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
31
SCORE
6.156

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

2015 Rank
34
32
SCORE
6.140

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

2015 Rank
30
33
SCORE
6.138

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

2015 Rank
35
34
SCORE
6.137

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

2015 Rank
33
35
SCORE
6.125

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

2015 Rank
38
36
SCORE
6.095

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

2015 Rank
32
37
SCORE
6.027

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

2015 Rank
36
38
SCORE
5.977

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
45
39
SCORE
5.969

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

2015 Rank
41
40
SCORE
5.959

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

2015 Rank
37
41
SCORE
5.935

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

2015 Rank
40
42
SCORE
5.901

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

2015 Rank
42
43
SCORE
5.899

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

2015 Rank
39
44
SCORE
5.875

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

2015 Rank
50
45
SCORE
5.854

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
43
46
SCORE
5.848

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

2015 Rank
47
47
SCORE
5.828

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

2015 Rank
44
48
SCORE
5.825

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

2015 Rank
48
49
SCORE
5.763

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

2015 Rank
49
50
SCORE
5.731

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

2015 Rank
49
51
SCORE
5.688

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

2015 Rank
51
52
SCORE
5.665

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
46
53
SCORE
5.641

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

2015 Rank
49
54
SCORE
5.627

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

2015 Rank
53
55
SCORE
5.610

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

2015 Rank
52
56
SCORE
5.555

Greenberg Traurig, LLP

Greenberg Traurig, LLP counts among its clients some of the biggest names in information technology, energy, entertainment, telecommunications and health...

TRENDING

2015 Rank
57
57
SCORE
5.483

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

2015 Rank
55
58
SCORE
5.466

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

2015 Rank
56
59
SCORE
5.463

Perkins Coie LLP

Perkins Coie got off to a good start: founded in 1912, the Seattle-based firm's earliest clients included one William E. Boeing Sr., founder of the...

TRENDING

2015 Rank
59
60
SCORE
5.439

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
60
61
SCORE
5.438

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

2015 Rank
58
62
SCORE
5.292

Reed Smith LLP

A Pittsburgh native long intertwined with the city's industrial kingpins, Reed Smith joined the crowd in globalizing via international mergers in the...

TRENDING

2015 Rank
62
63
SCORE
5.276

Holland & Knight LLP

A veritable global conglomerate, Holland & Knight complements its fleet of offices in the United States with locations in Latin America, including...

TRENDING

2015 Rank
61
64
SCORE
5.201

Baker & Hostetler LLP

A Cleveland native with a largely domestic focus, BakerHostetler has involved itself in a number of cases that shaped America over the past 99 years. The...

TRENDING

2015 Rank
63
65
SCORE
5.159

Crowell & Moring LLP

Crowell & Moring was founded in 1979 by a group of attorneys defecting from Jones Day Reavis & Pogue, to create "a different kind of law...

TRENDING

2015 Rank
65
66
SCORE
5.132

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
64
67
SCORE
5.095

Nixon Peabody LLP

Nixon Peabody's 700+ lawyers collaborate together to handle complex challenges in litigation, real estate, corporate law, intellectual property...

TRENDING

2015 Rank
66
68
SCORE
4.950

Foley & Lardner LLP

While Foley & Lardner handles a wide range of business matters, the majority of the firm's major clients come from the automotive, energy, health...

TRENDING

2015 Rank
67
69
SCORE
4.923

Kaye Scholer LLP

Since its founding in New York in 1917, Kaye Scholer has grown strong practices in life sciences, financial services, technology and real estate to...

TRENDING

2015 Rank
68
70
SCORE
4.874

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
69
71
SCORE
4.852

Bryan Cave LLP

Employing a combination of expansion, foreign alliances and domestic mergers, Bryan Cave has established itself in the 21st century as an ambitious...

TRENDING

2015 Rank
70
72
SCORE
4.721

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

2015 Rank
87
73
SCORE
4.711

Chadbourne & Parke LLP

With hundreds of attorneys working in dozens of practice areas across the globe, Chadbourne has made significant strides toward shedding its reputation...

TRENDING

2015 Rank
72
74
SCORE
4.710

Hunton & Williams LLP

After remaining DC-centric through most of the 20th century, Hunton & Williams ventured beyond the mid-Atlantic in a major way as the new millennium...

TRENDING

2015 Rank
73
75
SCORE
4.705

Fenwick & West LLP

In 1972, four attorneys moved from New York to Palo Alto to found a firm based on their vision that the Silicon Valley would become the future tech Mecca...

TRENDING

2015 Rank
81
76
SCORE
4.689

Venable LLP

Call it a victory for career services: Venable, Baetjer & Howard was formed in 1900 when Richard Venable, a law professor in Baltimore, partnered...

TRENDING

2015 Rank
77
77
SCORE
4.670

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

2015 Rank
75
78
SCORE
4.669

Arent Fox LLP

Arent Fox has developed a symbiotic relationship with the nation's capital over the past 65 years. In addition to real estate and finance work, the firm...

TRENDING

2015 Rank
74
79
SCORE
4.632

Schulte Roth & Zabel LLP

Schulte Roth & Zabel LLP has defined itself as the go-to firm for hedge funds and their ilk. While this practice focus translates into double-digit...

TRENDING

2015 Rank
76
80
SCORE
4.627

Dentons

Following its March 2013 mega-combination between established global firm Dentons, European stronghold Salans LLP and Canadian firm Fraser Milner...

TRENDING

2015 Rank
89
81
SCORE
4.598

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
83
82
SCORE
4.574

Squire Patton Boggs LLP

Squire Patton Boggs has a multi-disciplinary team of over 1500 lawyers in 44 offices across 21 countries. Their expansion has been through a unique mix...

TRENDING

2015 Rank
71
83
SCORE
4.550

Hughes Hubbard & Reed LLP

From its core litigation practice, Hughes Hubbard has spun off a number of niches and industry-specific practices. Now boasting a respected Capitol Hill...

TRENDING

2015 Rank
79
84
SCORE
4.537

Bracewell

Long known for its intricate (and lucrative) relationships with Houston and Big Oil, Bracewell & Giuliani LLP raised its national and global profile...

TRENDING

2015 Rank
78
85
SCORE
4.522

Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP

Frustrated with stodgy conventional methods of BigLaw management, 24 attorneys struck out on their own in 1974 to form Katten Muchin Zavis in the Windy...

TRENDING

2015 Rank
80
86
SCORE
4.446

Seyfarth Shaw LLP

Founded in 1945 by a trio of labor lawyers in Chicago, Seyfarth Shaw has grown to more than 800 lawyers across 14 offices in the U.S., London, Melbourne,...

TRENDING

2015 Rank
82
87
SCORE
4.390

Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel LLP

Fourteen New York attorneys-including the late Arthur Kramer, brother of playwright Larry Kramer-teamed up to start Kramer Levin in 1968. The city was...

TRENDING

2015 Rank
84
88
SCORE
4.350

Locke Lord LLP

Locke Lord is a full-service, international law firm of 23 offices designed to meet clients' needs around the world. The firm is the product of four...

TRENDING

2015 Rank
86
89
SCORE
4.336

Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo, P.C.

A Boston institution since 1933, Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo is now a national powerhouse, claiming such blue chippers as Biogen Idec...

TRENDING

2015 Rank
88
90
SCORE
4.313

Pepper Hamilton LLP

Pepper Hamilton was founded 125 years ago in the City of Brotherly Love, where it strictly remained for 80 years. While it still maintains more of an...

TRENDING

2015 Rank
97