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
30
% OF VOTES
6.17

Mayer Brown LLP

Mayer Brown is a leading international law firm with offices in key business centers across the Americas, Europe, and Asia, and employs more than 1,500...

TRENDING

2011 Rank
31
31
% OF VOTES
6.10

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

2011 Rank
36
32
% OF VOTES
6.05

Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy LLP

Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy LLP is one of the nation's leading firms for corporate finance and restructuring,project finance and litigation, and...

TRENDING

2011 Rank
32
33
% OF VOTES
6.03

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

2011 Rank
44
34
% OF VOTES
5.96

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

2011 Rank
27
35
% OF VOTES
5.95

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

2011 Rank
35
36
% OF VOTES
5.94

Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP

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

TRENDING

2011 Rank
39
37
% OF VOTES
5.87

Dewey & LeBoeuf LLP

TRENDING

2011 Rank
47
38
% OF VOTES
5.80

Baker Botts LLP

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

TRENDING

2011 Rank
42
39
% OF VOTES
5.79

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

2011 Rank
46
40
% OF VOTES
5.78

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

2011 Rank
49
41
% OF VOTES
5.77

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

2011 Rank
48
42
% OF VOTES
5.75

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP

For over 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

2011 Rank
38
43
% OF VOTES
5.75

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

2011 Rank
37
44
% OF VOTES
5.73

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

2011 Rank
41
45
% OF VOTES
5.73

DLA Piper

With approximately 4,000 lawyers in 90+ offices around the globe, DLA Piper is one of the largest law firms-both by headcount and by revenue-in the...

TRENDING

2011 Rank
53
46
% OF VOTES
5.72

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

2011 Rank
40
47
% OF VOTES
5.64

Jenner & Block LLP

Windy City Roots The firm now known as Jenner & Block was founded in 1914 as Newman, Poppenhusen & Stern by a trio of lawyers with big-name...

TRENDING

2011 Rank
43
47
% OF VOTES
5.64

King & Spalding

Over its 130-year history, King & Spalding has branched far from its Southern roots to open offices across the United States, Europe, the Middle...

TRENDING

2011 Rank
47
48
% OF VOTES
5.61

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

2011 Rank
65
49
% OF VOTES
5.57

Bingham McCutchen LLP

TRENDING

2011 Rank
56
50
% OF VOTES
5.55

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

2011 Rank
45
51
% OF VOTES
5.54

Hogan Lovells 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

2011 Rank
28
52
% OF VOTES
5.52

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

2011 Rank
50
52
% OF VOTES
5.52

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

2011 Rank
54
53
% OF VOTES
5.51

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

2011 Rank
60
54
% OF VOTES
5.51

Dechert LLP

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

TRENDING

2011 Rank
57
55
% OF VOTES
5.45

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

2011 Rank
51
56
% OF VOTES
5.45

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

2011 Rank
52
57
% OF VOTES
5.44

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

2011 Rank
59