Methodology and Guidelines

As the world of work continues to evolve and new challenges arise in the post-pandemic era, the annual IEL Elite guide recognises leading international, regional, national, and boutique practices that have offered market-leading, cutting-edge advice to employers over the past 12 months.

IEL’s independent research is carried out annually during a three-month period. 

To appear in IEL Elite, firms must demonstrate a depth of expertise, market presence, and a high level of advisory, disputes, and transactional work from across a broad spectrum of employment and labour law issues.

How to participate

Law firms are invited to participate through a short submission process. A submission document is available on request.

Completed submissions should be emailed by Friday 2 June 2023. Only one submission document is necessary per firm, regardless of the number of offices providing matters for consideration. It is not necessary for every office to provide a full submission.

Firms are asked to provide a minimum of ten standout instructions from the last year (June 2022 to May 2023), demonstrating a mix of complex contentious and non-contentious work.

What work to include

When reviewing firms’ submissions, IEL will consider the complexity and value of the work and who the client is. Firms should clearly identify why each matter was important, either to the client, their industry, or the broader employment and labour landscape.

Please clearly label any confidential information in red. Firms will not be penalised for only including confidential information.

Broadly, the matters relied upon should fall within the following specialisms:

  • Business reorganisation
  • Executive compensation
  • Data protection and privacy
  • Disputes
  • Diversity, equity, and inclusion
  • Health and safety
  • Immigration and global mobility
  • Incentives and benefits
  • Labour relations
  • Pensions
  • Whistleblowing and investigations

Particular weight will be given to cross-border matters, where applicable.

Firms with international or regional practices should provide the best work from across their office network. Successful firms will have the work of individual offices recognised in a more substantive editorial where applicable.

Other information to include

  • Practice developments. This can include, but is not limited to, hires, promotions, and expansion of specialisation, as well as new clients, geographical growth, investment in new technology, and other innovations that benefit employers around the globe.
  • Key points of contact in the team. For example, regional or national heads, or leaders of sub-practice groups.


Follow-up face-to-face or telephone interviews will be arranged where appropriate.

Should your firm be offered an interview, we would advise one to two leading partners be provided for a maximum one-hour interview. Partners should be prepared to talk about their practice’s standout work and provide observations on market trends and competitors.


IEL Elite 2022 is not a ranked or banded directory. The guide highlights practices based on their size and geographic footprint – international, regional, national, and boutique – rather than through a numerical ranking.

How we get our results

The results of the IEL Elite research are based on:

  • Analysis of work carried out by leading teams, where applicable. We recommend firms submit to give the most accurate overview of their practices for our consideration.
  • Interviews with prominent experts around the world to inform our research on what market-leading work looks like. 
  • Feedback from those in the know – the prominent experts interviewed, as well as IEL’s readership, which we invite to recommend teams for inclusion.

Kindly note we do not accept client feedback compiled by or provided via firms.

IEL review

The IEL Elite guide recognises the world’s leading practices, rather than individuals. As a result, not all partners or other senior practitioners will be included in our review.

Names included in the IEL Elite review are –

  • Heads of practice (at national, regional, international level)
  • Partners leading publishable work on the submission*
  • New partners – through partnership promotions or lateral hires, or other news that would warrant their inclusion
  • Partners that have featured in IEL in the past year – in our surveys and/or in community pieces

*Please note not all partners leading publishable work will be included in the write-up – this is subject to our discretion.

Research timeline

Research will begin on 5 June 2023.

For more information, please contact our Research Editor, Amy Barnicoat-Hood.