Top Ranked

Best Law Firms in Each Practice Area

Not every firm is created equal. Find out how top firms stack up when it comes to specific practice areas.

  • Survey Methodology

    In order to determine the Vault Practice Area Rankings, associates were able to vote for up to three firms in their own practice area, but were not permitted to vote for their own firm. Self-identified corporate associates were allowed to vote only in the corporate-related categories; litigators were allowed to vote in the litigation categories, and so on. Our rankings indicate the top firms in each area, as well as the total percentage of votes.

  • Ranking History

2012 Best Law Firms in Each Practice Area

1
% OF VOTES
9.14

Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz

Each year, a significant chunk of the world's dealmaking-major mergers and acquisitions, antitrust and shareholder litigation, big name restructurings,...

TRENDING

2011 Rank
1
2
% OF VOTES
8.74

Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP

Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP has been known as one of the nation's pre-eminent law firms for nearly 200 years. With industry-leading practices on both...

TRENDING

2011 Rank
2
3
% OF VOTES
8.44

Sullivan & Cromwell LLP

A BigLaw powerhouse, Sullivan & Cromwell has been ranked in the AmLaw 100 since the rankings began in the 1980s and is a regular player on The...

TRENDING

2011 Rank
3
4
% OF VOTES
8.43

Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP and Affiliates

Giant among Mortals Kind of like Oprah or Beyoncé, Skadden is a giant among mortals. Known by its one name, it sits atop its world, continuously...

TRENDING

2011 Rank
4
5
% OF VOTES
8.12

Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP

Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP, founded in New York City more than 160 years ago, has finance in its DNA. The firm boasts one of the nation's best and...

TRENDING

2011 Rank
5
6
% OF VOTES
7.88

Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP

Simpson Thacher & Bartlett is a Wall Street institution, housing elite teams in M&A, banking, capital markets and litigation. The firm is a bit...

TRENDING

2011 Rank
6
7
% OF VOTES
7.86

Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP

A powerhouse in restructuring, M&A, private equity, and litigation, Weil, Gotshal & Manges has long been one of the world's leading law firms....

TRENDING

2011 Rank
7
8
% OF VOTES
7.77

Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP

With offices around the globe, one cannot deny Cleary Gottlieb's international scope. But don't call it a U.S. firm with overseas offices-this is an...

TRENDING

2011 Rank
9
9
% OF VOTES
7.50

Kirkland & Ellis LLP

Kirkland & Ellis has a strong reputation in private equity, M&A and other complex corporate transactions, litigation, restructuring and...

TRENDING

2011 Rank
11
10
% OF VOTES
7.38

Covington & Burling LLP

This "brain trust" law firm is known for quietly (and smartly) going about its business-that business being antitrust, litigation, corporate, IP, and...

TRENDING

2011 Rank
10
11
% OF VOTES
7.34

Latham & Watkins LLP

Latham is one of the world's largest law firms, a bona fide member of the clique that includes the Magic Circle and the elite U.S. heritage firms. With...

TRENDING

2011 Rank
15
12
% OF VOTES
7.32

Debevoise & Plimpton LLP

Debevoise & Plimpton ranks as one of New York's most powerful law firms, representing high-profile clients in transactions and disputes in...

TRENDING

2011 Rank
13
13
% OF VOTES
7.18

Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP

For decades, Paul, Weiss has valiantly defended the coffers and reputations of some of the world's largest financial institutions and companies. Though...

TRENDING

2011 Rank
12
13
% OF VOTES
7.18

Williams & Connolly LLP

Relatively tiny Williams & Connolly has resisted globalization and continues to hold its own against firms ten times its size by following a basic...

TRENDING

2011 Rank
8
14
% OF VOTES
7.17

Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP

With powerhouse practices ranging from M&A to appellate law, Gibson Dunn & Crutcher does its share of high-stakes work. Founded in Los Angeles in...

TRENDING

2011 Rank
14
15
% OF VOTES
7.09

Sidley Austin LLP

The firm's roots trace back to its formation in Chicago in 1866 and the firm is celebrating its 150th anniversary. Historical clients included former...

TRENDING

2011 Rank
16
16
% OF VOTES
6.87

Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, LLP

Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan has been cultivating the persona of an eccentric genius-shocking the often-staid (OK, uptight) legal world with its...

TRENDING

2011 Rank
19
17
% OF VOTES
6.84

Boies, Schiller & Flexner LLP

Started in 1997, Boies, Schiller & Flexner LLP is a relative newcomer to the elite firm ranks but already boasts approximately 280 lawyers and has...

TRENDING

2011 Rank
23
18
% OF VOTES
6.83

White & Case LLP

Founded 115 years ago, White & Case has grown from its New York beginnings to become a truly global law firm with a longstanding presence in the...

TRENDING

2011 Rank
20
19
% OF VOTES
6.83

Jones Day

A heavy-hitter with a hand in most major areas of law and an internationally-recognized prowess in litigation, Jones Day uses its size and reach-offices...

TRENDING

2011 Rank
18
20
% OF VOTES
6.69

Arnold & Porter LLP

Arnold & Porter has cultivated a reputation for excellence in a variety of practice areas. In addition to a preeminent antitrust team, the firm...

TRENDING

2011 Rank
21
21
% OF VOTES
6.54

WilmerHale

Since Wilmer Cutler Pickering LLP and Hale and Dorr LLP merged to become WilmerHale in 2004, the firm has established itself as one of the preeminent...

TRENDING

2011 Rank
17
22
% OF VOTES
6.54

O'Melveny & Myers LLP

With an extensive history of working big-time cases spread across a diverse array of fields, O'Melveny & Myers boasts expertise in a little bit of...

TRENDING

2011 Rank
24
23
% OF VOTES
6.51

Morrison & Foerster LLP

In 1973 those cats in San Fran approved "MoFo" as Morrison & Foerster's official nickname, accentuating the firm's unconventional modus operandi....

TRENDING

2011 Rank
26
24
% OF VOTES
6.48

Shearman & Sterling LLP

Shearman & Sterling is one of the world's premier law firms, serving the domestic and cross-border needs of an impressive roster of clients. With...

TRENDING

2011 Rank
22
25
% OF VOTES
6.47

Ropes & Gray LLP

Founded in 1865, Ropes & Gray has expanded in every measurable way in the 21st century, acquiring smaller boutique firms in the States while claiming...

TRENDING

2011 Rank
25
26
% OF VOTES
6.37

Clifford Chance US LLP

In many ways, the formation of Clifford Chance presaged the future of modern law practice, especially as it is carried out in its native city of London....

TRENDING

2011 Rank
29
27
% OF VOTES
6.25

Paul Hastings LLP

Over the last few decades, Paul Hastings has grown from a mid-market U.S. firm to an international outfit with strengths in employment, tax, and business...

TRENDING

2011 Rank
33
28
% OF VOTES
6.23

Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP

Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP maintains Capitol Hill connections that pay dividends. Long a force in national politics (and even longer a...

TRENDING

2011 Rank
34
29
% OF VOTES
6.21

Linklaters LLP (US)

Consistently ranked as a top money-maker, both in terms of firm profits and PPP, Magic Circle firm Linklaters has achieved legal industry royalty by...

TRENDING

2011 Rank
30