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by Vault Law Editors | August 10, 2010


For the second straight year, Ropes & Gray ranks as the No. 1 "Best Firm to Work For." (Check out the full 2011 "Best Firms to Work For" rankings.) This is a testament to the way Ropes & Gray manages—according to a broad consensus of firm insiders—to combine a high level practice with a collegial and respectful culture. According to one associate, “There just is no better place to be. The partners are friendly, smart, supportive and a lot of fun to work with. The variety and caliber of the works is also top drawer. I could not be happier.” Ropes & Gray was also No. 1 for Hours, Firm Culture, and Informal Training.

For many (most?), "quality of life" considerations outweigh prestige. To determine the Best Firms to Work For, we analyzed our initial list of 166 firms using a formula that weighed the most relevant categories for an overall quality of life ranking.  The rankings were calculated using the following formula:

40 percent satisfaction
10 percent hours 10 percent pay
10 percent associate/partner relations
5 percent diversity (overall)
5 percent formal training
5 percent informal training
5 percent pro bono
10 percent business outlook

By its nature, the list is based on the subjective perceptions of insiders—some of whom obviously may be biased in favor (or against) their firm.

Here are the No. 1 firms in each Quality of Life category (along with insider quotes on each subject).

Satisfaction: Williams & Connolly

“I love working here, I can't say it enough. Great assignments, great co-workers, great partners, no face-time requirement or minimum hours expectation.”

Firm Culture: Ropes & Gray

“Lawyers do socialize together. It is a large firm and lots of people, so nearly everyone has good friends at the firm. Politics is not a big area of discussion in the Boston office, compared to, say, the Red Sox. Very collegial, no yelling (or any demonstration of anger) permitted.”

Hours: Ropes & Gray

“I come in, put my 8-9 hours in, then go home.”

Compensation: Wachtell Lipton Rosen & Katz

“Even in light of the recession, our compensation continues to exceed peer firms—shows the firm's commitment to rewarding hard work, particularly on the associate level.”

Office Space: Fitzpatrick, Cella, Harper & Scinto

“Our new office space is beautiful and recently won a design award. Each associate has their own office and the decor is modern yet comfortable.”

Associate/Partner Relations: Williams & Connolly

“The partners are a wonderful group for whom to work. They are smart, solicitous of young attorneys' opinions, and willing to give you great work and client exposure.”

Formal Training: Kirkland & Ellis

“Incredible dedication to training of young associates - Kirkland Institute of Trial Advocacy is an unbelievable opportunity to truly learn the skills of a litigator in a ‘practice’ environment.”

Informal Training: Ropes & Gray

“I have several partners who have clearly made it their job to be mentors. This has been critical to my development, and is something the Ropes leadership encourages.”

Pro Bono: Debevoise & Plimpton

“It is true that the Firm's foundational commitment to public services remains to this day and that we are always doing cutting edge pro bono work. Our pro bono isn't lip service; it is real and it is valued.”

Green: Stoel Rives

“Two years ago, the firm removed trash cans from all attorney offices. The firm has an active recycling and composting program; it has also replaced disposable flatware and plates with reusable ones and added dishwashers on multiple floors. The firm provides bike lockers and office wardrobe closets for those who bike. In addition, everyone is offered free annual TriMet passes to encourage individuals to decrease their carbon footprints.”

-posted by brian


Filed Under: Law