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by Vault Law Editors | September 15, 2020


Vault is pleased to announce our 2021 Best Law Firms to Work For, Diversity, and Summer Associate Program rankings.

For the third straight year, O’Melveny & Myers LLP is Vault’s Best Law Firm to Work For. O’Melveny earned a score of 9.360, leading the No. 2 firm—Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP by 0.179 points. The two are in good company in the top 10, which includes four new firms for 2021: Eversheds Sutherland (US) LLP; Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP; Patterson Belknap Webb & Tyler LLP; and Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP.

Vault’s Top 10 Best Law Firms to Work For are:

  1. O’Melveny & Myers LLP
  2. Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP
  3. Ropes & Gray LLP
  4. Clifford Chance US LLP
  5. Eversheds Sutherland (US) LLP
  6. Paul Hastings LLP
  7. Latham & Watkins LLP
  8. Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP
  9. Patterson Belknap Webb & Tyler LLP
  10. Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP


O’Melveny earned a top 10 spot in all but one of Vault’s 17 quality of life rankings for 2021. Associates at the firm describe their colleagues asfriendly, smart, and funny” and “reasonable in their expectations.” One O'Melveny associate shared that “The firm's culture could not be better. It is an incredibly friendly and warm place to work. …”

“According to our survey results, among the top reasons associates remain at their law firms are quality of work, firm culture, and work-life balance,” said Mary Kate Sheridan, Vault’s Senior Law Editor. “It seems O’Melveny has prioritized these and other quality of life factors, and its associates have responded loud and clear, year after year.”

Vault’s Quality of Life Rankings

The Law Firm Quality of Life Rankings are derived from Vault’s Annual Associate Survey in which more than 20,000 associates rated and commented on various aspects of their work lives. This year’s Overall Best Law Firms to Work For rankings were calculated using a formula that weighs associate ratings in a dozen different areas: Overall Satisfaction (25%); Firm Culture (10%); Hours (10%); Compensation (10%); Quality of Work (10%); Business Outlook (5%); Career Outlook (5%); Associate/Partner Relations (5%); Transparency (5%); Formal and Informal Training (5%); Pro Bono (5%); and Overall Diversity (5%).

Vault Introduces New Wellness Ranking

In addition to the Overall Best Law Firm to Work For ranking, Vault’s Quality of Life rankings include 16 subcategories. This year, Vault introduced a new ranking: Wellness. Associates were asked to rate their firms’ efforts regarding attorney wellness on a 10-point scale. Of all of the eligible firms, two received scores of “9” or higher: O’Melveny ranked No. 1 for Wellness with a score of 9.251, and Orrick ranked No. 2 for Wellness with a score of 9.066.

“The legal industry is known for having high rates of depression and substance abuse, and there has been a greater focus in recent years on providing more resources for lawyers to assist with both mental and physical health,” said Sheridan. “Among the wellness resources associates described in our survey are mental health counseling, on-site medical care, meditation apps, exercise classes and/or gym reimbursement, on-site massages, and healthy snacks. Some also highlighted flexibility as key.”

Of the remaining quality of life categories, five saw shakeups at the top: Gibson Dunn claimed the No. 1 spot in Business Outlook; O’Melveny claimed the No. 1 spot in Informal Training, Mentoring, & Sponsorship; Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz claimed the No. 1 spot in Selectivity; Orrick claimed the No. 1 spot in Technology & Innovation; and Munger Tolles & Olson LLP claimed the No. 1 spot in Transparency.

The No. 1 firms in Vault’s Quality of Life rankings are:

Six Firms Reach Top 10 In Every Diversity Category

In this year’s 2021 diversity rankings, one firm stood out from the rest—for the second year in a row, O’Melveny took the crown as the No.1-ranked firm in every diversity category. The rankings also saw a particularly strong showing from five additional firms that placed in the top 10 in all five diversity categories: Carlton Fields, P.A.; Constangy Brooks, Smith & Prophete, LLP; Eversheds Sutherland; Ropes & Gray; and White & Case LLP.

Vault produces rankings in four individual diversity categories: Diversity for Individuals with DisabilitiesDiversity for LGBTQ+ Individuals, Diversity for Women, and Racial & Ethnic Diversity. To create our Overall Diversity ranking, Vault averages the ratings from these four categories. Like our other rankings, the diversity rankings reflect the opinions and perceptions of associates, not diversity statistics.

