Skip to Main Content
by Vault Law Editors | April 07, 2009


Concurrent with the Big Dance, Abovethelaw ran a March Madness tournament to determine “Which BigLaw Firm is Safest?”  The brackets were based on Vault’s own 32 most prestigious firms.  There were quite a few upsets along the way, and only one No. 1 seed, Wachtell, made it into the Final Four.  The other three semi-finalists were Paul Weiss, Covington and Williams & Connolly.  Litigation-focused, DC-connected, and fiscally conservative (none of this ‘bonus’ nonsense) W&C was ultimately crowned the champ.
Here are four representative quotes from our new “Business Outlook” question from the (ongoing) 2009 Law Firm Associate Survey.  See if you can match the firm to the associate quote in response to “What do you think is the overall business outlook for your firm? Talk about any strengths and weaknesses in competition, employee morale, etc., that would be helpful for someone considering employment at this firm.”  Answers below.
A. “We generally don't do corporate work, and there's always litigation going on. Unlike many other firms, the firm doesn't have far-flung offices in other parts of the world that are now unprofitable. And we've never really been a firm that flaunts wealth around anyway, so the past conservative course seems to be serving us well now.”

B. “Employee morale is quite high here. The firm paid out handsome bonuses in 2008, and has already advised on several major deals in 2009 and is poised to take several different matters to trial. Litigation especially is very busy at the moment. At a time when other firms might be on financial life support, [our firm] aced its physical.”

C. “Morale is so low it's impossible to get any work done--associates constantly check blogs and speculate. Many rumors are unfounded and cause undue stress. We are all frantically looking for jobs.”

D. “Much of [our] work revolves around the federal government and "bet the company" litigation, both of which are more likely to expand than shrink during this economic downturn. Though a few discrete practice areas might experience a slow-down, the firm as a whole is well-positioned to weather the recession and even grow due to expanding government programs and close ties with key members of the new Administration.”

E. “We are damned good in throwing everything we've got at a crisis.”

-posted by brian


A: W&C
B: Wachtell
C: Real answer from a non Final Four, but “Top 32” firm
D: Covington
E: Paul Weiss


Filed Under: Law