Since the 1970s, the number of African American's practicing law has grown from just over 3,000 to more than 20,000. Their scope of legal expertise has grown to include everything from negotiating multibillion-dollar business deals, to defending corporate executives. With the ascension of top-ranking black lawyers and the changing business environment, Black Enterprise set out to rank the nation's best black lawyers. After months of research, the editors decided to rank the best in 15 different categories, ranging from criminal defense to patent law.
Kirkland partner Michael D. Jones was recognized as one of the nation's top black lawyers. Known for his winning record and avidly sought by major corporations, Black Enterprise noted that Mr. Jones' defense of NL Industries in the first lead paint case to go to trial was a "power play" in 2003.