Super Lawyers Magazine has named New Orleans criminal defense attorney Stephen Hébert to the Louisiana Super Lawyers list for 2015. Hébert began his private practice in July 2010 after gaining invaluable experience while working in the Orleans Parish District Attorney’s Office and at a highly regarded commercial litigation firm. While criminal defense comprises most of his practice, Hébert’s current practice areas include general civil litigation and plaintiff’s personal injury. Super Lawyers Magazine has previously recognized Hébert’s outstanding work as a criminal defense attorney, selecting him as a Rising Star in 2012 and 2013. Yet, this is Hébert’s first selection to the Louisiana Super Lawyers list.
Super Lawyers selects attorneys using a patented multiphase selection process. Peer nominations and evaluations are combined with third party research. Each candidate is evaluated on 12 indicators of peer recognition and professional achievement. Selections are made on an annual, state-by-state basis.
The objective is to create a credible, comprehensive and diverse listing of outstanding attorneys that can be used as a resource for attorneys and consumers searching for legal counsel. Since Super Lawyers is intended to be used as an aid in selecting a lawyer, Super Lawyers limits the lawyer ratings to those who can be hired and retained by the public (i.e.- lawyers in private practice and Legal Aid attorneys).
The Super Lawyers patented selection process involves three basic steps: creation of the candidate pool; evaluation of candidates by the research department; and peer evaluation by practice area.
Step One: Creation of the Candidate Pool
Lawyers enter the candidate pool by being formally nominated by a peer or if identified by the research department during the research process.
Once a year, Super Lawyers invites lawyers in each state to nominate the top attorneys they've personally observed in action. Lawyers may nominate attorneys in their own firm, but these nominations count only if each in-firm nomination is matched by at least one out-firm nomination.
Each nomination carries a point value. An out-firm nomination has substantially greater point value than an in-firm nomination. Lawyers cannot nominate themselves, and must limit their nominations to others who practice in the same state.
Super Lawyer’s procedures and database have several safeguards that prevent lawyers from "gaming" the system. For example, Super Lawyers tracks who nominates whom. This helps Super Lawyers detect any excessive "back-scratch" nominations (lawyers nominating each other) and "block nominations" (where members of the same law firm all cast identical nominations). Super Lawyers also prohibits lawyers from engaging in "campaigning" or solicitation of nominations from other lawyers.
While important, the nomination phase is simply the first step in the process. It puts lawyers on Super Lawyer’s radar for further research and evaluation, and awards points in our rating system. But Super Lawyers limits the value of those points so that no matter how many nominations one receives, it will not guarantee selection.
The Super Lawyers attorney-led research staff then searches for lawyers who have attained certain honors, results or credentials, which indicate a high degree of peer recognition or professional competence. For example, certification as a specialist in a particular area of practice, or admission to prestigious colleges or academies (e.g.- The American College of Trial Lawyers). The staff identifies these credentials by reviewing a proprietary list of database and online sources, including national and local legal trade publications.
Most of the lawyers Super Lawyers identifies in this process have also been nominated by their peers. Occasionally, however, Super Lawyers finds outstanding lawyers who have been overlooked in the nomination process. These may include: lawyers with national litigation practices who rarely appear in the courts of their home jurisdiction; lawyers in smaller firms or from smaller communities; and lawyers practicing in less visible or highly specialized practice areas.
Throughout the year, readers, clients and attorneys who are not eligible to formally nominate (that is, actively licensed to practice in the same state as the nominee) send us names of lawyers we should consider for inclusion. Though no points are awarded, we add these lawyers to the candidate pool for further research and evaluation.
Step Two: Evaluation of Lawyers in Candidate Pool
Our research department evaluates each candidate based on these 12 indicators of peer recognition and professional achievement: verdicts and settlements; transactions; representative clients; experience; honors and awards; special licenses and certifications; position within law firm; bar and or other professional activity; pro bono and community service as a lawyer; scholarly lectures and writings; education and employment background; and other outstanding achievements.
These indicators are not treated equally; some have a higher maximum point value than others.
Step Three: Peer Evaluation by Practice Area
In this step, also known as the "blue ribbon review," candidates are grouped according to their primary areas of practice. The candidates in each practice area with the highest point totals from steps one and two above are asked to serve on a blue ribbon panel. The panelists are then provided a list of candidates from their practice areas to review, rating them on a scale of one to ten.
Candidates are grouped into four firm-size categories. Those with the highest point totals from each category are selected. This means solo and small firm lawyers are compared with other solo and small firm attorneys, and large firm lawyers compete with other large firm lawyers. Five percent of the total lawyers in the state are selected for inclusion in Super Lawyers.
Contact Stephen D. Hébert
700 Camp Street, Suite 216
New Orleans, LA 70130
Office: 504-528-9500 Ext. 790
Monday – Friday, 9am – 5pm
Saturday, 9am – 12pm