When it comes to driving successful business development initiatives and gathering actionable competitive intelligence in the legal industry, access to legal data that’s been organized, structured, and normalized is a necessity.
We’re excited to share UniCourt’s CEO, Josh Blandi’s most recent article that was published in Above the Law. Josh’s article, “How Williams & Connolly Topped The Litigation Charts,” takes a deep dive into the litigation makeup of the top ranked law firm in UniCourt’s recently released TrueLaw Litigation Index — Williams & Connolly, LLP. More specifically, Josh’s article looks into the firm’s cases it handled in 2019 that made it rise above the rest of the competition to the litigation pole position, and gives a detailed breakdown of the top clients it represented, top jurisdictions it litigated in, top practice areas it handled, and its top federal litigators.
Here below is an excerpt from the introduction of Josh’s article:
Whether you’re a law firm wanting to size up the competition and scope out potential business opportunities, a legal department wanting to know more about the experience and bench strength of your panel firms against other firms, or a legal recruiting firm looking for the next rainmaker lateral partner, legal data can provide deep insights to augment and direct your decision making.
To continue our mission of improving access to legal data and to show the power of data for legal professionals across the legal services and legal support spectrum, UniCourt recently released our inaugural TrueLaw Litigation Index – 2019 Law Firm Ranking.
Based purely on court data from PACER that’s been organized, cleaned, and normalized with artificial intelligence and other public data sets, the TrueLaw Litigation Index features the top 200 civil litigation law firms across all U.S. District Courts for all practice areas.
In this article, we’ll take a deep dive into the top ranking law firm for all of 2019 — white-shoe, D.C.-based Williams & Connolly, LLP — looking at the breakdown of the firm’s cases, the inside story of how it topped the litigation charts last year in federal District Court, and who its top clients were across different industries.
The Williams & Connolly Story
Recognized internationally as one of the world’s premier litigation powerhouses, the law firm that professional services firms “turn to when they’re in trouble,” and as the firm that has represented the interests of previous Presidents including Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama, it comes as no surprise that Williams & Connolly topped out as the most active law firm in federal trial courts across the U.S.
What is surprising, however, is that of the firm’s 4,438 cases it handled last year, 4,347 were representing one single client: BP, and more specifically, BP America Production Company and BP Exploration & Production, Inc. What’s more surprising, is that one single rainmaker at the firm, Kevin M. Hodges, handled all of these BP cases, which stem from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill that happened a little over a decade ago.
The cases that Hodges has litigated on behalf of BP have spanned across the Southeast, with the lion’s share of cases being filed in Louisiana, Florida, and Mississippi. Here below is a breakdown of the top 10 jurisdictions where Williams & Connolly handled cases for all of its different clients in 2019:
- Eastern District of Louisiana: 2970
- Northern District of Florida: 674
- Southern District of Mississippi: 444
- Southern District of Florida: 106
- Southern District of Texas: 99
- Middle District of Florida: 26
- Southern District of California: 22
- Western District of Louisiana: 14
- Southern District of Alabama: 13
- Southern District of New York: 11
To add to the intrigue of our first TrueLaw Litigation Index report, it’s worth noting that last year’s runner up, Nations Law Firm, is the plaintiff firm that filed nearly all of the 4,000-plus lawsuits against BP that were defended by Williams & Connolly. Further, the third-, fourth-, and fifth-placed firms, Liskow & Lewis, Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP, and Maron Marvel Bradley Anderson & Tardy LLC, also defended BP against the litigation brought by Nations Law Firm, which accounted for the overwhelming majority of their caseloads in federal court.
Because these firms are still going toe-to-toe in District Courts this year, we will closely track this growing body of litigation involving BP.
You can read the full article here on Above the Law.