Top Ranked

Vault Law 100

The 2016 Vault Law 100 is here! This year, over 17,000 law associates rated law firms on a scale of 1 to 10 based on prestige. (Associates were not allowed to rate their own firms, and were asked only to rate firms with which they were familiar.)

  • Survey Methodology

    How does Vault come up with its list of the Top 100 firms in the country? The first step is to compile a list of the most renowned law firms in the land by reviewing the feedback we receive from previous surveys, consulting our previous lists, poring over legal newspapers, talking to lawyers in the field and checking out other published rankings. We then asked these top firms to distribute a password-protected online survey to their associates. This year, nearly 17,000 attorneys returned anonymous surveys to Vault. Associates from all over the country and the world responded. We heard from lawyers in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Palo Alto, Chicago, Boston, Philadelphia, Houston, Dallas, Washington, D.C., Miami, Cleveland, Seattle, Orlando, Phoenix and Atlanta, plus many other domestic as well as international locations. The online survey asked attorneys to score each of the law firms on a scale of 1 to 10 based on how prestigious it is to work for the firm. Associates were asked to ignore any firm with which they were unfamiliar and were not allowed to rank their own firm.

    We collected all the surveys and averaged the score for each firm. The firms were then ranked in order, starting with the highest average prestige score as No. 1 on down to determine the Vault Top 100. Remember that in the Top 100, Vault is not assessing firms by profit, size, lifestyle, number of deals or quality of service; we are ranking the most prestigious law firms based on the perceptions of currently practicing lawyers at peer firms.

    Many thanks to the nearly 17,000 survey respondents for your insights!

  • Ranking History

2014 Vault Law 100

1
SCORE
9.083

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
1
2
SCORE
8.996

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
2
3
SCORE
8.601

Sullivan & Cromwell LLP

S&C has followed-if not created-the blueprint for legal success: it has grown internationally and in response to the increasing crossborder M&A,...

TRENDING

2013 Rank
4
4
SCORE
8.595

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

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

TRENDING

2013 Rank
3
5
SCORE
8.208

Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP

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

TRENDING

2013 Rank
5
6
SCORE
7.968

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

2013 Rank
6
7
SCORE
7.927

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

2013 Rank
7
8
SCORE
7.817

Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP

With offices around the globe and a web site in over 10 languages, one cannot deny Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton's international scope. But don't...

TRENDING

2013 Rank
8
9
SCORE
7.714

Kirkland & Ellis LLP

Chicagoans are (famously and resolutely) loyal to their own, so within its hometown, Kirkland & Ellis ranks tops for prestige-but the firm's...

TRENDING

2013 Rank
9
10
SCORE
7.690

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

2013 Rank
10
11
SCORE
7.576

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

2013 Rank
11
12
SCORE
7.559

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...

TRENDING

2013 Rank
12
13
SCORE
7.419

Debevoise & Plimpton LLP

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

TRENDING

2013 Rank
13
14
SCORE
7.393

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

2013 Rank
14
15
SCORE
7.382

Boies, Schiller & Flexner LLP

Boies, Schiller & Flexner LLP is a relative newcomer to the elite firm ranks but already boasts nearly 300 lawyers in 12 far-flung offices across the...

TRENDING

2013 Rank
20
16
SCORE
7.308

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
16
17
SCORE
7.304

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...

TRENDING

2013 Rank
18
18
SCORE
7.251

Sidley Austin LLP

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

TRENDING

2013 Rank
15
19
SCORE
7.111

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

2013 Rank
19
20
SCORE
7.105

White & Case LLP

Founded 114 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

2013 Rank
17
21
SCORE
6.936

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

2013 Rank
21
22
SCORE
6.812

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

2013 Rank
22
23
SCORE
6.679

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
25
24
SCORE
6.676

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

2013 Rank
24
25
SCORE
6.620

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

2013 Rank
24
26
SCORE
6.607

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

2013 Rank
26
27
SCORE
6.587

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

2013 Rank
23
28
SCORE
6.472

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
29
29
SCORE
6.354

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
27
30
SCORE
6.300

Mayer Brown LLP

Mayer Brown is a leading international law firm with offices in key business centers across the Americas, Europe and Asia. Serving a majority of the...

TRENDING

2013 Rank
30
31
SCORE
6.271

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

2013 Rank
28
32
SCORE
6.226

Baker & McKenzie

Baker & McKenzie takes "global" to a whole new level, with its plethora of global offices spanning every continent. The firm's geographic and...

TRENDING

2013 Rank
34
33
SCORE
6.182

Allen & Overy LLP

Allen & Overy stands as not only one of the U.K.'s most prestigious law firms-a pillar of the vaunted Magic Circle-but one of the largest firms in...

TRENDING

2013 Rank
35
34
SCORE
6.178

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
38
35
SCORE
6.134

Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft LLP

Established over 200 years ago, Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft LLP is the oldest Wall Street firm still in existence. Known especially for its capital...

