Categories & Criteria

Not Open for Nominations – Will be Announced on the Awards Evening

The Keith Givens Visionary Award
This award honors a member of the bar who has shown extraordinary creativity in bringing the legal industry together, developing new opportunities for business growth, and supporting the professional development of attorneys across the country.

The Outstanding Trial Lawyer Award
This award will recognize an individual plaintiff attorney who exhibited superb results on behalf of his or her client.
Most Influential Plaintiff Law Firms
This category honors the firms who have been honored more than once since 2016, either through having multiple honorees per firm or individual honorees who have been finalists or winners more than once.
National Trial Lawyers - Trial Lawyers of the Year
Recipients of these awards are chosen by The National Trial Lawyers’ selection committee and must demonstrate superior qualifications of leadership skills, knowledge, experience and trial results as a legal professional. 

Categories Open for Nominations

  • Antitrust
  • Aviation
  • Bankruptcy Law
  • Brain Injury
  • Business Torts
  • Civil Rights
  • Child Abuse  
  • Class Action 
  • Consumer Protection
  • Disability Rights
  • Age Discrimination
  • Dram Shop
  • Elite Women of the Plaintiffs’ Bar
  • Employment Rights
  • Environmental Protection
  • Gender Discrimination
  • Financial Products
  • Higher Education
  • Immigration
  • Insurance Liability
  • Intentional Torts
  • Mass Torts
  • Personal Injury
  • Medical Malpractice
  • Motor Vehicle Accident
  • Pharmaceutical Litigation
  • Privacy/Data Breach
  • Products Liability
  • Racial Discrimination
  • Securities Litigation
  • Sexual Orientation Discrimination
  • Sports, Entertainment and Media Law
  • Truck Injury


Potential nominees should have scored at least one significant plaintiffs win between August 1, 2018, and October 1, 2019, and possess an impressive track record of wins within the past three to five years. A “significant win” means prevailing in a bench or jury trial or in a major settlement in which the stakes are high—for example, a substantial amount of money is on the line or the outcome could affect litigation strategy or the results in similar cases nationally.

To be eligible for this list, firms should devote at least 50 percent of their litigation resources to plaintiffs work.

Among the criteria that we may use to evaluate firms and/or lawyers:
  • Performance in significant cases, including key rulings, victories at trial, and settlements
  • Please rank the cases in order of importance. By importance we mean both significance of the result for your client and contribution made by your lawyers.
  • Please include the names of clients (if the case is a class action, a lead plaintiff will suffice), lead partners, and opposing counsel, as well as contact information.
  • Verdict dollar amount, size of punitive damages penalties, cash settlements
  • Complexity of procedure and substantive law
  • Duration of case, and/or number of class members
  • Willingness to take on large cases and to persevere in the face of adversity
  • Volume of cases handled in a particular time period (sum of accumulated verdicts or settlements)
  • The novelty of claim, cause of action, or theory of recovery
  • Impact – litigation results that changed a government, business practice (for instance, the way that credit card fees are handled; or the pricing structure in a particular industry)
  • Feedback or acknowledgment from the bench
  • Firm size in relation to impact or recovery amount
  • Each result must reflect achievements by lawyers practicing at your firm; do not submit wins by lateral hires while at their old firms.
  • If your clients were represented by more than one firm, please specify your firm’s role.
  • In your submission, please name someone at your firm whom we may contact with questions.
  • Please do not submit appellate victories. They do not count for this survey.
  • Unless otherwise marked, all information submitted will be considered on-the-record.

An essay of up to 1,000 words (shorter is perfectly acceptable) explaining why a firm should win, along with supporting documents. Factors we’re looking for are importance and difficulty of the matters handled; the quality of opposing counsel, ingenuity and diligence. This is no place for false modesty! Please describe the firm’s track record, and describe your biggest loss during the specified period; we would like to know how the firm adjusts to setbacks and what it learned from the experience.

*Some notes to consider:
  • Confidential information: All information submitted will be: considered on the record and included in our selection process. Please, do not submit confidential information, including client names or client matters.
  • How does ETL differ from Winning Litigators: Unlike National Law Journal’s Winning Litigators, Elite Trial Lawyers exclusively spotlights plaintiffs lawyers.

Note that all submissions must be made on the online portal.