Report reveals ‘most feared’ law firms

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Who knew lawyers could be so scary? 😱

US foursome Quinn Emanuel, Kirkland & Ellis, Jones Day, and Skadden are apparently amongst the “most feared” law firms to come up against in litigation, according to a survey.

Researchers from BTI consulting group asked top legal decision makers to single out the firms they didn’t want to see on the other side of the table in a dispute.

As part of this, the group also identified a number of qualities that make these firms just sooooo damn scary. This, according to BTI, includes the ability to bring “great courage in the face of high risk, danger, and uncharted waters”.

The 2023 Legal Cheek Firms Most List

Not content with just ranking firms by fearsomeness, researchers also compiled a list of “intimidating opponents”. This apparently includes Cleary Gottlieb, Dechert, DLA Piper, Goodwin Procter, Sidley Austin and White & Case.

You can check out the full list here.

In 2020, Quinn Emanuel drew criticism from some lawyers on social media for an advert in which it suggested its opponents “dread” facing their litigators in court.

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Carter-Ruck and Schillings must be FURIOUS.



So true, anyone working in disputes is aware that Carter Ruck are known for being Rottweilers.


More like a miniature Toy Poodle

LMAO 😀 😀 😀


Lord Gnome

Spelling error – Carter-Fuck



Farter-Fuck my dear boy, with particular emphasis on the latter.


Cocklecarrot J

Correction: Farter-Fuck


Archibald Pomp O'City

Leave the funnies to me, little man.



What funnies?


Lord Fairy

I thought it was “Farter Cuck”?


Anonymous Litigation NQ

Lol. BTI is a US headquarted organisation and it follows that 95% of these are US firms (litigation is also far more intense/adversarial in the States).

No decent lawyer worth their salt ‘fears’ the other side. They know the exact same law and procedure you do. This is purely a PR/ego boosting exercise.



Lol seriously. Imagine putting DLA on this list and not HSF or FBD.



When you are an NQ, you might think that being a good litigator means knowing the Civil Procedure Rules inside out.

No! That is not what makes a great litigator and isn’t really what clients are paying you for.


Anonymous Litigation NQ


Well duh, of course there is more to it than that, but not much more. This isnt the wacky US system with repeated ‘objections’ and all that nonsense.

I was stressing that there is no point in ‘fearing’ the other side. Thats just lame.


Kirkland NQ

The lesson here is when you dial in to a Zoom meeting from your Lambo, casually revving her when your counter party tries to speak, you will create fear.


Not Kirkland NQ

I bloody love Kirkland NQ.


Reality check

Interesting that the two major UK litigation practices (HSF and Freshfields) aren’t on this. One doesn’t need fear to win, presumably…



I mean, US firms for the most part don’t do litigation or have very small practices in London. For example, Sidley has 2 litigation partners (and another service “partner”), Goodwin has 2 litigation partners (and another service “partner” i.e. glorified senior associate). Neither has any reputation in the London litigation market. Cleary has 3 partners, and 1 service. No rep.

Firms like Linklaters have litigation teams of thousands. I don’t know if the people in the article think that Goodwin is a human sized duck, but I’d much rather fight a human sized duck than 1000 ducks. And litigators are more like pigeons that poo all over you from above. You’d lose that fight 9 times out of 10.


A person who can undertake fairly basic levels of research

Hahahahaha. Incorrect.


Magic Circle 2PQE

Not being funny but how on earth are Sidley and Goodwin on the list of intimidating opponents??? Worked opposite Goodwin’s London team (if you call three people a team) a few times and they were shocking. Couldn’t believe how slow they were for a US firm.

Pretty sure litigators at US firms are just people who didn’t want to slave away in corporate so just pull 9-5s and pick up easy paycheques.


Chicken Litigator

Even when I cross the road I do it to get to the other side.

Surely I should be on this list?



The thing “most feared” about these firms is the pointless letters they send to the other side on Friday evenings in an attempt to be “aggressive”.



Not surprised Quinn top this list. Their litigators are the definition of high testosterone alpha males.


Avoid that firm at all costs

LMAO they’re two bit jokers with 2:2s from City University. Quinn is a total jokeshop.



DWF are the titans of intimidation – the best work in the city on the worst salary. That is commitment.



I think some firms don’t realise quite how silly the tenor of their correspondence looks when put under the microscope of a court hearing. Nine times out of ten the firm whose correspondence is direct but measured comes out of the litigation better than the shouty Wolf of Wall Street types who just rack up costs by being rude to their opposing numbers.

Then it all comes to counsel for the trial who have to take the heat out of the matter and actually cooperate with opposing counsel. Of course, there are exceptions, but again aggressive counsel tend to be less effective than reasonable counsel… and there are exceptions to that, and everyone hates the very few aggressive but good barristers!



I’d like to know – are these the firms people “fear” coming up against because they know they’re going to be aggressive / a total pain in the arse to deal with, or because they genuinely think they are good lawyers who will ultimately win the case?


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