TRENDING

2013 Rank
31
36
SCORE
6.115

Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy LLP

Wall Street institution Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy is one of the nation's leading firms for corporate restructuring, outsourcing and project...

TRENDING

2013 Rank
32
37
SCORE
6.109

Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP

Orrick is focused on serving three sectors: tech, energy & infrastructure and finance. The firm's practices are evenly split between transactional...

TRENDING

2013 Rank
36
38
SCORE
6.104

Proskauer Rose LLP

Proskauer Rose is practically synonymous with "sports law"-clients include Major League Baseball, the NFL, the NHL and the NBA. Although flashy, this...

TRENDING

2013 Rank
37
39
SCORE
6.079

Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson LLP

With approximately 450 attorneys, Fried Frank is hardly a behemoth, but the firm remains an international legal power that excels in corporate,...

TRENDING

2013 Rank
33
40
SCORE
6.055

Hogan Lovells US LLP

Formed on May 1, 2010 by the merger of Hogan & Hartson and Lovells, Hogan Lovells is a global megafirm with more than 40 offices in the United...

TRENDING

2013 Rank
41
41
SCORE
6.047

DLA Piper

With approximately 4,200 lawyers in 88 offices around the globe, DLA Piper is one of the largest law firms-as in sheer size-in the world. Hunting and...

TRENDING

2013 Rank
39
42
SCORE
6.027

Baker Botts LLP

One of Texas' elite firms, Baker Botts has deep roots in the Lone Star State-and a long history of counseling the oil industry and Republican...

TRENDING

2013 Rank
43
43
SCORE
5.998

Goodwin Procter LLP

Founded in Boston in 1912, Goodwin Procter is known for its IP litigation, financial services, private equity, real estate capital markets, technology...

TRENDING

2013 Rank
40
44
SCORE
5.927

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP

For 250 years, Freshfields has remained a constant at the top of the U.K. legal market. Known as one of the "Magic Circle" firms, Freshfields has...

TRENDING

2013 Rank
42
45
SCORE
5.920

K&L Gates LLP

What a difference a couple of years make: the firm now branded K&L Gates has undergone a series of identity-shifting mergers in modern times. On the...

TRENDING

2013 Rank
52
46
SCORE
5.874

King & Spalding LLP

Over its 127-year history, King & Spalding has branched far from its Southern roots to open offices across the United States, Europe, the Middle East...

TRENDING

2013 Rank
48
47
SCORE
5.854

Irell & Manella LLP

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

TRENDING

2013 Rank
44
48
SCORE
5.813

Norton Rose Fulbright

Norton Rose Fulbright has a long legacy in the United States that spans more than nine decades of practice in dispute resolution and litigation,...

TRENDING

2013 Rank
49
48
SCORE
5.813

Winston & Strawn LLP

Winston & Strawn has an enviable 160+ year track record. The global law firm is comprised of 18 offices across the United States, Europe, and Asia,...

TRENDING

2013 Rank
46
49
SCORE
5.788

Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP

Willkie has all the history you could ask for and then some. The firm's clients have ranged from inventors to industrial titans to elite financial...

TRENDING

2013 Rank
45
50
SCORE
5.781

Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP

Morgan Lewis has branched out from its Philadelphia roots to build an international network of lawyers reaching from Boston to Beijing and San Francisco...

TRENDING

2013 Rank
51
51
SCORE
5.743

Bingham McCutchen LLP

TRENDING

2013 Rank
56
52
SCORE
5.725

Cahill Gordon & Reindel LLP

With a reputation for capital markets prowess and First Amendment excellence, Cahill Gordon & Reindel LLP is the picture of an effective-and...

TRENDING

2013 Rank
54
53
SCORE
5.721

Dechert LLP

Since its founding in 1875, Dechert has become an international legal force to be reckoned with. In the United States, the firm is particularly...

TRENDING

2013 Rank
50
54
SCORE
5.714

Jenner & Block LLP

Windy City Roots Embarking on its second century of service, the firm now known as Jenner & Block was founded in 1914 as Newman, Poppenhusen &...

TRENDING

2013 Rank
55
54
SCORE
5.714

Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati

Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati built its reputation advising some of the major tech and life sciences industries as well as the banks and venture...

TRENDING

2013 Rank
47
55
SCORE
5.699

Cooley LLP

The firm that is now known as Cooley LLP was founded in 1920 in San Francisco by Arthur Cooley and Louis Crowley. The practice they started went on to...

TRENDING

2013 Rank
61
56
SCORE
5.665

McDermott Will & Emery LLP

A Chicago institution since the 1930s, McDermott Will & Emery has, in recent decades, broadened its gaze from the Windy City to new markets in the...

TRENDING

2013 Rank
53
57
SCORE
5.652

Vinson & Elkins LLP

Founded in Houston in 1917, this Lone Star State institution rode the wildcatter era to build its name on (what else?!) oil and gas matters. Vinson &...

TRENDING

2013 Rank
57
58
SCORE
5.645

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
60