Litigation Department of the Year

, The American Lawyer

We were careful what we asked for and amazed by what we received. For the third time, we set out to pick the Litigation Department of the Year, and for the second time, the best specialty groups in Intellectual Property, Labor and Employment, and Product Liability.

We invited Am Law 200 firms to report on their litigation records between January 1, 2004, and June 30, 2005. Specifically, we asked for no more than five examples of "significant achievements" in six categories, ranging from pretrial work to appellate to pro bono. There were a couple of surprises:

The competition was the stiffest yet. The 120 entries kept four teams of reporters and editors busy for nearly four months. The choices were very close.

Smaller departments dominated the general category. This time their cases and their results were better.

Some things didn't change. In each contest, we whittled down the entries to a shortlist of finalists, and then visited each of them, offering these master advocates the chance to plead their cases. Not all excelled. And once again we asked for client references and, as before, some clients proceeded to scoff at the very firms they knew all too well.

In our special report we present the four winners, the runners-up, and, in the Department of the Year contest, 12 more who merited special attention. Congratulations! And let the appeals begin.

The Winners:

The Litigation Department of the Year:
Paul Weiss

Jenner & Block
Latham & Watkins
Munger, Tolles
Simpson Thacher

Product Liability Department of the Year:
Kaye Scholer

Jones Day
Reed Smith

Labor and Employment Department of the Year:
Morgan, Lewis

Paul, Hastings
Seyfarth Shaw

Intellectual Property Department of the Year:

Weil, Gotshal

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