Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Registration
  3. How to participate in the research
  4. How to submit research forms and client referees
  5. Research timetable
  6. Research methodology
  7. IFLR1000 Awards
  8. Firm ranking and lawyer rating criteria
  9. Leading Lawyers

 

1. Introduction

IFLR1000 undertakes qualitative research into law firms and lawyers to inform the publication of annual rankings, ratings and awards, and editorial content.

The company has been producing legal market intelligence since 1990 and remains the only international legal market research brand focused on ranking law firms and lawyers on the basis of financial and corporate transactional work.

Currently IFLR1000 publishes more than 750 practice area law firm rankings and more than 19,000 lawyer ratings across more than 235 jurisdictions - national and regional - globally. We accept submissions from firms based anywhere in the world and will produce rankings and ratings for any jurisdiction which we have sufficient deal evidence and client feedback for. You can view a complete list of all rankings we are actively researching on our PRACTICE AREA RANKING CATEGORIES BY JURISDICTION GUIDE.

Our researchers track legal market developments (transactions and law firm news) throughout the year to inform their research. If you have any relevant firm or deal news you would like us to consider for our research or online output, please contact the editor Ben Naylorbnaylor@iflr1000.com

 

2. Registration

If your firm is interested in participating in the research, register your contact details through the link below to receive IFLR1000 research announcements and newsletters. Throughout the year we provide updates about the progress of our research, including essential information such as deadlines, research forms and guidelines, and access to newly published research and editorial content.

 

  

3. How to participate in the research

Each year we ask firms to provide annual submissions to inform our research. There is no fee to participate in the research or to be ranked. The research process culminates in the publication of law firm rankings, individual lawyer ratings and firm editorial reviews.

If you work for a law firm that advises on work relevant to our research (see PRACTICE AREA DEFINITIONS), you can participate by completing a research form and providing supporting referees for us to contact by the submission deadline: FEBRUARY 26, 2021. Firms can submit one research form and supporting referees per practice area and jurisdiction. You can view a complete list of all rankings we are actively researching on our PRACTICE AREA RANKING CATEGORIES BY JURISDICTION GUIDE.

The research form asks for basic information on the structure and focus of the practice, recent changes to the team, and 20 highlight deals per practice area - although there is no limit on how many deal examples firms submit.

We survey client referees for their opinion on the performance of firms and lawyers during the research cycle. Client referees must have worked with the firm in the 18 months prior to submission on work relevant to our research.

Firms can submit an unlimited number of referees - we guarantee all referees provided by the initial submission deadline will be contacted - and we encourage firms to at least provide referees for each deal example the firm submits. 

Completing the research form

From a ranking perspective, the most important section of the research form is the 'Deal highlights'. The reason for this is transactional experience on complex, innovative or significant deals is the key factor we use to determine a firm or lawyers' ranking.

Please note:

  • We provide qualitative not quantitative rankings so you should focus on including complex work rather than on including a high number of deals.
  • Please provide us with as much information about the firm’s deals as possible. The more information we have, the better able we are to make an accurate assessment of the firm. We will not disclose any information marked confidential.
  • Always give a clear explanation of the firm’s roles on the deals and why the deals were complex, innovative or significant.
  • Please only include work that is relevant to our research on the form (see ‘Practice area ranking categories’ section). We DO NOT research arbitration, disputes, employment, IP, litigation, or tax work. Any work submitted that falls into these practice areas will not be taken into account.

 

4. How to submit research forms and client referees

There is no fee to participate in the research or to be ranked.

There are three steps to the submission process:

 

Please note:

  • By submitting your firm and lawyers will be considered for all relevant research undertaken in calendar year 2021: 31st edition of IFLR1000's international research; IFLR1000's regional rankings and domestic awards for Canada, China and the United States; the IFLR1000 India Awards; and, IFLR1000 Women Leaders.
  • We DO NOT accept submissions by email.
  • *Only referees uploaded through the designated online form by the deadline will be contacted. Client referee contact information SHOULD NOT be submitted on the research form.
  • Providing you submit the information we request on our research form, we are happy to accept submissions in an alternative format, but we would prefer you DO NOT use the PDF format.
  • If you have any questions about the submission process, please contact the editor, Ben Naylorbnaylor@iflr1000.com

 

5. Research timetable

Below you will find the key research deadlines and publication dates for all IFLR1000 research to be published in the calendar year 2021.

