Everything is bigger in Texas, including legal awards. With a larger variety of prestigious awards than most other states, opportunities abound for Texas lawyers working across all practice areas. And these awards aren’t just for show: the credibility and publicity they provide can have a seriously positive effect on your client roster and bottom line.
If you’re ready to see the possibilities that legal awards offer, we’ve rounded up the top five nominations for lawyers in Texas. This list is specific to the Lone Star State, but if you’re looking for more national recognition (or if you practice somewhere else), check our mega list of all lawyer awards to find one that best fits your practice and goals. We also don’t include national legal directories like Best Lawyers, but note that these directories are typically split up by state or region and have plenty of opportunities for Texans.
Texas Trailblazers | Texas Lawyer: Texas Trailblazers is a special supplement in Texas Lawyer magazine that honors attorneys who significantly impacted their practice area or policy. Since the criteria is fairly broad, this is a great option for any lawyer in private practice in Texas, including young lawyers and those working in practice areas not often eligible for awards. Note that this award isn’t offered every year, so you’ll have to stay updated by checking the Trailblazers award calendar.
Who’s Eligible: All lawyers practicing in Texas.
Applications Typically Due: Usually in the summer.
Categories Typically Include: One category open to lawyers of all practice areas.
Texas Legal Awards (TXLA): Also known as the Texas Lawyer Professional Excellence awards, the Texas Legal Awards are an awards program sponsored by Texas Lawyer magazine and Law.com. With awards specific to large and small firms, women lawyers, rising stars, and in-house counsel (to name a few), there is a category for virtually every lawyer at every stage of practice. Awards are competitive, but honorees earn serious bragging rights, a magazine profile, and recognition at a glitzy awards ceremony.
Who’s Eligible: Judges and attorneys in private practice as well as in-house counsel.
Applications Typically Due: In the summer. Results are announced at an awards ceremony held in the fall.
Categories Typically Include: There are a wide variety of categories, including:
- Litigation Departments of the Year (Midsize and Small)
- Lifetime Achievement
- Attorney of the Year
- On the Rise
- Best Mentors
- Top Women in IP
- Most Effective Deal-Makers
- Diversity and Inclusion Champion
- Legal Innovators
- In-House Impact
- Women in Energy
Pro Bono Awards - Texas State Bar: This is the premier award for Texas lawyers and legal advocates who represent indigent clients and people with limited access to the legal system. Being nominated isn’t as simple as it is for other awards: nominees cannot nominate themselves, and nominators must complete an extensive application. This award is competitive and typically goes only to professionals in the later stages of their careers who are active in the State Bar of Texas. But if you’re eligible, it’s an excellent award to receive.
Who’s Eligible: Lawyers, legal advocates, support staff, organizations, and other legal professionals who work on a pro-bono basis.
Applications Typically Due: In February, with awards presented at the Texas Bar Annual Meeting in June.
Categories Typically Include: Awards are divided into the Pro Bono Excellence Awards, which honor people and organizations that provide legal services to the poor, and the Indigent Defense Awards, which focus on criminal matters.
Texas Verdicts Hall of Fame: A subset of the Texas Legal Awards, the Texas Verdicts Hall of Fame is based purely on the numbers: the awards go to the firms that secured the five largest verdicts of the year. That significantly limits the nominee pool, making eligibility and the nomination process much more straightforward than other awards. If you’ve scored a significant verdict (generally eight-plus figures), give this one a shot.
Who’s Eligible: Firms that have secured big verdicts for clients.
Applications Typically Due: Sometime in the summer.
Categories Typically Include: Contracts, intellectual property, intentional torts, motor vehicle, and worker/workplace negligence.
Texas Super Lawyers Top List / Top 10 Super Lawyers in Texas: Super Lawyers is a well-known national name, but it also offers a series of awards specific to Texas lawyers. Awards are automatically given to lawyers who earn the highest numerical scores during the Super Lawyers vetting process. That makes the nomination process exceedingly easy: if you fill out your Super Lawyers profile, you’ll be considered with no additional work. Super Lawyers does pester applicants to buy marketing solutions, such as enhanced online profiles and magazine features, but these are optional and do not influence your application.
Who’s Eligible: All Texas Lawyers in private practice.
Applications Typically Due: Generally in December. Results are announced the following fall.
Categories Typically Include: Top 100 and Top 10, with additional categories for women, up-and-coming lawyers, and lawyers in Houston, Dallas/Fort Worth, and Central/West Texas.
Applying for legal awards takes a bit of time and commitment, but winning makes it worthwhile. Clients want the most skilled lawyer on their side, and what better way to prove your skill than with an award naming you the best of the bunch? In a state that looms as large as Texas, awards can be the differentiating factor that sets you apart.