Vault has released its 2020 Best Midsize Law Firms to Work For, and Bookoff McAndrews PLLC has claimed the top spot, jumping from its prior ranking at No. 4. Bookoff McAndrews’ score increased from 8.666 last year to 8.930 this year. The No. 2 firm, Susman Godfrey LLP, achieved a score of 8.928, giving Bookoff McAndrews a very tight lead of only .002 points.
Vault’s Midsize Quality of Life rankings include a Top 25 ranking of the Best Midsize Law Firms to Work for, as well as rankings for ten additional subcategories.
The Top 10 Best Midsize Law Firms to Work For based on Vault’s Annual Associate Survey for 2020 are:
- Bookoff McAndrews PLLC
- Susman Godfrey LLP
- Nutter, McClennan & Fish, LLP
- Greenberg Glusker Fields Claman & Machtinger LLP
- Wilkinson Walsh + Eskovitz
- Ahmad, Zavitsanos, Anaipakos, Alavi & Mensing P.C. (AZA)
- MoloLamken LLP
- Downey Brand LLP
- Greenspoon Marder
- Marshall, Gerstein & Borun LLP
Vault’s Midsize Quality of Life Rankings
Vault’s Midsize Quality of Life Rankings are derived from Vault’s Annual Associate Survey in which nearly 20,000 associates rated and commented on various aspects of their work lives. Earlier this summer, we released our Quality of Life Rankings based on feedback from associates at large law firms. The Midsize Quality of Life Rankings focus on responses from associates at firms with 200 attorneys or fewer. These firms range from nationally renowned boutiques to midsize full-service practices—and represent all regions of the country.
The Best Midsize Firms to Work For ranking was calculated using a formula that weighs associate ratings in 11 different areas: Overall Satisfaction (25%); Firm Culture (10%); Hours (10%); Compensation (10%); Quality of Work (10%); Informal Training, Mentoring & Sponsorship (10%); Business Outlook (5%); Career Outlook (5%); Associate/Partner Relations (5%); Leadership Transparency (5%); and Formal Training (5%).
2020: The Year of Bookoff McAndrews and Susman Godfrey
Bookoff McAndrews and Susman Godfrey were kings of Vault’s Midsize Quality of Life rankings this year. Bookoff McAndrews placed in all but one of the Quality of Life rankings and claimed a spot among the Top 10 in eight individual Quality of Life categories—Compensation, Career Outlook, Diversity, Firm Culture, Hours, Quality of Work, Satisfaction, and Technology & Innovation (for which it ranked No. 1)—in addition to its reign at the top of the Best to Work For list.
As one associate at Bookoff McAndrews shares, “The people and firm culture are second to none. Everyone is genuinely nice and willing to help each other.”
Susman Godfrey, meanwhile, claimed more No. 1 spots in this year’s rankings than any other firm—the firm is now the leader for Career Outlook, Compensation, Satisfaction, and Selectivity (on top of the firm’s previously released Vault No. 1 ranking for Best Litigation Boutique). The firm’s associates describe Susman Godfrey as “friendly, collegial, [and] helpful,” and note that, “Promotion to partnership is a real opportunity for every associate.”
Vault Adds Career Outlook and Technology & Innovation Rankings for 2020
This year, Vault introduced two new rankings for Midsize Quality of Life: Career Outlook and Technology & Innovation.
Associates were asked to rate their current career outlook, including promotion potential and/or exit opportunities on a scale of 1 to 10 (with 1 being worst possible outlook and 10 being strongest possible outlook).
“When a law student, lateral, or clerk selects a firm, they are making a major investment in their career,” says Sheridan. “Obviously, they want that investment to pay off. The Career Outlook ranking provides a glimpse into how associates feel about their careers once they are already working at a firm, which is quite valuable.”
For Technology & Innovation, associates were asked to rate their satisfaction with their firms’ technology in terms of work efficiency, remote working, and innovation on a scale of 1 to 10 (with 1 being completely unsatisfied and 10 being completely satisfied).
“With more and more people working remotely and across offices, technology is becoming more important than ever for associate satisfaction,” said Sheridan. “For midsize firms, especially, technology can be a major differentiator among firms that may not have the same resources as their BigLaw counterparts and must to decide how much to prioritize technology.”
Expanded Rankings for 2020
In addition to publishing two new ranking categories, we have expanded the rankings to include more firms, as participation in Vault’s annual Associate Survey continues to grow. This year, the Midsize Best to Work For ranking was extended from the top 20 to the top 25 firms, and all of the subcategories now include 20 firms.
Interestingly, only one midsize firm reclaimed its No. 1 spot in a Quality of Life ranking this year—Susman Godfrey retained the top spot for Selectivity. All of the other rankings saw new leaders.
The No. 1 firms for each Quality of Life Subcategory for 2020 are:
- Career Outlook: Susman Godfrey
- Compensation: Susman Godfrey
- Diversity: Riley Safer Holmes & Cancila
- Firm Culture: Greenberg Glusker
- Hours: Greenberg Glusker
- Pro Bono: Riley Safer Holmes & Cancila
- Quality of Work: Smyser Kaplan & Veselka, LLP
- Satisfaction: Susman Godfrey
- Selectivity: Susman Godfrey
- Technology & Innovation: Bookoff McAndrews
New Firms Join Vault’s Top 150 Under 150
Vault has also rolled out its updated Top 150 Under 150 list for 2020. Now in its fifth year, the Top 150 Under 150 is Vault’s list of leading small and midsize law firms with 150 lawyers or fewer. Vault created this list to recognize outstanding small and midsize law firms that deliver big results.
Newcomers to the Top 150 Under 150 for 2020 are:
- Brooks, Pierce, McLendon, Humphrey & Leonard, LLP
- Hall & Evans LLC
- McAndrews, Held & Malloy, Ltd.
- Miller & Martin PLLC
- Parker, Hudson, Rainer & Dobbs LLP
- Patterson + Sheridan L.L.P.
- Poyner Spruill LLP
- Riley Safer Holmes & Cancila LLP
- Selendy & Gay PLLC
- Sills Cummis & Gross P.C.
- Smith, Anderson, Blount, Dorsett, Mitchell & Jernigan, LLP
- Stris & Maher LLP
- Tonkon Torp LLP
- Wyrick Robbins Yates & Ponton LLP
“Just because a firm isn’t a megafirm doesn’t mean that it isn’t working on interesting, cutting-edge matters,” says Sheridan. “In fact, some lawyers feel they gain high-level experience sooner at a small or midsize firm, and some feel these firms offer a superior quality of life. Our Top 150 Under 150 isn’t a ranking; it’s a recognition of some of the nation’s notable small and midsize firms. For many candidates, these firms will deliver exactly the kind of career experience they are seeking.”
To determine the Top 150 Under 150, Vault first developed a list of the best-known and most sought-after U.S. firms with fewer than 150 attorneys. Our editorial and research teams pored through Vault survey data, news stories, trade journals, and other legal publications; spoke with lawyers in the field; and reviewed other published rankings. Vault editors also assessed each firm for prestige, quality of life, and professional growth opportunities and then narrowed down the results to come up with a list of 150 law firms known for providing top-notch service and delivering big results.
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