O’Melveny, Clifford Chance, and White & Case Sit Atop Vault’s Summer Program Rankings

O’Melveny has reclaimed its No. 1 ranking for Overall Best Summer Associate Program and also has maintained its No. 1 ranking for Best Summer Associate Programs for Career Development. The firm tied at No. 1 with White & Case for Best Summer Associate Program for Social Experiences, with both firms earning a score of 9.857. Clifford Chance US LLP ranked No. 1 for Best Summer Programs for Attorney Interactions, jumping from No. 7 in the 2020 rankings.

“Vault’s Summer Associate Program rankings are unique in that they are not based on summer associate ratings of the most recent summer program,” said Sheridan. “Instead, Vault asks current associates to reflect back on their experiences as summer associates, which provides a valuable perspective on how well a summer program prepared summer associates for life as associates.”

Vault asked junior associates who participated in their current firm’s summer associate program to rate their experiences on a scale of 1 to 10 in six different areas. From those ratings, we ranked the best summer associate programs in three categories: Attorney Interactions (based on associates’ scores for meaningful interactions with firm attorneys); Career Development (giving equal weight to associates’ scores for substantive assignments, training and mentoring, and effective preparation for life as an associate); and Social Experiences (giving equal weight to associates’ scores for the quality of events and satisfaction with firm-sponsored social opportunities and social interactions). The Overall Best Summer Associate Program ranking reflects the average of all six individual ratings (attorney interactions, substantive assignments, training & mentoring, preparation for associate life, quality of events, and satisfaction with firm-sponsored social opportunities and social interactions).

Vault Law Launches Its New App

Vault is thrilled to announce the launch of the new Vault Law app to coincide with the release of the 2021 Vault Law Rankings. The Vault Law app is a valuable resource for navigating a legal career path and preparing for law firm interviews. Among the app’s features are:

  • Vault Law Rankings: Including the Vault Law 100, Best Law Firms by Practice Area, Best Law Firms by Region, Best Law Firms to Work For and Best Midsize Law Firms to Work For, Best Law Firms for Diversity, and Best Summer Associate Programs, as well as Vault’s Top 150 Under 150 list.
  • Law Firm Profiles: Including firm stats, firm overview, associate reviews, summer program data, and more.
  • Practice Area Section: Including practice overviews and attorney Q&As.
  • Law Firm Comparative Tool: Allowing users to compare up to five law firms side by side.

The Vault Law app will be an indispensable tool for candidates narrowing a list of target firms for OCI bidding, researching firms in preparation for interviews, quickly reviewing details in the moments before OCI interviews or hospitality suite visits, and readying themselves for callbacks.

“For years, Vault has been a crucial career resource for law students, and we are excited we can now say ‘there’s an app for that’ when it comes to researching law firms and preparing for interviews,” said Shelley Awe, Vault’s Manager of Law School Engagement. “Today’s law students, like the rest of us, spend a lot of time on their phones—so we wanted Vault’s resources available to them on the mobile platform too.”

Currently, the Vault Law app is available exclusively to students at Vault Campus partner law schools. It is accessible through both the Apple and Google Play app stores—search for “Vault Law.”

About Vault Career Intelligence

Vault, an Infobase Company, is the most comprehensive and trusted resource for law students and laterals to research law firms. Vault’s law firm rankings and profiles deliver the insider perspective and essential information candidates need to make successful career decisions. Each year, Vault surveys thousands of associates to understand what life is like for attorneys at the nation’s top law firms. Vault ranks law firms by prestige, region, and practice area as well as top firms for quality of life using its annual survey results. Additionally, Vault publishes other valued resources including the Vault Guide to Summer Associate Programs and Interviewing, Vault’s Guide to Legal Practice Areas, the Vault Guide to First Year of Law School, and Law Firm Diversity Profiles. This year, Vault also released the Vault Guide to Navigating Your Legal Career in the Time of Coronavirus. Through Vault’s law school platform, thousands of students from nearly 100 partnering law schools across the country have unlimited access to this critical information.


Mary Kate Sheridan, Vault’s Senior Law Editor —


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