Biglaw, Rankings

Most Influential Lawyers of the Aughts

Today, the National Law Journal lets us in on an ambitious project. The publication has tried to identify the 40 most influential lawyers of the decade. The 40 people they came up with are relatively well known to the general Above the Law readership, but they won’t be household names to your lay-friends:

The list spans law firms, academia, government and advocacy groups, but, consciously subtracts a few obvious categories: Members of the Supreme Court and attorneys general, for instance, are generally influential by definition, and they are not included here.

The NLJ was looking for lawyers that don’t get their name in the mainstream media every day:

Instead, we have focused upon lawyers in the following specific practices: antitrust; appellate; bankruptcy; civil rights; corporate; energy and environmental; in-house; intellectual property; labor and employment; legal education; litigation; and regulatory. In other words, we’re primarily focusing on hard-working lawyers who’ve been in the trenches on big deals or major litigation or who have been pioneering at in-house positions or the nation’s law schools.

So, who made the cut?

The NLJ picked their influential lawyers across 12 different categories. We think you’ll be particularly interested in the classic Biglaw practices: general corporate and general litigation.

Here are the three corporate lawyers that made the cut:


* H. Rodgin Cohen, Sullivan & Cromwell
* Edward Herlihy, Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz
* Jeffrey Rosen, Debevoise & Plimpton

No surprises there. Let’s look at NLJ’s influential litigators:


* Patrick Fitzgerald, U.S. Attorney’s Office, Northern District of Illinois
* Mark Lanier, the Lanier Law Firm
* Brendan Sullivan Jr., Williams & Connolly
* Theodore Wells Jr., Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison

Go Pat Fitzgerald. You show Milorad Blagojevich who’s the boss.

Oh, and just for good measure, let’s take a look at the legal educators who ruled the decade just ended:


* Lawrence Lessig, Harvard Law School
* David Van Zandt, Northwestern University School of Law
* Elizabeth Warren, Harvard Law School

I’ll tell you what, that Elizabeth Warren is hot right now. Really hot. She could easily be on this list, two decades in a row.

Click on the link below to see the full top 40.

The Decade’s Most Influential Lawyers [National Law Journal]

(hidden for your protection)

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