Top Ranked

Best Law Firms to Work For

Prestige isn't everything. These are the firms associates find the most amenable to a satisfying work experience.

  • Survey Methodology

    Which law firms are the best to work for? For some, this is a far more important consideration than prestige. To determine our Best 25 Firms to Work For, we used a formula that weighed the most relevant categories for an overall quality of life ranking. Each firm's overall score was calculated using the following formula:

    * 25 percent satisfaction * 10 percent hours * 10 percent compensation * 5 percent associate/partner relations * 5 transparency * 5 percent formal training * 5 percent informal training and mentoring *5 percent pro bono * 5 percent diversity (overall) * 10 percent business outlook * 5 percent career outlook * 10 percent substantive work

    Like our Vault Law 100 rankings, our quality of life rankings are meant to reflect the subjective opinions of associates. These rankings are based on perceptions of insiders--some of whom may be biased in favor (or against) their firms.

    Note: Vault's Best Law Firms to Work For methodology changed for its 2014 rankings. Previous rankings were based on a slightly different methodology.

  • Ranking History

2014 Best Law Firms for Substantive Work

1
SCORE
9.032

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

2013 Rank
N/A
2
SCORE
8.985

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

2013 Rank
N/A
3
SCORE
8.883

Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton LLP

Born of a January 2011 merger between the Atlanta-based Kilpatrick Stockton and Bay Area firm Townsend and Townsend and Crew, Kilpatrick Townsend &...

TRENDING

2013 Rank
N/A
4
SCORE
8.878

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

2013 Rank
N/A
5
SCORE
8.876

Fish & Richardson P.C.

An influential player in the development of American intellectual property law, Fish & Richardson has evolved with the inventions of its clients:...

TRENDING

2013 Rank
N/A
6
SCORE
8.824

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

2013 Rank
N/A
7
SCORE
8.750

Foley Hoag LLP

Hailing from the land of red socks and chowder, Foley Hoag has stayed close to its Boston roots. With only three locations--in Massachusetts, DC and...

TRENDING

2013 Rank
N/A
8
SCORE
8.714

Irell & Manella LLP

A Southern California power for the past 75 years, Irell & Manella matches or exceeds its multinational peers in salary, prestige and high-stakes...

TRENDING

2013 Rank
N/A
9
SCORE
8.698

Littler Mendelson P.C.

For over 70 years, Littler has been a leader in the area of labor and employment law on a national, and recently, international scale. Bay Area...

TRENDING

2013 Rank
N/A
10
SCORE
8.674

Munger, Tolles & Olson LLP

One of SoCal's elites, Munger, Tolles & Olson has resisted the temptation to expand beyond the Golden State. The firm is similarly consistent in its...

TRENDING

2013 Rank
N/A
11
SCORE
8.664

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

2013 Rank
N/A
12
SCORE
8.624

Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP

With a full name like Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman, it's no surprise that this firm is the product of big mergers between well-established practices....

TRENDING

2013 Rank
N/A
13
SCORE
8.610

McGuireWoods LLP

McGuireWoods' roots stretch back to 1834 in Charlottesville, Virginia, when Egbert R. Watson began his law practice. Today, the firm regularly serves the...

TRENDING

2013 Rank
N/A
13
SCORE
8.610

Schiff Hardin LLP

Schiff Hardin is a mid-size firm with a national practice. Its 300+ lawyers practice in the firm's headquarters in Chicago and in seven other offices...

TRENDING

2013 Rank
N/A
14
SCORE
8.588

Carlton Fields

In January 2014, the law firms of Carlton Fields, PA and Jorden Burt, LLP merged to form Carlton Fields Jorden Burt, which now boasts more than 375...

TRENDING

2013 Rank
N/A
15
SCORE
8.585

Holland & Hart LLP

Starting as a two-man outfit in 1947, Holland & Hart has become one of the largest firms in the Rocky Mountain West. Among its most notable practices...

TRENDING

2013 Rank
N/A
16
SCORE
8.572

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

2013 Rank
N/A
17
SCORE
8.564

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

2013 Rank
N/A
18
SCORE
8.558

Cooley LLP

Cooley LLP was founded in 1920 in San Francisco by Arthur Cooley and Louis Crowley. The practice they started went on to become a major player in...

TRENDING

2013 Rank
N/A
19
SCORE
8.548

Squire Patton Boggs

Squire Patton Boggs has a multi-disciplinary team of over 1500 lawyers in 46 offices across 21 countries on five continents. Their expansion has been...

TRENDING

2013 Rank
N/A
20
SCORE
8.542

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

2013 Rank
N/A
21
SCORE
8.529

Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz, PC

A firm with offices across the Southeast as well as locations in Washington, DC and London, Baker Donelson is a full-service law firm that also boasts a...

TRENDING

2013 Rank
N/A
22
SCORE
8.519

Edwards Wildman Palmer LLP

Editor's note:  In January 2015 Edwards Wildman Palmer LLP and Locke Lord  merged under the Locke Lord name.  The...

TRENDING

2013 Rank
N/A
23
SCORE
8.500

Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton LLP

With expertise in a variety of practices, including corporate, litigation, employment, IP, antitrust and finance, Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton...

TRENDING

2013 Rank
N/A
24
SCORE
8.492

Akerman LLP

Akerman LLP is a nation  full-service firm recognized by Chambers and The Legal 500 with specialities in middle-market M&A and its Latin...

TRENDING

2013 Rank
N/A
25
SCORE
8.488

Alston & Bird LLP

As definitively "Atlanta" as Coca-Cola, TBS, and Bobby Cox, Alston & Bird isn't just a Georgia peach: it has built a nationally-regarded lobbying...

TRENDING

2013 Rank
N/A

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