National News

Special Reports

THE NLJ 350

Last year marked the biggest headcount gains for lawyers at the nation's 350 largest firms since 2009 — the year firms slashed their ranks in response to the recession.

IPHL 2014

The 2014 IP Hot List: Life on the Cutting Edge

The NLJ received dozens of nominations for our annual list of the hottest IP firms, and many of our chosen 20 rank among the most venerable in the country.

midsize bug

The 2014 Midsize Hot List

The National Law Journal spotlights 20 law firms from across the country that are succeeding at a time when many of their bigger competitors are struggling amid high headcounts and overhead.

Top L-R: Seth Waxman, Karen Gaunt, Scott Shean<br />Bottom L-R: Charles Mullaney, Matthew Reilly, Kent Baldauf, Kathy Patrick

Counsel to Counsel

By Lisa Hoffman |

Seven general counsel describe the pivotal contributions made by the outside counsel they recruited for their blockbuster litigation wins and deals.

Legal Education's Diversity Deficit

National minority enrollment has made only modest gains in the last decade.

Alternative Energy bug

Alternative Energy: A Special Report

While everyone was getting excited about hydraulic fracking, alternative-energy development got hot again. In this special report, we examine two vehicles being used to finance smart energy developments.

Washington bug

Washington In-House Legal Departments of the Year

The National Law Journal spotlights D.C. in-house legal teams that are ahead of the pace in outside counsel management, corporate compliance, diversity in the profession, pro bono service and in handling really big deals.

Banning the Box: Tread Lightly When Conducting Background Checks

The trend toward prison and criminal sentencing reform has implications for employers, as states and local ­governments begin to restrict the use of criminal background checks in hiring.

Colorado In-House Legal Departments of the Year

The National Law Journal spotlights Colorado in-house legal teams that are setting standards in outside counsel management, corporate compliance, diversity in the profession, pro bono service and in handling really big deals.

Compliance: A Special Report

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission is undertaking a major review of the disclosure requirements for public companies, opening an opportunity to home in on material information of true value to investors.

The Fracas Over Fracking

As energy companies push to expand extraction of oil and natural gas through hydraulic fracturing, we consider some of the legal angles in this special section.

Top Verdicts of 2013: Lag in IP Awards Pegged to Federal Circuit Ruling

For the first time in years, intellectual property cases contributed no billion-dollar jury verdicts in 2013. In fact, IP recoveries decreased significantly both in number and in dollar amount when compared with 2012.

Chicago's In-House Legal Departments of the Year

The in-house legal teams that are setting the standard in corporate compliance, deal work, diversity and more.

Health Care: A Special Report

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act remains the big news for health care practitioners, and we explore two aspects of the law in this special report — how it could expand access to mental health care and how employers can take advantage of a reprieve from the legal mandate to provide health insurance. We also examine the long struggle to ensure equal access to medical trials for women and minority groups.

Plaintiffs' Hot List

The firms on this year's list landed groundbreaking verdicts, negotiated big settlements and, in many cases, paved the way for the resolution of other disputes.

The Go-To Law Schools

Our annual report on the law schools that supply the largest numbers of new associates to NLJ 250 law firms.

Legal Departments of the Year: Minneapolis-St. Paul

For the first time, The National Law Journal recognizes leading in-house legal departments of companies based in the twin-city region of Minneapolis-St. Paul.

From Oscar Parties to 'Inter Partes'

We range widely in this look at the state of intellectual property law, beginning with the legal complications attorneys need to consider when negotiating endorsement deals with the stars. We also investigate the renewed respect being paid to the "indefiniteness" defense against business-method patents. Finally, "inter partes" review — an attempt to streamline patent disputes — may in some cases make the process more difficult.

Litigation Boutiques Hot List

At the 10 law firms spotlighted here, it's all about skill, not size. The lawyers at these litigation shops, all of which have fewer than 51 attorneys, are as clever at practicing on paper as they are at wooing a jury. Many of these lawyers have honed their craft at the biggest and best firms in the nation and have opted, once they've gained crucial work experience, for a small-firm career. We've highlighted the special strategies and creative approaches they used in 2013 to help set precedent, right wrongs and save the day for the client.

