Categories & Criteria

Washington D.C. Legal Departments of the Year

The National Law Journal is seeking nominations for our In-House Legal Department of the Year Awards. The Legal Department of the Year contest recognizes the Washington D.C. region’s top in-house departments in up to six distinct categories. To qualify, the departments must be led by lawyers from the Washington D.C. metro area. 
 
The deadline for submissions is August 28. 
 
Each essay should be no more than 500 words. And please include Law Department Information, as detailed below, to accompany each submission. Each entrant can apply for as many of the six categories as they wish, with a separate essay to accompany each category submission. 
 
The awards are based on success stories: how a given corporate counsel's office, regardless of its size, came up with innovative programs, used ingenuity to solve problems or surmounted a scarcity of resources and still delivered a high quality of client service. Among the general questions you should try address in your entry:
  • What makes your legal department special? Tell us how your department stands out from the crowd.
  • Have you faced any litigation challenges in the last year? If so, tell us about them.
  • How have you managed outside counsel?
  • Have you closed major transactions this year? If so, tell us about them. 
  • Do you have significant pro bono programs?
  • Is your legal department diverse? How do you promote and achieve diversity?
 
Law Department Information
Please provide the following information:
  • Company
  • Headquarters
  • Industry
  • Number of lawyers in the Washington D.C. area
  • Number of lawyers in the United States
  • Number of lawyers worldwide
  • Contact person (include telephone and email) whom we may contact with questions
Please submit a short essay.
 
In describing all matters, please provide specific details about what your in-house lawyers did in each case. Please limit yourself to accomplishments that occurred in the last calendar year (though you can describe work done in prior years that contributed to the accomplishment). Among the questions you should attempt to answer:
 
  • Describe your most significant litigation activities in the last year, including pretrial achievements, trial victories, arbitrations, and settlements.
  • Describe any unique strategies for multiple litigation matters, such as suits involving the same product.
  • Describe any out-of-the-ordinary non-litigation matters in the last year, such as working on a major M&A transaction or responding to a government investigation.
  • Describe any unique strategies for routine non-litigation matters, such as patent applications or employment contracts.
Please submit a short essay. Among the questions you should attempt to answer:
 
  • How do you choose outside counsel: on a case-by-case basis, or by a preferred providers list?
  • Describe any innovative selection techniques to choose outside counsel that you used in 2017.
  • By what percentage did your spending on outside counsel increase or decrease in 2017?
  • Describe any innovative fee arrangements that you reached with outside counsel in 2017.
  • Describe any other major innovations in managing outside counsel that you’ve put into place.
  • Describe your most significant litigation activities in the last year, including pretrial achievements, trial victories, arbitrations, and settlements.
Please submit a short essay.
 
Describe major transactions or litigation that your legal department handled during the last year. We’re specifically interested in major transactions or litigation involving work that in-house departments typically would delegate to outside law firms.
Please submit a short essay. Among the questions you should attempt to answer:
 
  • Describe in detail how you encourage and reward diversity—both in your legal department, and among your outside law firms. Are you a signatory to the Association of Corporate Counsel’s Diversity Call to Action? 
  • What is the current percentage of women attorneys among your lawyers? Among your senior lawyers? How have these percentages changed from the previous year?
  • What is the current percentage of minority American attorneys among your lawyers? Among your senior lawyers and partners? (Please include percentages of African American, Hispanic American, Asian American and other minority American lawyers.) How have these percentages changed from the previous year?
  • What is the current percentage of LGBTQ attorneys among your lawyers? Among your senior lawyers and partners?
Please submit a short essay. Among the questions you should attempt to answer:
 
  • Do you have a formal legal pro bono program? Please describe. How do you encourage your in-house lawyers to participate? Are you a signatory to the Corporate Pro Bono Challenge?
  • Describe significant pro bono or community service projects that your department worked on in the last year. Please provide the number of attorneys and amount of hours that were contributed to each project. 
Please submit a short essay. Among the questions you should attempt to answer:
 
  • Describe any innovative compliance programs that your legal department put into place in the last year. 
  • How have you creatively communicated compliance information to all employees to ensure that they understand and adhere to company policy? 
  • How have you used technology to help manage your compliance program?

