Initially created as an intellectual property law newsletter, Law360 is a well-known news service owned by LexisNexis. The company publishes legal news daily on Law360.com as well as reports, rankings, and databases.
Fittingly, the company offers awards in most practice areas, although not all of these awards are offered every year. Some of the more popular and consistent awards are Rising Stars (for lawyers under 40), Practice Groups of the Year, and Titans of the Plaintiffs Bar. MVPs of the Year is another major Law360 award, which recognizes attorneys who’ve made significant contributions to their practice area. MVPs is not limited to litigators, and the award covers almost 45 practice areas.
Why You Should Apply (And Why You Shouldn’t)
It’s 100% free to apply for Law360 awards, and the judging process, which is handled by Law360 staff, seems to be fair (albeit not as comprehensive as an award like Chambers). If you have big wins in the last year and the time to put together the nomination, there’s no real downside to applying.
One thing to note is that Law360 looks at submissions from a news perspective. Every winner gets an article published on Law360.com, and reporters want to write about larger-than-life lawyers and juicy cases. As such, there might be a slight preference for lawyers who are able to write their submissions in a compelling way, even if they haven’t achieved the most significant wins. And lawyers with highly sensitive caseloads are essentially shut out of the competition—while confidential matters can be included in your nomination, Law360 says “submissions with most or all matters labeled confidential are unlikely to be chosen,” since reporters can’t write about them.
Law 360 MVPs of the Year Award Overview
Applications Due (typically): Historically, applications have opened in August and been due in September, but recently Law360 has moved the deadline up a month. Keep an eye on Law360’s annual editorial calendar, which is released in December for the upcoming year, for updates.
Recipients Notified (typically): Winners are generally notified about a month after the submission deadline, with the results going public a month after that.
Award Recipients: This award is intended for individual attorneys or pairs of attorneys who work together. You can nominate an unlimited number of attorneys from the same firm, but no more than two attorneys from the same practice group (so, if your firm has three practice groups, you can submit a total of six lawyers, two from each group).
Annual Award: Yes, this award is offered every year. Law360 will consider nominees who’ve won previously; however, if you were previously selected, you cannot include the same matters in your application for the following year. Law360 will only credit you for repeated matters if there have been significant developments or wins during the year between your submissions.
Estimated Cost: No application fees and minimal paid marketing.
Award Recognition Promotion Options:
- Newsletter/Digital Magazine Inclusion: Yes
- Physical Magazine promotions: No
- Plaques: No
- Physical Awards: No
- Press Release Options: No
- Directory Inclusion: No
- Additional Advertising Options: No
- Branded Bragging rights: Winners get a branded PDF copy of their Law360 profile, which they can print, share, and link to on their website and social media profiles.
- Expertise: Law360 accepts submissions from attorneys in about 30 major practice areas, and per their FAQ page, “attorneys of all kinds are encouraged to submit if they are strong in the practice area.” Nominations are open to litigators and deals lawyers, with no preference for one or the other.
- Years of Legal Experience: There is no requirement for years of legal experience, though you must have recent, significant wins under your belt to have a shot at winning. The good news for younger lawyers is that you don’t have to be a partner to apply, and judges only consider your work over the last year. If you don’t have many years of experience total, but you’ve had impressive wins in the last calendar year, you have a real chance of being selected.
- Limit on # of Attorneys Nominated from Firm?: There is no total limit, but Law360 will only consider two lawyers from the same practice group at the same firm. Therefore, a small firm with no practice groups could submit up to two lawyers, while a megafirm with 10 practice groups could submit up to 20 lawyers. The same attorney can submit multiple applications for different practice areas, but each application must be unique.
- Case Results/Outcomes? You can include summaries of up to five major cases from the last year, and these will factor heavily in the judging process. Law360 says outright they’re looking for lawyers with the biggest wins. Although you can include ongoing cases, judges give preference to matters that are more final. Feel free to include settlements, but make sure to explain clearly why that was a favorable outcome for your client.
- Recommendations/Nominations? The MVPs application is available to anyone. You do not need to be nominated by an outside party. You don’t have to provide a list of references, either.
- Other? Take note that you should not include anything confidential in your application. Law360 regards everything in your submission as “on the record,” and editors may use that information in your profile.
How to Win
Unlike other awards, Law360 lays out exactly what nominees need to do to win over the judges. The publication offers an extensive list of frequently asked questions for each of the awards it offers. Per the FAQs, the most important thing a nominee can do is tell the judges why their cases matter. It’s not enough to win. Did the case change an industry? Was there a significant challenge you had to overcome? Did the case set a legal precedent? That’s what the judges really want to hear.
Thankfully, the application itself isn’t super extensive. You can include up to five case summaries, no more than 250 words each, plus a short, 500-word essay explaining what sets you apart from your peers. The trick is to convey your success in just a few hundred words.
The Bottom Line
Law360’s awards are genuine, though there might be a slight preference for colorful writers. MVPs (or any other Law360 award) is worth a shot if you’ve had a particularly good year; you aren’t barred by client confidentiality, and you can write a compelling nomination about yourself.