2021 Vault Rankings
At a Glance
“Go-to firm for complex matters.”
“The compensation with no billable-hour pressure.”
“I feel truly at home with the people I work with and mentored by those more senior.”
“With responsibility comes pressure.”
“There is an ‘always-on’ culture.”
About Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP
A Wall Street institution, Simpson Thacher houses elite teams in M&A, banking, capital markets, private equity, and litigation. With more than 900 lawyers across 10 global offices, Simpson Thacher has long held its spot among the most elite law firms in the world.
Hear Them Roar
In 1884, three Columbia Law grads—John Woodruff Simpson, Thomas Thacher, and William Milo Barnum—hung a shingle in lower Manhattan. It didn’t take them long to leave their mark in the history books, jumping right in to the railroad reorganizations of the 1880s and having a hand in some of the most important deals relating to U.S. infrastructure—for example, advising none other than General Electric as it set up power and light companies, setting up the American Locomotive Company, and structuring the American Gas and Electric Company. These early years were but a preview of the sophisticated work that was to come.
Racking Up Rankings
With top 10 rankings in six of Vault’s transactional practice area rankings—Private Equity, Securities/Capital Markets, Banking & Financial Services, General Corporate Practice, M&A, and Project Finance—Simpson Thacher sits pretty upon a corporate throne. The firm has one of the world’s premier M&A practices, with a unique strength in all aspects of private equity. Simpson Thacher’s award-winning corporate practice leads front page deals involving M&As, private fund formation and investments, equity and debt capital markets offerings, joint ventures, project financings and infrastructure development, structured financings, syndicated loans, debt restructurings and bankruptcies, privatizations, and real estate transactions. The firm counts AEP, Aramark, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Blackstone, First Reserve, Hellman & Friedman, Hilton Hotels, Kohlberg Kravis & Roberts (KKR), Mars, Microsoft, Silver Lake Partners, The Carlyle Group, and Weight Watchers among its clients.
While their corporate counterparts are making deals, the firm’s litigators are making their own headlines. Simpson Thacher is among the top 30 firms in Vault’s General Commercial Litigation ranking and top 10 firms in Vault’s Securities Litigation ranking. The firm’s securities litigators have represented the most prominent financial institutions and corporations in securities fraud and financial-related litigation, including Alibaba, Best Buy, Deutsche Bank, JPMorgan Chase, Morgan Stanley, Pfizer, SeaWorld, Spotify, TD Bank, Travelers, Twitter, and UBS. Simpson also brings its A-game when it comes to white collar work. Among the areas that its Government and Internal Investigations attorneys handle are financial fraud, FCPA, health care fraud, insurance fraud, violations of the FCA, anti-money laundering violations, and much more.
Ready, Ready, Ready
If there is one thing associates at Simpson Thacher can be sure of, it’s that they have the support they need to develop in their legal careers. First years participate in the firm’s innovative new training program called STBReady, which is taught in collaboration with Columbia Business School. The program covers business and financial literacy, as well as the kind of work associates will do in their specific practice areas and industry-specific knowledge and techniques. The training also helps associates hone their teamwork, efficiency, knowledge sharing, and technology use.
Simpson has performed exceptionally well throughout the COVID-19 crisis. We successfully transitioned to a work-at-home environment, ensuring the health and safety of the Simpson community, and quickly adjusted to the technological challenges of a remote workplace. Our clients have kept us engaged and busy, addressing new crisis-related matters, while continuing to manage existing litigation and deals.
In addition, we pivoted to a virtual summer program with a varied curriculum to provide a safe and meaningful experience for our summer associates. In keeping with the Firm’s deep commitment to community service, we also implemented the 2020 Simpson Service Program, providing a $7,500 stipend to aid our summer associates’ efforts to serve communities and populations in need through volunteer, pro bono and community service opportunities. At the conclusion of the program, the 2020 Simpson Thacher summer associates will complete over 6,500 service hours, helping communities in need across the globe.
