Relaxing whilst doing Competition Law is not an Oxymoron

Archive for April 5th, 2010

Ranking the rankings

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A few weeks ago, featured an article echoing the controversy surrounding U.S. News’ (a magazine that has traditionally ranked law schools in the US) announcement that it would start ranking law firms. Soon after the announcement was made, the American Bar Association passed a resolution committing to examine the methodology employed by several rankings. It is reported that opponents to the resolution claimed it could constitute an antitrust violation, but that’s not the issue I wanted to touch upon.

Law firm rankings are certainly very good sources of information and, as illustrated by market entries, quite possibly a profitable business (not really surprising: I would invest in any industry where lawyers’ egos were one of the possible sources of revenue!).

I tend to believe that rankings do their job thoroughly, but I confess that sometimes I’ve come up with rankings of particular firms or lawyers that I didn’t quite understand (at least not solely by reference to their real merits or their alleged lack of merits). My disagreement with specific issues is hardly surprising since we all probably have a different idea of how an ideal ranking would look like. Nonetheless, I suspect we could find some common ground in determining which rankings contain more “surprising features” overall.

All this brings to mind a question that I heard many times from a brilliant, well-ranked, Brussels-based partner: when will someone rank the rankings?

(Image possibly subject to copyright: source here

Written by Alfonso Lamadrid

5 April 2010 at 5:02 am

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