Skip to content
Thomson Reuters Institute

Podcast: What makes someone a Stand-out Lawyer?

Gina Jurva  MANAGER, THOUGHT LEADERSHIP, CORPORATE & GOVERNMENT, THOMSON REUTERS

Gina Jurva  MANAGER, THOUGHT LEADERSHIP, CORPORATE & GOVERNMENT, THOMSON REUTERS

A new podcast on the Thomson Reuters Institute Market Insights channel features a conversation with Lisa Hart Shepherd, Vice President of Research & Advisory Services and Founder of Acritas, a unit of Thomson Reuters.

What makes someone stand out as an exceptional attorney in private practice? Is it their courtroom savvy? Is it their knack for writing persuasive briefs? Perhaps it is their interpersonal communication skills and attention to detail that provide clients with the best possible service.

Whether you are a lawyer, a barrister, an advocate, a counselor, or a solicitor, there are certain key traits which makes someone shine above the rest as a stellar lawyer.

Acritas, part of Thomson Reuters, has been tracking that data since 2013, conducting annual market studies with in-house legal departments to gain a treasure trove of data to help law firms and legal services providers develop strategies that can enable them to gain competitive advantage.

The Stand-Out Talent report

The methodology behind the 4th annual global study, the Acritas Stellar Performance: A Survey of Stand-out Talent Report 2020, is simple. Speaking with a group of global, senior in-house at large organizations, the Acritas team asks them to nominate attorneys at their outside law firms who provide exceptional performance. Those individual lawyers nominated are among the most highly regarded by clients around the world and are known as “Star Lawyers.”

Acritas then speaks with the individually nominated, private practice Star Lawyers to learn what makes these people such stand-out attorneys. This process further explores the way lawyers work is changing and uncovers how firms need to evolve to be able to thrive and adapt in the future. There were 2,240 attorneys from 60 countries, representing 544 law firms, who responded to the most recent survey.

In a new podcast on the Thomson Reuters Institute Market Insights channelLisa Hart Shepherd, Vice President of Research & Advisory Services, and Founder of Acritas Thomson Reuters, discusses the findings of the study with Gina Jurva, attorney and manager of enterprise content for corporate counsel and government at Thomson Reuters.


You can listen to the full podcast interview with Lisa Hart Shepherd here.


The podcast specifically discusses two important aspects of the survey: i) the growing importance of cross-border collaboration in a global legal marketplace; and ii) the importance of law firm diversity. In fact, individual lawyers surveyed indicated they care a great deal about diversity, giving an average 8.3 out of 10 for its importance.

While much of this data was collected in February, prior to the COVID-19 outbreak, the Acritas team followed up with a pulse survey in April to discover how well-supported the Star Lawyers felt by their firms at that time. In continuation of this, Acritas is exploring four main areas of investigation in their summer survey:

  • Pre-COVID-19 working practices;
  • Changing working practices during crisis;
  • Ideal working practices; and
  • Professional well-being.

Acritas then cross-analyzes the findings with the results from the in-house counsel survey to identify data correlations and provide valuable insights.

More answers