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.

  • Ranking History

2016 Best Law Firms for Substantive Work

1
SCORE
9.200

Gunderson Dettmer Stough Villeneuve Franklin & Hachigian, LLP

Although Gunderson Dettmer Stough Villeneuve Franklin & Hachigian is a Silicon Valley firm at heart, it has already outgrown its status as a premier...

TRENDING

2015 Rank
NR
2
SCORE
9.113

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

2015 Rank
3
3
SCORE
8.972

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

2015 Rank
22
4
SCORE
8.959

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

2015 Rank
8
5
SCORE
8.943

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

2015 Rank
1
6
SCORE
8.927

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

2015 Rank
2
7
SCORE
8.889

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

2015 Rank
NR
8
SCORE
8.885

Steptoe & Johnson LLP

Steptoe & Johnson LLP got its start representing the airline industry, as well as pipelines, railroads, and foreign companies whose assets had been...

TRENDING

2015 Rank
NR
9
SCORE
8.867

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

2015 Rank
20
10
SCORE
8.835

Finnegan, Henderson, Farabow, Garrett & Dunner, LLP

The current composition of Finnegan, Henderson, Farabow, Garrett & Dunner, LLP prompts one of the great existential questions of 21st-century law:...

TRENDING

2015 Rank
NR
11
SCORE
8.739

Barnes & Thornburg LLP

From its Midwestern hub in Indianapolis, Barnes & Thornburg has aggressively expanded to serve a large network of clients throughout the U.S. In...

TRENDING

2015 Rank
10
12
SCORE
8.734

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

2015 Rank
6
13
SCORE
8.711

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

2015 Rank
25
14
SCORE
8.701

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

2015 Rank
4
15
SCORE
8.697

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

2015 Rank
18
16
SCORE
8.692

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

2015 Rank
12
17
SCORE
8.680

Sutherland Asbill & Brennan LLP

Sutherland Asbill and Brennan LLP started as an Atlanta tax firm and has grown to include offices in London, Geneva, Washington, DC, New York, Houston,...

TRENDING

2015 Rank
NR
18
SCORE
8.677

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

2015 Rank
NR
19
SCORE
8.661

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

2015 Rank
NR
20
SCORE
8.655

Quarles & Brady LLP

Milwaukee's second largest firm, Quarles & Brady has successfully combined its Midwestern roots with multi-region power through thriving health law...

TRENDING

2015 Rank
NR
21
SCORE
8.627

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

2015 Rank
NR
22
SCORE
8.624

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

2015 Rank
9
23
SCORE
8.606

Seward & Kissel LLP

Founded in 1890, Seward & Kissel has grown into a major player in the financial world, serving clients ranging from investment funds to big banks....

TRENDING

2015 Rank
NR
24
SCORE
8.605

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

2015 Rank
NR
25
SCORE
8.602

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

2015 Rank
19