  • Research interviews conducted: January – May 2021

  • Client Referee Feedback Survey: March – April 2021

  • Lawyer Survey: April – May 2021

  • Women Leaders 2020 published: May 5, 2021

  • Law firm ranking tables published in four groups according to practice area (see below for more details): Group one: May 26, 2021

  • Law firm ranking tables published in four groups according to practice area (see below for more details): Group two: June 30, 2021

  • China Awards shortlists announced: July 2021

  • India Awards shortlists announced: July 2021

  • China regional firm rankings and Leading Lawyers published: July 21, 2021

  • Law firm ranking tables published in four groups according to practice area (see below for more details) - Group three: July 28, 2021

  • Canada and United States Awards shortlists announced: August 2021

  • China Awards ceremony: August 19, 2021

  • Law firm ranking tables published in four groups according to practice area (see below for more details) - Group four: August 25, 2021 

  • Leading Lawyers (all practice areas) excluding China regional published: August 25, 2021

  • India Awards ceremony: September 2, 2021
  • Canada and United States Awards ceremony: September 21, 2021
  • Subscriber firm reviews and client feedback published: September 29, 2021

  • Non-subscriber firm reviews and client feedback published: November 30, 2021

 

Practice area rankings monthly publication timetable 

New practice area firm rankings – for both national and regional jurisdictions – will be published across a period of four months, with the first new ranking tables published in May and the last in September.

 

May 26, 2021

  • Banking and finance (including asset finance, bank lending, financial restructuring, leveraged finance, and project finance tables)
  • Financial services regulatory

 

June 30, 2020

  • Capital markets (including debt, derivatives, equity, high yield, and structured finance and securitisation rankings)
  • Investment funds (including hedge, private equity, real estate, registered, and retail funds rankings)

 

July 21, 2021

  • All China regional rankings and Leading Lawyers

 

July 28, 2021

  • Financial and corporate (including offshore rankings)
  • Project development (including energy, infrastructure, mining, power, PPP, telecommunications networks, and transport rankings)

 

August 25, 2021

  • M&A
  • Private equity
  • Restructuring and insolvency (including bond holder and fund representation tables)
  • Leading Lawyers (all practice areas) excluding China regional

 

6. Research methodology

IFLR1000 evaluates law firms and lawyers by practice area within a jurisdiction on the basis of transactional evidence and client feedback. 

6.1: Transaction assessment criteria

IFLR1000 assesses and compares transactions by how complex or challenging the work is or whether there was any innovation involved in the deal or its structuring. Firm and lawyers that consistently – over at least several research cycles or three calendar years – advise on a share of the most complex or innovative transactions in their markets, and that receive excellent feedback for that work, will be ranked or rated highly. See ‘Firm ranking and lawyer rating criteria’ section for more detail.

 

6.2: Jurisdiction criteria

IFLR1000 ranks firms according to the work undertaken by firms’ lawyers based in a jurisdiction. Only firms with an office in a jurisdiction licensed by a local bar association can be ranked in that jurisdiction’s rankings. Lawyers must be licensed and based in a country to be rated at a national level there. 

Currently IFLR1000 publishes more than 750 practice area law firm rankings and more than 19,000 lawyer ratings across more than 235 jurisdictions - national and regional - globally. We accept submissions from firms based anywhere in the world and will produce rankings and ratings for any jurisdiction which we have sufficient deal evidence and client feedback for. You can view a complete list of all rankings we are actively researching on our PRACTICE AREA RANKING CATEGORIES BY JURISDICTION GUIDE.

Regional research: IFLR1000 Canada, China and the United States

Primarily IFLR1000 ranks firms and lawyers on a national jurisdiction level, with three exceptions. In Canada, China and the United States, in addition to our national rankings, we also research firms on the basis of their teams’ work in provinces, regions or states. 

Canada, China and the United States are three of the four largest countries by landmass in the world and each has local legal markets where the firms that dominate the areas of legal work IFLR1000 researches vary from a regional to a national level.

Please be aware:

  • To be eligible to participate in the research for a province, region or state, firms must have an office within the relevant jurisdiction licensed by a local bar association. Lawyers must be licensed and based in a province, region or state to be rated there
  • If a firm submits nationally we do not require it to provide a separate submission to participate in the relevant regional research. We will use research forms and referees submitted by firms in Canada, China and the United States to make an assessment of both the firms’ and the lawyers’ at national and regional levels.
  • Firms in Canada, China and the United States can either submit at a national level by practice area or at a regional by practice area. For example and firm in Canada, can provide a national M&A submission, or M&A submissions for each of the provinces where it has offices.
  • For our China regional research firms can submit forms written in Mandarin, our researcher conducts interviews in Mandarin, and all content is published in Mandarin and English.

