Biglaw litigators are to be feared in general, but certain Biglaw litigation departments strike fear into the hearts of their opponents like no others. BTI Consulting Group recently polled 240 in-house lawyers to determine which Biglaw firms they dread “see[ing] as lead opposing counsel in a litigation case.” Each year, after culling through all of the survey results, BTI names the “Fearsome Foursome” — the most-feared litigation firms in the country.

This year, while two litigation powerhouses remained on the list, two prominent Biglaw firms were edged out by other worthy victors. Another 15 firms were honored as “Awesome Opponents.”

So which Biglaw firms are the most feared when it comes to litigation? Let’s check out the latest rankings….

Before we get to nation’s most-feared firms, let’s check out BTI’s rankings methodology (courtesy of Law 360):

The BTI report is based on more than 3,400 interviews conducted over 12 years, the consulting group said. The analysis contained in the 2013 outlook study is based on more than 350 new interviews with top legal counsel at major companies conducted between late March and early August of this year.

Without further ado, here are the new Fearsome Foursome:

New to the list are Boies Schiller and Jones Day, replacing Quinn Emanuel and Latham & Watkins from last year’s report. It’s worth noting that both BSF and Jones Day are nearly matched in terms of prestige on the most recent Vault Law Firm Rankings. (Too bad for QE. Did the Apple/Samsung litigation leave a bad taste in corporate counsels’ mouths?)

In an interview with Law 360 (sub. req.), BTI President Michael Rynowecer attributed the addition of Boies Schiller and Jones Day to the list to both firms becoming “more aggressive” and “more pointed in their approach.” Or, in the alternative, BSF’s inclusion on the list could be due to the remarkable leadership of David Boies, while Jones Day could chalk it up to the firm’s victories in many high-profile cases.

And it’s not just in-house counsel who think the Fearsome Foursome are top dogs. Here are some insider reviews from our very own Law Firm Directory:

Boies Schiller
“Absolutely amazing place to work – the quality of the work is really remarkable.”

Jones Day
“Conservatively managed and not flashy.”

Kirkland & Ellis
“The firm is home to brilliant people who work hard.”

Skadden Arps
“People have high expectations but are generally friendly and considerate.”

If the firms’ own associates are in awe of the work product being produced, just imagine what it looks like to outsiders. This is why these Biglaw giants made it to the top of the list to become the Fearsome Foursome.

The BTI report also named 15 firms as “Awesome Opponents,” additional firms that corporate counsel would prefer to steer clear of in litigation: Alston & Bird, Bartlit Beck, Cravath, Fish & Richardson, Goodwin Procter, Herbert Smith, Jenner & Block, Latham, Miller Canfield, Munger Tolles, Quinn Emanuel, Robins Kaplan, Sullivan & Cromwell, Wachtell Lipton, and Williams & Connolly.

So, readers, have the Fearsome Foursome and Awesome Opponents actually earned their titles? Can you think of a law firm that deserves to be recognized but hasn’t been? Please give us your thoughts.

Executive Summary of Litigation Outlook 2013: Changes, Trends and Opportunities for Law Firms
[BTI Consulting Group (PDF)]
Survey of in-house lawyers finds two Texas firms on list of most feared litigation firms [Tex Parte Blog]
4 Firms Feared Most By In-House Counsel [Law 360 (sub. req.)]


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