Vault Releases Rankings of Top 100 Law Firms

How do you rank law firms? By number of lawyers? By the credentials of said lawyers? By the household name-potential of their client lists? The well-known Vault rankings rate law firms by sheer name brand recognition and reputation.

The guidebook publisher and career site recently released its Vault Law 100 rankings, which ranks law firms across the country by prestige. The rankings were compiled using a detailed methodology, which works like this: Vault distributed surveys to more than 17,000 associates at various levels of experience at large law firms around the country and asked them to rate and comment on their perception of how prestigious other law firms were (associates are not allowed to rate their own firms). Vault then took these results and cross-tabulated averages to see which firms came out on top.

The survey also asks associates to rate other factors, such as the reputation of practice areas including Tax, International, and Intellectual Property Law at other firms. Associates are also given the opportunity to answer questions about their work lives and to rate and comment on their satisfaction, work opportunities, potential for growth and advancement, and compensation at their own firms.

You can see the full list of the Vault Law 100 here.

The firms that made the  cut of the top 10 of the Top 100 Law firms are:

1.    Wachtell Lipton Rosen & Katz
2.    Cravath, Swaine & Moore
3.    Sullivan & Cromwell
4.    Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom
5.    Davis Polk & Wardwell
6.    Weil, Gotshal & Manges
7.    Simpson Thacher & Bartlett
8.    Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton
9.    Kirkland & Ellis
10.  Latham & Watkins

While some of these firms only have U.S. offices, many have wide-reaching networks of global offices in cities and countries all over the world. Recruiters and representatives of these firms regularly attend LLM job fairs and recruitment events such as the International Student Interview Program, also known as the NYU Job Fair, to hire foreign graduates from LLM programs. The combination of a law degree and citizenship in one of these countries with the U.S. legal perspective which an LLM offers is especially attractive to these U.S.-based global firms, who look for these types of candidates to staff their international outposts.

Even in the top 5, there is a wide variety of international offices represented. Cravath Swaine & Moore, for instance holds an office in London in addition to its New York headquarters, while Sullivan & Cromwell has offices in Beijing, Frankfurt, Hong Kong, London, Melbourne, Paris, Sidney, and Tokyo. Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom’s reach extends to Beijing, Brussels, Frankfurt, Hong Kong, London, Moscow, Munich, Paris, São Paulo, Shanghai, Singapore, Sydney, Tokyo, Toronto, and Vienna, and Davis Polk & Wardwell has presences in Beijing, Hong Kong, London, Madrid, Paris Tokyo, and São Paulo. Outside of the top 10, sprawling global firms like Linklaters LLP, #31, which has only two U.S. offices but maintains locations in Abu Dhabi, Amsterdam, Antwerp, Bangkok, Beijing, Berlin, Brussels, Dubai, Düsseldorf, Frankfurt, Hong Kong, Lisbon, London, Luxembourg, Madrid, Milan, Moscow, Munich, Paris, Rome, São Paulo, Shanghai, Singapore, Stockholm, Tokyo, and Warsaw, and Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, which spans Abu Dhabi, Amsterdam, Bahrain, Barcelona, Beijing, Berlin, Brussels, Cologne, Dubai, Düsseldorf, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Hong Kong, London, Madrid, Milan, Moscow, Munich, Paris, Rome, Shanghai, Singapore, Tokyo, and Vienna, specifically target their recruitment efforts towards LLM students.

Other Vault Law 100 attendees of the NYU Job Fair include:

#6 Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP
#7 Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP
#8 Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP
#9 Kirkland & Ellis LLP
#10 Latham & Watkins LLP
#11 Covington & Burling LLP
#12 Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP
#13 Debevoise & Plimpton
#14 Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP
#15 Boies, Schiller & Flexner LLP
#17 Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, LLP
#18 Sidley Austin LLP
#19 Jones Day
#20 White & Case LLP
#21 WilmerHale
#22 Arnold & Porter
#24 Morrison & Foerster LLP
#25 O’Melveny & Myers LLP
#26 Clifford Chance
#27 Shearman & Sterling LLP
#28 Paul Hastings LLP
#29 Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP
#30 Mayer Brown LLP
#33 Allen & Overy LLP
#32 Baker & McKenzie
#36 Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy LLP
#37 Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP
#38 Proskauer Rose LLP
#39 Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson LLP
#40 Hogan Lovells
#41 DLA Piper
#45 K&L Gates LLP
#46 King & Spalding
#48 Norton Rose Fulbright
#48 Winston & Strawn LLP
#49 Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP
#50 Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP
#53 Dechert LLP
#56 McDermott Will & Emery
#59 Greenberg Traurig, LLP
#64 Reed Smith LLP
#66 Nixon Peabody LLP
#70 Steptoe & Johnson LLP
#74 Hunton & Williams LLP
#76 McGuireWoods LLP
#86 Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton LLP
#87 Dorsey & Whitney LLP
#93 Dentons
#97 Troutman Sanders LLP
#98 Haynes and Boone, LLP