Wednesday, November 2, 2005

Does LawDragon Have No Standards?

First comes the publicity-seeking stunt of identifying the nation's top 500 lawyers based on no discernible criteria, then comes this e-mail from the publisher to me:

Dear Professor Leiter,

I’m delighted to inform you that you were recently nominated by your peers for one of the nation’s most prestigious honors for lawyers, the Lawdragon 500.

Fewer than 1 percent of the nation’s 1.1 million lawyers, judges and academics are selected for the Lawdragon guide to the nation’s leading legal minds [i.e., some 10,000 different people were nominated by someone!]. The Lawdragon 500 is based on three months of interviews with clients and peers conducted by a reporting staff with 100 years experience reporting on lawyers.

As you have reported, we recently published the first Lawdragon magazine, featuring 500 individuals selected for our Lawdragon guide. As a result of being nominated as a member of the Lawdragon 500, you will be featured at our website,, the nation’s first online guide to lawyers that provides client input and ratings.

We would appreciate if you could take a moment to complete the form at the following link to ensure we have accurate information about your specialty. Please hit the submit button when you have completed it and within a few days your information will be posted at our site with your designation as a Lawdragon 500 nominee....

Should you have any questions or desire additional information about our company, please don’t hesitate to call me. We are also working on our next issue, which will be released in late December: the Lawdragon 500 Leading Judges in America guide. If you know of public or private judges who should be considered for this honor, please contact me or the editor of our magazine....

Congratulations again on your excellence and contributions to the nation’s law practice. We’re proud to include you among our honorees.

I will not be submitting my information.  And hopefully LawDragon will find better things to write about in the months and years ahead.

(It may prove an amusing measure of the vanity of law professors to see how many of my colleagues respond to this solicitation to submit information--presumably they're the same folks who pay to be listed in Who's Who in America!)

UPDATE:  A colleague elsewhere writes:

One tangential comment to your recent Law blog posting.  One does not pay to be listed in any of “Who’s Who” myriad books.  The “scam,” such as it is, is enticing the thousands who are listed to buy an overpriced plaque, or a useless volume listing their names. 

Point of full disclosure:  I have allowed my entry to be included in some of these books, and even take a few minutes to update it when it is sent to me.  But I have never purchased one of the books or plaques or in any way sent money to the organization.  (And I will admit to being amused when I see colleagues who put their Who’s Who listings – books and years –prominently on their c.v.’s.  Though I guess the distinctions of levels of vanity and silliness here, between them and me, might be objectively small.)

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