Innovations in Law Firm Technology

The past few years have been momentous for law firms and their use of technology. In the electronic discovery area alone, innovations including predictive coding have found acceptance by the courts.

Pro Bono Hot List

Behind some of the biggest news stories of 2013 — same-sex marriage, the Boston Marathon bombing and New York's stop-and-frisk policy — you'll find top attorneys who donated hundreds of hours to people in need of legal services. In this year's pro bono report, you'll also see a continuing trend: corporate lawyers volunteering their time to nonprofit causes, a new array of practitioners ready to help those in need.

2013 year in review

Shutdowns and Showdowns

2013 was the year that made the legal, judicial and political scenarios in "The Good Wife," "Homeland" or "House of Cards" look, well, plausible.

E-Discovery & Technology

Handling E-Discovery Amid Tech Innovation and Global Expansion

Evolving privacy and confidentiality laws — here and abroad — are making the e-discovery process more delicate than ever. Caught unaware, businesses and the lawyers who serve them can run afoul of the rules and land on the losing side of the law.

Abortion Ruling Fuels Debate

Late last week, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit reinstated provisions in the Texas law requiring abortion providers to have admitting privileges in nearby hospitals. An appeal to the lower court’s ruling is pending. These two opinion pieces were written before the appeals court made its ruling.

Digging In

Invigorated exploration for more resources is delivering plenty of work to the legal industry. Our report highlights changes in the law of importance to the attorneys who handle the matters.

Closed Until Further Notice

For the first time since 1996, the U.S. government has ground to a halt. The House of Representatives and the Senate are at odds over funding and all signs point to a continuing bitter fight. The National Law Journal and its sister publications at ALM will provide coverage throughout the shutdown.

Who Represents Corporate America

Our annual survey of the law firms that work for the nation's largest companies takes a global focus.

The Best of the Plaintiffs Bar

These 19 firms are at the cutting edge of plaintiffs' work — and are giving defense players a run for their money.

INSIDE WASHINGTON

Our annual report on law firms and lobbying shops in the nation's capital.

THE 2013 HILL HOT LIST

From budget battles and antitrust to privacy and immigration, lawyers on Capitol Hill play critical roles in research, oversight and shaping legislation. Meet a dozen congressional legal stars.

Law Schools Get Down to Business

Finance and accounting, management, leadership and entrepreneurship — all components of a business education, not a legal one, right? Not anymore. A growing number of law schools are borrowing a page from the MBA playbook and adding courses intended to give students a foundation in business, in addition to the law.

L.A. Law

In this report, The National Law Journal recognizes top legal departments and their general counsel at companies in the Southern California region.

Peak Position

From key practice areas and diversity in the bar, to growth strategy and billing arrangements, Washington managing partners give their observations—from the top.

A Region on the Rebound

Boston's biotech industry is steadily gaining strength, and Portland's alternative energy and tourism sectors are serving that city well. But in areas outside the cities, places where small firms and solo lawyers practice, potential clients are cash-strapped. The upshot for region: movement, ever so slowly, in the right direction.

Boston's Best

We recognize the Boston area's top corporate legal departments — the ones setting the standard in pro bono service, use of technology, management of outside counsel and more.

Winning: Top Litigators Tell Their Stories

Some of the nation's best litigators tell how they prevailed in big cases against the odds.

D.C. Deal Makers of the Year

Washington lawyers tackled some of the most notable transactions in the country last year in an array of industries, navigating complex mergers and acquisitions, real estate deals and project financing.

The Windy City's Litigation Rainmakers

This week, we train our sights on litigation shops in Chicago—the city that brought us the skyscraper, Muddy Waters, Playboy and Ebony, and McDonald’s. Oh, and a heck of a lot of legal talent.

The Midwest Report: Surveying the Heartland

Across the nation's midsection, the terrain is distinctly uneven. Detroit's recent bankruptcy underscores the legal industry's difficulties there, especially since local law firms expect big outside firms to grab most of the legal work. Chicago, on the other hand, demonstrates strong signs of an improving economy. We've tracked those markets and others in this analysis of the successes and struggles throughout the Midwest.