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, over 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, DC, 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 17,000+ survey respondents for your insights!

  • Ranking History

2016 Vault Law 100

1
SCORE
8.951

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
1
2
SCORE
8.920

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

2015 Rank
2
3
SCORE
8.512

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

2015 Rank
3
4
SCORE
8.390

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

2015 Rank
4
5
SCORE
8.227

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

2015 Rank
5
6
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

2015 Rank
6
7
SCORE
7.680

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

2015 Rank
9
8
SCORE
7.678

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

2015 Rank
7
9
SCORE
7.658

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

2015 Rank
8
10
SCORE
7.655

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

2015 Rank
10
11
SCORE
7.627

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
11
12
SCORE
7.454

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

2015 Rank
13
13
SCORE
7.400

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

2015 Rank
12
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

2015 Rank
14
15
SCORE
7.346

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

2015 Rank
15
16
SCORE
7.250

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

2015 Rank
16
17
SCORE
7.223

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

2015 Rank
17
18
SCORE
7.162

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
18
19
SCORE
7.123

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

2015 Rank
19
20
SCORE
6.869

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

2015 Rank
20
21
SCORE
6.854

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
21
22
SCORE
6.808

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

2015 Rank
23
23
SCORE
6.801

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
22
24
SCORE
6.563

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
26
25
SCORE
6.514

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

2015 Rank
24
26
SCORE
6.506

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
25
27
SCORE
6.338

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

2015 Rank
27
28
SCORE
6.259

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

2015 Rank
31
29
SCORE
6.174

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
29
30
SCORE
6.170

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

2015 Rank
28