Closed Categories

Appellate Hot List

The National Law Journal is seeking nominations for our “Appellate Hot List” of law firms that have done exemplary, cutting-edge appellate advocacy. Potential nominees must be able to point to at least one significant appellate win since January 2018, plus an impressive track record overall. A “significant win” means prevailing before the U.S. Supreme Court, a U.S. circuit court of appeals or a state court of last resort when the financial stakes were high or an important legal principle was at stake.

Nominations should  include a short description of the firm’s track record—maximum 800 words;  a list of the specific case or cases to be considered (5 pages maximum) with an explanation of the firm’s contribution to particular cases (presented oral arguments, drafted briefs, contributed amici arguments cited by the court) relative to significant co-counsel; and a list of the principal attorneys on a case, with their contact information included.

The deadline for nominations is August 1.

Winning Litigators 2019: Profiles of Successful Attorneys & Their Strategies

The National Law Journal is seeking nominations for its annual special section, "Winning: Profiles of Successful Attorneys and Their Strategies." Nominees should have at least one significant win in a jury or bench trial between Jan. 1, 2018, and June 28, 2019. "Significant" wins include prevailing when substantial damages were at stake, setting a legal precedent or overcoming an unfriendly jurisdiction.
 
Please limit each submission to 800 words. Firms should not send more than two submissions for this contest, and each submission should focus on one litigator (or a maximum of two litigators, if they co-led the case/matter). Please provide two client references with phone and email for each submission.

The nomination deadline is June 28.

D.C. Rising Stars

The National Law Journal Rising Stars program recognizes the Washington, D.C. region's 40 most promising lawyers age 40 and under as of May 31. To qualify, the lawyers must work in the D.C. metropolitan area.
 
If you have questions, please contact Pearl Wu at pwu@alm.com.

The deadline for submissions is May 31, 2019.

We're looking for lawyers who have wielded influence in their practice areas in the D.C. area and beyond. They should be innovators, developing unique practice niches, amassing robust books of business, demonstrating strong leadership qualities, showing expertise in litigation or transactional work and committing themselves to pro bono, charitable and professional volunteer work.

For this contest, we are asking you to provide:
 
1. An essay of no more than 500 words describing why the nominee should be selected. Among the questions that you should attempt to answer:
  • Describe the accomplishments during the last year that qualify the nominee for our list.
  • What makes the nominee stand out from his or her peers?
  • How has the nominee demonstrated leadership—in his or her practice, in the workplace and in the profession?
  • Has the nominee contributed to the community through pro bono work, charitable work or public service? Please describe.
2. A biography of the nominee (also in a Word document or PDF), including the following:
  • Employer
  • Title
  • City and State
  • Birthdate
  • Education
  • Legal work experience (including dates and employer names)
  • Other relevant information (awards, affiliations, significant publications)
3. A high-resolution color photo of the nominee. We cannot accept black-and-white photos or thumbnails.
4. Contact information for two references who we can approach for an on-the-record conversation about the nominee's legal work and accomplishments.

If you'd like to download a PDF of the NLJ Pro Bono Hot List questions in advance, please click here. Please note that you must still submit the form via the online portal to enter the contest. Email submissions will not be accepted.

Pro Bono Hot List

Nominations must include a brief overview of the firm’s pro bono history and highlights and detailed descriptions of key pro bono matters resolved between January 1, 2018 and January 15, 2019. Within these descriptions, please name the lawyers involved and describe the extent of their involvement on matters compared with co-counsel. On matters involving co-counsel, please include their names. Also include the names of opposing counsel. Lastly, include the names and contact information for at least twopro bono clients.

Please limit nominations to no more than 1,800 words. Supporting documents on matters (news clips, etc.) do not count towards the word limit, but we ask that you limit these supplemental materials to 3 pages.

The deadline for submissions is 10 a.m. EST on Friday, March 15. We will be unable to accept late submissions this year.

Washington D.C. Litigation Departments of the Year

We invite you to participate in our Washington D.C. Litigation Departments of the Year competition. The Litigation Departments of the Year competition is open to any law firm with an office in the D.C. metro area.

Overview
The competition has two distinct categories:
  1. A contest to award the top department in general litigation and
  2. A contest to determine the top specialty practice groups.
 
  • Submit matters led by lawyers from the D.C. metro area. Cases may include those filed or tried in a D.C.-area court and/or those filed or tried outside of the D.C. area (as long as they are led by lawyers from the D.C. area.) 
  • Please fill out separate submissions for the general litigation and specialty practice contests.
  • We plan to name winners in each category, but depending on the entrant pool, we may have multiple winners or runners-up in one group and none in another.
  • The submission deadline for both branches of this competition is April 3.

