Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz #1 Law Firm
for Seventh Straight Year, says Vault
Annual Vault Law Survey Reveals Latham & Watkins
Falls from Top 10, Skadden climbs to #3
NEW YORK, August 19, 2009: Vault (www.vault.com), the web’s most comprehensive resource for career intelligence, today announced the Top 100 Law Firms for 2010, and for the seventh straight year Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz ranks #1. The rankings show significant movement in the Top 10, with Latham & Watkins dropping an unprecedented 10 spots to #17, Weil Gotshal & Manges climbing from #9 to #6, and Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom jumping over Sullivan & Cromwell to the #3 slot.
According to Brian Dalton, editor of the Vault Guide to the Top 100 Law Firms, “Considering the historical stability of the Top 10, Weil Gotshal’s climb is a remarkable testament to the firm’s stellar restructuring group and its high profile role in the economic crisis.”
From January through April of this year, more than 15,000 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 asked to only rate firms with which they were familiar). In addition to prestige, the Vault Guide to the Top 100 Law Firms features quality of life rankings in categories such as compensation, hours, training, and diversity.
Vault’s influential rankings are the “bible” for law students, associates, partners and law firm recruiters. According the industry web site Above the Law, “This list will define law firm prestige for the year to come.”
According to survey respondents, Wachtell is “Best of the Best for M&A” and remains “Zeus in the pantheon of law firms”—though many note that Wachtell attorneys work “horrendous hours,” albeit for “the fattest paychecks.” Cravath Swaine & Moore, the only other firm ever to rank #1 for prestige (from 1997-2002) was lauded by some as a “bastion of the profession,” though there was widespread grumbling among survey respondents that Cravath “led the market to lower bonuses.”
The Top 10 firms as ranked in the Vault Guide to the Top 100 Law Firms are:
1. Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz
2. Cravath, Swaine & Moore
3. Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP
4. Sullivan & Cromwell LLP
5. Davis Polk & Wardwell
6. Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP
7. Simpson Thatcher & Bartlett LLP
8. Cleary, Gottlieb, Steen & Hamilton
9. Covington & Burling
10. Kirkland & Ellis
Further down the list some interesting trends emerge. The ascension of U.K. firms appears to have stalled: all the Magic Circle firms (with the exception of Allen & Overy) fell back. According to Dalton, “Whatever uptick in name recognition and prestige the UK firms had enjoyed, owing to London’s arguable eclipse of New York as ‘the world’s financial capital,’ appears to have faded. The current perception is that the financial crisis has hammered the Magic Circle firms even harder than it has their U.S. counterparts.”
Best Firms to Work For
For many lawyers, all around quality of life is a more important consideration than prestige. Vault determines the ”Best Firms” using a formula that weighs the most relevant quality of life categories, now including an “Overall Business Outlook” component. Our “Best Firm to Work For,” Ropes & Gray, is full of relatively satisfied lawyers. This comment captures some common sentiments professed by the firm’s associates:
“Ropes & Gray is a great place to work: top-quality work, good training, and partners that value associate input. All the associates and partners I have worked with at Ropes & Gray have had at least one thing in common: they are all great teachers. This has made every deal or transaction a fun learning experience.”
The Top 10 Best Firms to Work for as ranked in the Vault Guide to the Top 100 Law Firms are:
1. Ropes & Gray LLP
2. Finnegan, Henderson, Farabow, Garrett & Dunner, LLP
3. Williams & Connolly LLP
4. Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo P.C.
5. Quarles & Brady LLP
6. (tie) Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP
6. (tie) Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP
7. Bingham McCutchen LLP
8. Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP
9. Paul, Hastings, Janofsky & Walker LLP
10. Davis Polk & Wardwell
The guide also features individual firm profiles that give readers an insider’s perspective, revealing information on compensation, the pros and cons of working for the firm, employment contacts and “The Buzz,” external perceptions of each firm. The Vault Guide to the Top 100 Law Firms is available for purchase on Vault.com.
To see Vault’s top law rankings, please visit the Top 100 Law link:
All categories of Partner, Quality of Life and Diversity rankings are available to Vault Gold subscribers. To order the guide online, please visit the Guide link: http://www.vault.com/wps/portal/usa/store/bookdetail?item_no=647§ion=cs_law
Vault.com is the Web’s most comprehensive resource for career management and job search information, including insider intelligence on salaries, hiring practices and company cultures. Vault features thousands of profiles on occupations, industries, companies and universities, as well as career-related articles, videos, blogs and research tools. The company publishes more than 120 print and online titles, from the best-selling Vault Guide to the Top 100 Law Firms to the Vault Guide to Schmoozing. Vault’s clients include Fortune 1000 advertisers and recruiters, the country’s top universities and graduate schools.
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