Categories & Criteria

Texas Lawyer Professional Excellence—Individual Awards

The following categories for Texas Lawyer Professional Excellence awards are open to lawyers from all sizes of firms and organizations:

Attorney of the Year

This award goes to the lawyer who in 2019 had the biggest impact on the law or the Texas legal community or did the most to advance the cause of justice. (To be sure, some of this work may have originated before 2019 and/or extended into 2020.)

Lifetime Achievement Awards

Please tell us in up to 1,000 words about anyone living who has left a lasting imprint on the Texas legal community. Please include a high-resolution color photo of the nominee, at least 200 dpi.

On the Rise

Please tell us, in up to 1,000 words, about lawyers under the age of 40 who have wielded influence in their practice areas in Texas and beyond. They should be innovators, developing unique practice niches, amassing robust books of business, demonstrating strong leadership qualities, showing expertise in litigation, in-house or transactional work and committing themselves to pro bono, charitable and professional volunteer work. Nominees must have been born after June 12, 1980, to be eligible. Please include a high-resolution color photo of the nominee, at least 200 dpi.

Best Mentors

This category is designed to recognize lawyers who have helped less-experienced colleagues become better lawyers. The relationship between mentors and mentees need not be formal. Please tell us in up to 500 words about anyone who meets this (deliberately vague) criterion.

Top Women in IP

Top women in this space and a lifetime-type award to one women who exemplifies doing “everything her male counterparts do but backwards and in heels.” It will be known as the Ginger Rogers Award. Please tell us in up to 1,000 words about anyone who fits this description—making sure to include a link to the nominee’s social media address. Please include a high-resolution color photo of the nominee, at least 200 dpi.

Most-Effective Deal-makers

Again, quantity or dollar volume are not the only criteria. These deal-makers get repeat business for how they achieve their clients’ goals so that both sides sign on the dotted lines. Please tell us in up to 1,000 words about anyone who fits this description, using examples from 2019.  Please include a high-resolution color photo of the nominee, at least 200 dpi.

Diversity and Inclusion Champion

This is either a minority who has overcome insurmountable odds to achieve success, or it’s a lawyer who’s had an outsized influence on inclusivity initiatives to make people of all backgrounds feel welcomed at their firm or organization. Please tell us in up to 500 words about anyone who fits this description, using examples of what they did during 2019 and 2020. Please include a high-resolution color photo of the nominee, at least 200 dpi.

Texas Lawyer — Awards for Midsize or Small Firms

Texas Lawyer’s Litigation Departments of the Year contest has two distinct categories – a contest to award the top department in general litigation, as well as a contest to determine the top specialty practice groups. The competition is open to any law firm with a Texas presence with fewer than 200 attorneys. We are trying to identify and reward powerhouse practices in our area. But we understand that many lawyers and law firms now have regional or national practices. Therefore we would like you to submit matters lead by lawyers from Texas. But those cases need not have been filed or tried in one of our local courts.

We plan to group the entrants by firm size—small and midsize. For each category, we will have two competitions–one for midsize firms (50-199 lawyers) and one for small firms (1-49 lawyers).

(Midsize: Texas-based firms with 50 to 199 lawyers), for these categories: General, IP, Products Liability/Mass Torts, Labor and Employment, Insurance, Premises Liability, Energy and Appellate.

(Small: Texas-based firms with 1 to 49 lawyers), for these categories: General, IP, Products Liability/Mass Torts, Labor and Employment, Insurance, Premises Liability, Energy and Appellate.

This year we’re also introducing three new categories: Legal Innovators, In-house Impact, and Women in Energy.


Legal Innovators (New in 2020)

Open to Anyone in the Texas Legal Community
This award seeks to honor innovative efforts by individual lawyers and legal professionals. Their innovation could be technology-oriented, but it doesn’t have to be. We want to hear about attorneys and legal professionals who have come up with game-changing ideas for their practices or organizations and who were then able to turn that vision into reality. Please submit an essay of up to 500 words describing this person.


In-House Impact (New in 2020)

Open to Texas-based Lawyers from Public or Private Companies and Organizations
In-House Impact: This recognizes an in-house lawyer who had a significant accomplishment in 2019. Please submit an essay of up to 500 words that describes the nominee’s skills, strategies and results.


Women in Energy (New in 2020)

This award recognizes a Texas in-house woman lawyer in the energy space who had a significant accomplishment in 2019. Please submit an essay of up to 500 words describing the nominee’s skills, strategies and results.