US News and World Report will launch a new annual listing of the nation’s 3,000 largest law firms. The rankings will combine hard data with results from surveys sent to tens of thousands of private practice attorneys, clients and law firm employees.
A law firm scorecard is sure to generate considerable fear and loathing, just as the magazine's well-known college rankings have done for years.
Two years ago a dozen university presidents went so far as to send a letter to hundreds of liberal arts colleges urging them to not complete US News’ "offensive" survey of institutional reputations, which accounts for the largest percentage of each school’s score.
"Reputation can be another word for gossip," Washington State Trinity University’s president said at the time. People being surveyed, she said, had no personal knowledge or experience with all of the colleges they were asked to rank.
"This is not a survey that has integrity based on objective data," she argued to media that would listen. "We are saying that we will not engage in slandering each other’s institutions or inflating each other."
No doubt many law firms will have a similar reaction to being rated based in large part on the input of competitors, bad clients and other people with agendas to pursue.
. . . . . . . . . .
To my attorney friends: What do you think of all this? What are your PR people going to do to either stop it, ignore it or make sure you get to the top of the list? What's the sense of urgency? Drop me a note. I'll stay on it.