It has been done in the health service, the media and the City. Professionals — lawyers included — are increasingly victims of league tables. So braving the ire of that most litigious of groups, today The Times Law section offers its own list.
Our Law 100 aims to be different: it is not a list of excellence, popularity or media mentions — although these can be factors. So it’s not just big names or brilliant stars (take comfort, those excluded). Instead, we tried to select the most powerful and influential within the law today — in the judiciary, private practice, in-house, public sector or politics.
How to measure power and influence — who really has clout? Should all senior judges automatically make the list? We agreed that there had to be both power and influence: some people hold powerful positions but their influence may be minimal. Conversely some judges or top lawyers make little impact.
Power and influence in the law goes beyond the judiciary. Who are the driving forces at the big City law firms, the generators of billion-pound revenues — the dealmakers who command most respect? And is the in-house solicitor, with power to bring a test case, more powerful than the barristers who win it or the judge who decides it? And what of those in the backrooms, the unseen lawyers driving the policy cogs of government?
We had in mind such factors as whether contenders can influence public or political opinion, or the strategy or policy of a big firm, company or government; whether they can shape or apply the law in a way that affects many people; whether they are respected, feared or emulated or contributed to the strength and quality of UK legal services.