News & Awards
Simpson Thacher has a long history of advocating for racial justice and equality, exemplified by a recent victory securing a groundbreaking consent decree in Mississippi to help prevent racially motivated policing practices. While Simpson attorneys worked for years on this vital impact litigation, the firm has also recently added new initiatives that align with our long-standing commitment to combat racism, including:
- Hosting workshops addressing topics such as allyship and micro-aggressions, and organizing virtual gatherings across all offices focused on the firm’s diversity, equity, and inclusion mission.
- Continuing to lead significant pro bono projects, expanding the firm’s traditional efforts to include policy-making and community organizing.
- Serving as a founding member of the newly formed Law Firm Antiracism Alliance, an organization dedicated to supporting communities of color and combatting structural racism in the law, legal profession, and legal institutions.
- Donating an additional $500,000+ throughout 2020 to organizations that align with these objectives.
Throughout the pandemic, Simpson provided critical restructuring and refinancing counsel to a wide range of businesses, ensuring that Simpson’s clients’ doors remained open. Recently, the firm counseled J.P. Morgan, Goldman Sachs, and BofA Securities in $6.6 billion in private securities offerings by Carnival Corporation, the world’s largest leisure travel company.
As the firm evolves to meet ever more complex client needs, Simpson is investing heavily in Knowledge Management and Practice Innovation. In March, the firm hired a leading Chief Knowledge & Innovation Officer with a mandate to adopt new technologies to enhance lawyer efficiencies, building a powerful framework to increase junior associates’ access to substantive work earlier in their careers.
Simpson Thacher continually refreshes learning opportunities to offer best-in-class training to enable the firm’s attorneys to contribute meaningfully at every stage of their professional development. Building on STBReady, an orientation program for first-year associates introduced in 2018, the firm launched STBAdvance for fifth-year associates in February 2020. The multi-day program provides leadership, management, and business development training, aiming to help senior associates serve as strategic thought partners to clients and firm leaders.
- Simpson’s Private Funds Practice advised on 5 of the 10 largest global private equity fund closings in 2019 (the most of any firm); the firm’s clients included Blackstone/GSO, Carlyle, KKR, Silver Lake, Lexington Partners, BC Partners, EQT, and Hellman & Friedman.
- A global technology powerhouse, Simpson is leading the charge with respect to digital infrastructure transactions that will dramatically reshape the way business is done. The firm recently represented First Data in its $22 billion merger with Fiserv.
- Simpson successfully resolved high-profile securities litigations and a related SEC investigation against Alibaba concerning its $25 billion IPO.
- Law Firm of the Year in North America (Transactions) and Law Firm of the Year in EMEA (Fund Formation), 2019—Private Equity International
- Practice Group of the Year in: Capital Markets, Fund Formation, Private Equity, Real Estate, Technology, 2019—Law360
- Finance Litigation Department of the Year, 2017 & 2019—New York Law Journal
- National Practice Group of the Year in Securities Litigation and Insurance Litigation, 2018-2020—Benchmark Litigation
- Pro Bono Firm of the Year, 2020—Benchmark Litigation
425 Lexington Avenue
New York, NY 10017
Phone: (212) 455-2000
Chairman of Executive Committee: William R. Dougherty
Hiring Partners: Rajib Chanda, Brooke Cucinella, and Peter Gilman
Total No. Attorneys 2020:
1K - 1.5K
No. of Partners Named 2020:
All U.S. offices
1st year: $190,000
2nd year: $200,000
3rd year: $220,000
4th year: $255,000
5th year: $280,000
6th year: $305,000
7th year: $325,000
8th year: $340,000
Summer Associate: $3,660/week
Chief Legal Talent Officer
No. of U.S. Offices: 5
No. of International Offices: 5
Los Angeles, CA
New York, NY (HQ)
Palo Alto, CA
Banking and Credit
Executive Compensations and Employee Benefits
Government and Internal Investigations
International Regulatory and Compliance
Labor and Employment
Mergers and Acquisitions–Corporate M&A and Private Equity
Private Capital and Special Situations
Public Company Advisory Practice
Real Estate and REITs
Restructuring and Bankruptcy
*See firm website for complete list of practice areas and industries.