Ranking criteria

Our law firm rankings are based on three key criteria:

Case evidence

In each research cycle we ask firms to provide recent deal and case highlights and this is used to determine their position in the market.

Firms should provide their most complex and interesting matters in the research form and explain clearly to our research team why they are important and what they tell us about the firm’s abilities.

Peer feedback

We conduct an online ‘Practitioner Survey’ of law firm partners to get their thoughts and feedback on our current law firm rankings and attorney rankings.

All partners active in the relevant research categories are invited to take part and we also conduct phone and face-to-face interviews with practitioners.

Client feedback

We speak to a wide range of corporate and in-house contacts as part of our ‘Client feedback survey’ to get their opinions on the firms and attorneys they use.


Structure of the Guide

In covering the United States, we focus on four main practice areas and have ranked firms either “Highly Recommended” or “Recommended” within a number of sub-categories:

  • Regulatory – FDA Pharmaceutical, FDA Medical Device, Healthcare: Pricing and Reimbursement
  • Intellectual Property – Patent Prosecution, Patent Strategy and Management, General Patent Litigation, Hatch-Waxman Litigation
  • Financial & Corporate – General Corporate, Licensing & Collaboration, Mergers & Acquisitions, Venture Capital
  • Non-IP Litigation and Enforcement – Product Liability, White-Collar/Government Investigations, Antitrust

Canada covers four similar practice areas, including regulatory, intellectual property, financial & corporate, and product liability litigation. In addition to our annual awards, we debuted in 2020 a set of firm practice area rankings for Canada, which include the following:

  •        Regulatory
  •        Patent Litigation (Branded)
  •        Patent Litigation (Generic)
  •        Patent Prosecution
  •        Financial & Corporate
  •        Product Liability

Life Science Stars

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. The Stars listings also display each attorney's specific legal expertise within the life sciences sector.

Life Cycle Firms

Only a small number of firms are rated as a "Life Cycle Firm." We feel the firms listed here have a number of capabilities that allow them to handle pertinent legal issues facing a product throughout its life cycle. We chose firms based on the breadth of their life sciences practice and by meeting a threshold number of life sciences stars across at least three practice area chapters.


The publication has four practice area chapters and one chapter dedicated to firms that can handle a product’s life cycle. Each practice area chapter is broken down to cover a number of sub-topics:

Practice Area Chapter

Sub Topic covered:


FDA Pharmaceutical

FDA Medical Devices

Healthcare: Pricing and Reimbursement

Intellectual Property

Patent Prosecution

Patent Strategy and Management

General Patent Litigation

Hatch-Waxman Litigation (Branded)

Hatch-Waxman Litigation (Generic)

Finance & Transactional


Mergers & Acquisitions

Licensing & Collaboration

Venture Capital

Non-IP Litigation
& Enforcement

Product Liability

Government Investigation


Life Cycle