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Vault Law 100

Associates across the nation rank the prestige of their peer firms.
Survey Methodology

For the third straight year, Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz (No. 2 in Vault's rankings for the first five years) has repeated as No. 1. Cravath, Swaine & Moore, the only other firm to ever hold the top spot in our prestige rankings, is No. 2 for the third year running. The most striking thing about the 2006 Vault top 10 is its continuity: with the sole exception of Latham & Watkins and Cleary Gottlieb swapping places (Latham went from 8th to 7th, Cleary from 7th to 8th), the first 10 spots are identical to the 2006 list.

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. This year, our list was made up of 156 law firms. We asked these 156 law firms to distribute a password-protected online survey to their associates. In total 15,350 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, D.C., Miami, Cleveland, Seattle, Orlando, Phoenix and Atlanta, among many other domestic locations, not to mention Hong Kong, London, Paris and beyond. The online survey asked attorneys to score each of the 156 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.

Think it's easy getting 15,350 associates to take our survey? Think again. Lawyers are busy people, and many are stressed out as it is without having to take 30 minutes out of their day to work on a non-billable project – especially with the increased emphasis on racking up billable hours. Despite it all, an incredible amount of associates came through for us and helped us produce the Vault Top 100. Associates, many thanks for your insight and patience.

2008 Vault Law 100

SCORE 8.778
2007 Rank 1
SCORE 8.731
2007 Rank 2
SCORE 8.222
2007 Rank 3
SCORE 8.197
2007 Rank 4
SCORE 8.125
2007 Rank 5
SCORE 8.113
2007 Rank 6
SCORE 7.757
2007 Rank 7
SCORE 7.710
2007 Rank 8
SCORE 7.668
2007 Rank 9
SCORE 7.511
2007 Rank 11
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