 

IFLR1000 China

IFLR1000 China researches firms and rates lawyers in nine provinces/municipalities listed below. The research is undertaken and published in mandarin and English. Firms can submit work that falls into any of our core practice areas (see ‘Practice area ranking categories’ section).

  • Beijing
  • Chongqing
  • Guangdong
  • Jiangsu **NEW**
  • Shandong
  • Shanghai
  • Sichuan
  • Tianjin
  • Zhejiang

 

IFLR1000 Canada

IFLR1000 Canada researches firms and rates lawyers in the seven regions listed below. Firms can submit work that falls into any of our core practice areas (see ‘Practice area ranking categories’ section).

  • Alberta
  • Atlantics
  • British Columbia
  • Manitoba
  • Ontario
  • Quebec
  • Saskatchewan

 

IFLR1000 United States

IFLR1000 United States researches firms and lawyers in all 50 states and DC. Firms can submit work that falls into any of our core practice areas (see ‘Practice area ranking categories’ section) and also transactional real estate development, financing or M&A work. Our real estate rankings are exclusive to the United States, and at a state level only.

 

6.3: Practice area ranking categories

IFLR1000 ranks firms and lawyers by practice area. Our research focuses on financial and corporate and project development work. We assess work in the following practice areas (a financial and corporate ranking is based on all the types of work listed below excluding project development):

  • Banking
  • Capital markets
  • Financial services regulatory
  • Investment funds
  • M&A / transactional private equity
  • Project development
  • Project finance
  • Restructuring and insolvency

 

To view the type of work that can be submitted for each practice area, see our practice area definitions below or DOWNLOAD PRACTICE AREA DEFINITIONS

The practice areas we produce rankings for vary by country, depending on the volume of work generally seen in a market and how specialised firms and lawyers are within the market concerned. To view which practice areas we currently produce rankings for in your jurisdiction and those we intend to in the next research cycle, see our PRACTICE AREA RANKING CATEGORIES BY JURISDICTION GUIDE*.

*Please note we accept submissions from firms based anywhere in the world and will produce rankings for any jurisdiction where we have sufficient deal evidence and client feedback.

 

7. IFLR1000 Awards: Canada, China, India and the United States

The IFLR1000 Awards are based on the research conducted by IFLR1000’s researchers during the annual research cycle and use as their primary source the IFLR1000 submissions. The awards research is also supported by a dedicated awards team, combining IFLR1000’s existing methodology, honed over 30 years of covering legal markets, with a resource to analyse unique transactions in detail.

All decisions relating to the shortlists and winners are independent and made by an IFLR1000 panel consisting of the regional editors and researchers. Each shortlist is the culmination of months of research, analysing hundreds of submissions, surveying thousands of referees and interviewing hundreds of lawyers.

The awards recognise and celebrate the best-performing law firms and lawyers as well we the most impressive deals of the year within a single market. They endeavour to reflect the depth of domestic legal markets, with categories recognising work at state or region level.

You can read a detailed explanation of the IFLR1000 Awards methodology and criteria on the IFLR1000 AWARDS RESEARCH GUIDELINES.

 

Awards research methodology

The IFLR1000 awards will follow IFLR1000’s methodology by using the IFLR1000 submissions, research calls with key practitioners in the market, peer review and client feedback to identify the best-performing law firms and lawyers within a jurisdiction and recognise where firms and lawyers performed exceptionally locally and nationally. The awards will also showcase the market’s most impressive deals that closed during a defined 12-month period.

The IFLR1000 awards are domestic, meaning that the focus is on work in a single jurisdiction, done under the domestic laws, led by domestic lawyers and with a significant domestic impact.

The deal of the year categories will only include deals that closed during the defined research period – ongoing deals will not be shortlisted for deal of the year. In deciding on shortlists and winners, researchers will follow up on specific deals, as well as conducting broader research. Deals will be awarded based on a combination of their complexity and impact on the national market.

Team, firm and individual shortlists will be drawn up based on a combination of their roles on the best deals and market feedback from the research.

In 2021, IFLR1000 will run awards for the following jurisdictions:

India

  • Shortlist announced in July

China

  • Shortlist announced in August


Canada and the United States

  • Shortlist announced in August

Pease note: the categories in each awards vary. A full list of the categories for each awards can be found on the IFLR1000 AWARDS GUIDELINES.

