Tampa, FL – September 15, 2010 – U.S. News Media Group and Best Lawyers have released the 2010 Best Law Firms rankings, marking the inaugural publication of this highly-anticipated annual analysis. Merlin Law Group is pleased to receive a number 1 metropolitan ranking for Tampa, FL, Insurance Law.

The rankings, including 30,322 rankings of 8,782 law firms in 81 practice areas, are posted online at www.usnews.com/bestlawfirms. Achieving a high ranking is a special distinction that signals a unique combination of excellence and breadth of expertise.

“It is an honor to receive a number one ranking for this inaugural event. The Merlin Law Group has been advocating on behalf of policyholders for more than 25 years,” said William F. “Chip” Merlin, Jr., founder and president of Merlin Law Group. “What this tells us is that we are doing many things right when it comes to taking on insurance law issues and helping our clients in their constant battle against insurance companies who don’t live up to their promises to take care of their customers. Still, we are not ones to sit on our laurels. You can expect a determined effort among our attorneys and staff to improve our service and get even better in this niche area of law. We want to not only uphold our reputation as the firm to turn to when a policyholder has been wronged by his insurance company, but improve the experience and results that our clients and referral sources receive from us. I am humbled by the recognition because I know of some areas in our practice that I have identified for improvement.”

These reputational survey responses were combined with more than 3.1 million evaluations of individual lawyers in these firms in the most recent Best Lawyers survey of leading lawyers. Hard numbers were also used to develop the practice area rankings — data about numbers of lawyers and their previous experience, numbers of clients within different billing ranges, numbers of transactions and litigation matters at different dollar levels; pro-bono commitment, diversity, and other objective data.

"U.S. News has more than two decades of experience in providing the public with the most accurate and in-depth rankings of a wide range of institutions, including our Best Law Schools rankings," says Tim Smart, Executive Editor of U.S. News & World Report. "This experience, coupled with our growing reputation as a leading career information resource, makes these law firm rankings a logical next step.”

“U.S. News is the world’s leading publisher of institutional rankings based on both objective data and peer evaluations,” says Steven Naifeh, President of Best Lawyers. “We are combining this expertise with Best Lawyers’ experience of providing rankings of individual lawyers based on peer reviews for almost three decades. By combining hard data with peer reviews, and client assessments, we believe that we are providing users with the most thorough, accurate, and helpful rankings of law firms ever developed.”