Details on Submission Materials
For each contest, we are asking you to submit:
  • An overview essay explaining why your firm should win. 900 words maximum.
  • A list of cases with brief descriptions of their significance. 1500 words maximum.
  • A brief description of three upcoming matters at your firm. 600 words maximum.
Client Matter Listing
Please describe up to 8 litigation results that demonstrate your department’s excellence. 1500 words maximum.
  • This list can and should include results obtained pre-trial, at trial or on appeal. It may include pro bono cases. Client matter results must have occurred between Jan. 1, 2018 and Dec. 31, 2018.
  • Please rank your top 5 client matters in terms of importance. By importance, we mean both significance of the result for your client and contribution made by your lawyers. Note: You can rank all the cases if you like, but ranking is only required for the top 5.
  • Each result must have been achieved by lawyers while they were members of your firm based in your D.C. office. Do not include results achieved by lateral hires while they were working for another firm.
  • For each client matter result, please include the names of: 1) clients, 2) lead partners and 3) opposing counsel, as well as contact information for at least two clients per matter.
  • Descriptions of results should include specific dollar amounts where relevant, but should focus on why the result demonstrates the excellence of your department.
  • For each case, please include a case number and jurisdiction.
  • DO NOT SUBMIT CONFIDENTIAL INFORMATION: All information submitted will be considered on-the-record and included in the evaluation process.
  • If your client was represented by more than one firm, please specify your firm’s leadership role and estimate what percentage of client matter work your firm completed versus co-counsel.
  • In your submission, please include a firm contact to whom we may contact with questions.

Essay
Make the case for why your firm should win! 900 words maximum.
  • Tell us why you should win. Factors we’re looking for are the importance and difficulty of the matters handled; the quality of opposing counsel; ingenuity and diligence.

Upcoming Matters
  • Include a brief description of three upcoming matters for your firm. 600 words maximum.

Firm Stats and Client References
We’ll also request additional information on:
  • The size of your firm’s litigation department in D.C. and firmwide as of Dec. 31, 2018. (Please specify number of partners, associates and others).
  • The percentage of your entire firm represented by the litigation department in terms of lawyers.
  • At least four client references, including phone numbers or e-mail addresses.
  • Describe your firm’s biggest litigation loss in the past two years, with names of opposing counsel.

Questions?
Please contact Pearl Wu at Manager, Recognition Desk, Editorial at pwu@alm.com.
The specialty contest will award departments focused in each of five areas:
  1. Intellectual Property
  2. Products Liability/Mass Torts
  3. Labor and Employment
  4. Insurance and
  5. White Collar Defense

You may compete in more than one category. Note: Separate submissions will be expected for each. Describe up to 5 litigation results that demonstrate your department’s excellence in this specialty. 1500 words maximum.
 
  • This list should include both trial and appellate work.
  • The results must have occurred between Jan. 1, 2018 and Dec. 31, 2018.
  • Each result must have been achieved by lawyers while they were members of your firm based in your D.C. office. Do not include results achieved by lateral hires when they were working for a different firm.
  • For each result, please include the names of clients, lead partners and opposing counsel, as well as contact information for all involved whenever possible.
  • Descriptions of results should include specific dollar amounts where relevant, but should focus on why the result demonstrates the excellence of your department.
  • For each case, please include a case number and jurisdiction.
  • PLEASE DO NOT SUBMIT CONFIDENTIAL INFORMATION: All information submitted will be considered on-the-record and included in the evaluation process.
  • Note: If your client was 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 submit additional information on:
  • The size of your firm’s litigation department in D.C. and firmwide as of Dec. 31, 2018. Please specify number of partners, associates and others.
  • The percentage of your entire firm represented by the litigation department in terms of lawyers.
  • Three to four client references per specialty practice area, including phone numbers or e-mail addresses.
  • Describe your firm’s biggest litigation loss in the past two years, with names of opposing counsel.
  • A brief description of three upcoming matters for your firm. 600 words maximum.

Write an essay explaining why your firm should be a finalist in this specialty area.
  • Essay should be no longer than 900 words.
  • Tell us why you should win. Factors we’re looking for include importance and difficulty of the matters handled; the quality of opposing counsel; ingenuity and diligence.

Questions?
Please contact Pearl Wu at Manager, Recognition Desk, Editorial at pwu@alm.com.