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Humans are born with 2 fears: the fear of falling and the fear of loud noises. All other fears are learned. You can agree with this or not. But one thing is true. Top legal decision makers learned to fear a select group of law firms—and don’t want to see them on the other side of the table.

Specifically, GCs point to 33 firms they don’t want to encounter. The top reasons:

Killer Instinct

With equal parts tenacity, sheer will, smarts, and intuition—combined with confidence, savvy, conviction, and the nerve to go for the jugular—these cutting-edge law firms bring the killer instinct clients want right now.

Thrive on Complexity

Uncertainty is at an all-time high. Clients face a surge in complex litigation as matters get bigger and focus on untested and thorny issues. Some firms offer options. The most feared firms offer clear direction—with conviction—and dive into the fray. They win—and simplify life for clients.

The Bench Is as Good as the Starters

Clients want strong, smart, and scalable teams. Clients know any seemingly benign matter can get out of hand—quickly. The most feared firms uniformly bring in high-level, top performers who can swiftly scale and operate as a team.

Read the Tea Leaves

The BTI Fearsome Foursome spot trends and patterns with less information than most. They rely on their experience, their peers, and their keen ability to integrate seemingly disparate facts and events.

There is more to being Fearsome—but this year, these 4 reasons above prevail.

Of the 33 law firms feared in litigation, 4 stand out as the absolute most feared:

The BTI Fearsome Foursome

Kirkland & Ellis
Latham & Watkins
Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan

Quinn Emanuel is ranked first among The BTI Fearsome Foursome 2020. We note Kirkland and Quinn are the only firms included in the BTI Fearsome Foursome all 10 years BTI has published the report.

10 firms are right behind the Fearsome Foursome—ready to take them on. Please join me in congratulating:

The BTI Awesome Opponents

Boies Schiller Flexner                                                  Morgan Lewis
Fish & Richardson                                                        Morrison & Foerster
Gibson Dunn                                                                Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz
Jones Day                                                                    Wheeler Trigg O’Donnell
McKool Smith                                                               Williams & Connolly

19 firms are part of the Fearsome Foursome Honor Roll:

Bartlit Beck                                                Ice Miller
Choate, Hall & Stewart                            Manko, Gold, Katcher & Fox
Covington                                                   Much
Cravath, Swaine & Moore                       Norton Rose Fulbright
Crowell & Moring                                     Reed Smith
Davis Polk                                                  Robbins Geller Rudman & Dowd
Dechert                                                       Susman Godfrey
Dentons                                                      Weil
Duane Morris                                            WilmerHale
Hogan Lovells

Being Fearsome is a big differentiator—especially in the face of record uncertainty. The more Fearsome your firm, the more you stand out to clients and to the other side. The Fearsome firms have nothing to fear.

Learn more about how your firm can take advantage of new client expectations and spending changes for 2020—and what your firm can do to put these trends to work for your immediate benefit:

  • Changes in client expectations causing them to consider fewer law firms than last year

  • When and where spending is going up in 17 industries—and where it’s headed down

  • New hiring requirements

  • 7 tactics to land new business in 7 areas of litigation

  • And so much more…

in the new BTI Litigation Outlook 2020: Changes, Trends and Opportunities for Law Firms. Available now.


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