 

8. Firm ranking and lawyer rating criteria 

Our law firm rankings and lawyer ratings are based on three key criteria:

8.1: Transactional evidence

In each research cycle we ask firms to provide transactional highlights from a designated period.

Transactional evidence is the decisive factor we use to determine a firm’s ranking. For a firm to be ranked, it must have a track record of advising on transactional work relevant to our ranking categories. The same applies to the ratings of individuals; lawyers must have been working on significant deals in some capacity to be rated.

We assess transactions for complexity or innovation through criteria which varies according to the practice area and jurisdiction. When making an assessment of firm’s work we take into account the volume of complex work a firm does in an area. Firms that consistently have a high market share of complex deals, relative to their jurisdiction and the practice area, are ranked highly, if we have sufficient supporting client feedback for the work.

Primarily firms submit deals to us via the research form. Our research team also monitors daily deal news and updates to complement this.

We also analyse statistical evidence of transaction values and volumes produced by external publications.

 

8.2: Client feedback

We use client feedback to help us asses the quality of advice and service lawyers and firms are providing. We survey tens of thousands of corporate and in-house contacts provided to us by participating firms annually to ask their opinions on the firms and lawyers they use.

Client feedback is used in support of transactional evidence when determining a firm’s ranking or lawyer’s rating. What this means is good feedback alone will not ensure a firm or lawyer is ranked or rated – a firm or individual must be experienced in advising on significant transactional work.

When you submit you should try and provide referees for all the lawyers at the firm you feel should be rated. A lawyer working on significant deals who receives a reasonable amount of good client feedback is more likely to be rated. 

Increasing response rate of referees

Some ways we have found increase the number of referees who respond to our survey are:

  • Confirm that your referees are happy for us to contact them before you provide their details to us.
  • Only provide referees the firm has advised on work relevant our rankings tables.
  • Only provide referees the firm has advised on relevant work in the 18 months prior to submitting.
  • Notify your referees when we will be contacting them. We email all firms in advance of contacting their referees with details about the email referees receive.

 

8.3: Peer feedback

During each research cycle we conduct an online Lawyer Survey of lawyers to get their thoughts and feedback on the firms and lawyers in their markets. All partners and senior lawyers active in work relevant research to our ranking categories are invited to participate.

We conduct a significant number of phone and face-to-face interviews with practitioners, where we ask for feedback on firms and discuss trends. By discussing market trends we are able to gain a better understanding of what the most significant deals in the market have been recently, which helps us assess work submitted to us.

Peer feedback can be particularly useful for individual ratings as lawyers are well placed to recognise the leaders in their own practice areas.

Peer feedback is secondary to client feedback and we only take feedback into account where it is supported by deal evidence. 

IFLR1000 Lawyer Survey

Our annual Lawyer Survey is an opportunity for lawyers to provide evidence to support a Leading Lawyer rating and to provide feedback on our rankings and ratings.

Lawyers can provide us with recent examples of their work and details about their practice area and industry sector specialisms, which will be assessed when we evaluate our Leading Lawyer ratings.

Lawyers can also provide feedback on the rankings and the legal markets they work in. Relevant and reasoned feedback will be taken into consideration if we find supporting evidence. 

 

9. Leading Lawyers

Alongside our firm rankings we also recognise the work of outstanding individuals. Our recommendations are based on the same three factors as our law firm rankings (outlined in the 'Firm ranking and lawyer rating criteria' section) and consist of the following categories:

Expert Consultant

Senior figures with name recognition who focus on consulting and building client relationships.

Highly Regarded

Lawyers who are highly regarded by their peers and possess a strong transactional record and consistently receive positive client feedback.

Market Leader

True leaders of their field, these lawyers have a track record of leading on high-profile, innovative deals and are recognised as the standout performers in their country or practice area.

Notable Practitioner

We also recognise lawyers who have advised on deals that feature in IFLR1000 Deal Data. These individuals are categorised as Notable Practitioners.

Rising Star

Ones to watch: lawyers building their reputations in the market who are working on notable deals and are recommended by clients or peers. Only non-partners qualified for less than 15 years are eligible for this rating.

Rising Star Partner

Lawyers who made partner relatively recently who are working on complex deals and are recommended by clients or peers. Only lawyers who made partner within three years of the relevant submission deadline (February 26, 2021 is the deadline for the current cycle) are eligible for this rating.