn't even wait until the morning to react. That's right -- Elie Mystal posted a link to the rankings at 12:01 am. In the initial post, presumably drafted before Elie had actually gotten an in-depth look at the goods, he speculated that the rankings might be "a total game changer." As the post was updated in the wee hours, his enthusiasm seems to have waned a bit.

Ashby Jones at the WSJ Law Blog was roundly unimpressed, even at 12:05 am:

What good is a ranking like this? To be honest, we’re not entirely sure. Generally speaking, the users of the types of services these firms offer are sophisticated. They’re general counsel and chief litigation officers, many of whom started their careers at names like the ones listed above. They know that lawyers at Kirkland, Paul Weiss and Gibson Dunn know their way around a lawsuit.

Daniel Sokol at the Antitrust & Competition Policy blog was also less than wowed. His advice: "[W]hen in doubt, stick with the far superior Chambers rankings."

This is, obviously, not a comprehensive catalog of blogospheric assessment of the rankings. But it is a nice segue to opening up the comments to readers. So what are your thoughts?

Posted by Eric Lipman on September 15, 2010 at 12:21 PM | Permalink | Comments (2)


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