2022 Vault Rankings
- Pro Bono#20
At a Glance
“Commitment to pro bono.”
“The people at the firm are the best part: They are smart, supportive, kind, and team players.”
“Long and unpredictable hours.”
“Lack of transparency in firm decision-making.”
“It's extremely difficult to make partner, but that's something the firm is very upfront about.”
Skadden is one of the most profitable and well-known law firms in the world. It was the first law firm to report $1 billion in annual revenue—now an industry brass ring. While the firm may be best known for its M&A prowess, it is an all-star across practice areas, boasting an army of about 1,700 lawyers around the globe.
If the Shoe Fits
Skadden was launched in 1948 by trio Marshall Skadden, Les Arps, and John Slate. Unlike many of the white shoe firms, Skadden wasn’t afraid to jump into proxy-fight work during the ’50s and ’60s, which set the stage for the hostile takeovers the firm handled in later years. Much of Skadden’s ethos can be attributed to Joe Flom, who started at Skadden six months after its 1948 founding. Flom participated in most of the major M&A deals of the ’70s and ’80s, establishing Skadden’s hard-nosed style and building a reputation for aggressive strategies. He also spearheaded the firm’s practice diversification efforts—Skadden now boasts top-notch capital markets; tax; white collar defense; appellate and international arbitration; commercial, securities, and products liability litigation groups; restructuring; antitrust, national security, intellectual property; and real estate, among countless others.
Brioche and Butter
Multifaceted as it is, Skadden’s forte is still M&A. Deals such as DuPont-Conoco, U.S. Steel-Marathon Oil, and—most notably—the 1989 takeover of RJR Nabisco launched Skadden into the top rung of American law firms. It’s not surprising that Skadden became the first law firm to handle over $1 trillion in global announced M&A deals in a single year (2015). The firm is a mainstay atop Vault’s M&A ranking (consistently snagging the No. 2 spot) and is regularly ranked in the top tier for M&A by Chambers USA, Chambers Global, U.S. News–Best Lawyers, and The Legal 500.
Don’t be deceived by Skadden’s M&A foundation—the firm’s litigators are first rate. The firm has been named a finalist for General Litigation in the New York Law Journal’s Litigation Department of the Year. It has also held the top spot in Vault’s Securities Litigation ranking since 2011 and was named Law Firm of the Year for Mergers and Acquisitions Litigation and Securities Litigation in 2020 by U.S. News — Best Lawyers. The firm was also named among BTI Consulting Group’s 2020 Fearsome Foursome—going up against Skadden litigators isn’t for the faint of heart.
Skadden’s Tax group assists clients in resolving large, complex, and global tax controversies, as well as handling tax investigations and defending tax-related class actions and professional liability disputes. The firm has consistently ranked No. 1 for Tax in Vault’s rankings.
Pro bono isn’t merely an afterthought at Skadden. In 2020, 71% of Skadden attorneys in the U.S. completed more than 20 hours of pro bono work. Not to mention, the firm has completed close to 2 million pro bono hours in the past 10 years. All pro bono hours count toward the firm’s 1,800-billable-hour target, which associates must meet to receive a bonus. According to the firm, Skadden utilizes a practice area model to drive efficiencies in its delivery of immigration-related pro bono legal services; as a result of its success, plans are underway to launch other pro bono projects following this model. The firm also offers public interest externship programs with the Legal Aid Society of New York; Legal Aid Society of Washington, DC; and Lawyers Alliance for New York. In addition, Skadden is a member and was instrumental in the formation of the Law Firm Antiracism Alliance.
Skadden will offer students the option to interview virtually and/or in-person.
In Summer 2021, our program was mostly administered virtually. Many offices offered summer associates the option of working in the office and/or participating in social events in or around the office. As in 2020, the remote component enabled us to offer a more intensive learning experience firmwide. Elements of our incoming associate training program were presented by Skadden attorneys to teach fundamental skills of successful Skadden lawyers. Summer associates worked on client assignments and pro bono matters, including those focused on COVID-relief initiatives and the fight against systemic racism. Relationships with attorneys were fostered through virtual and in-person events—Mentor Mondays, Wellness Wednesdays, demonstrations, affinity group events, viewing parties and “Skadclass” courses taught by Skadden attorneys on a wide array of passions and hobbies.
News & Awards
- DuPont in its $130 billion merger with Dow Chemical (one of history’s largest mergers), including securing clearance by the DOJ and approvals from the EU, China’s Ministry of Commerce, and several other jurisdictions.
- Johnson & Johnson in successfully defending against $5 billion in damages claims in a suit claiming the company’s baby powder caused ovarian cancer.
- Xiaomi in its $5.4 billion IPO and listing on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange—the first-ever Hong Kong offering to adopt a dual-class share structure and the first to list under a new regime for innovative technology companies.
- Amazon.com, Inc. in a victory in one of the largest transfer pricing cases in decades and the first involving e-commerce. In rejecting the IRS' attempt to assert over a billion dollars of additional tax liability, the U.S. Tax Court ruled that the government's approach was "arbitrary, capricious, and unreasonable."
From 2018 to 2020, Skadden served as defense counsel in more federal securities cases in the U.S. than any other firm and was active in the most jurisdictions among defense firms—Lex Machina’s Securities Litigation Report 2021
Firm of the Year and Seven ‘Practice Group of the Year’ Awards, 2020—Law360
Corporate and M&A Law Firm of the Year, 2021—U.S. News – Best Lawyers
Top 10 in Am Law’s A-List of the 20 most successful firms, 2020—The American Lawyer
Americas Tax Firm of the Year (the top prize—fourth straight year); Americas Tax Court Firm of the Year; North America Tax Firm of the Year (fourth straight year); and U.S. Tax Firm of the Year (third straight year), 2020—International Tax Review
Why Work Here
Located in 22 financial capitals across the globe, Skadden attorneys advise our clients on many of their most important and complex matters, the types of deals and cases that earn headlines, move markets and shape the law.
Working on such significant matters will accelerate your development, placing you ahead of the curve by preparing you with the breadth of knowledge necessary to understand clients' business strategies and find solutions to their most challenging legal dilemmas. The experience gained and impact made at Skadden will create ripple effects that will last your entire career. Let's begin to carve your path.
One Manhattan West
New York, NY 10001-8602
Phone: (212) 735-3000
Executive Partner: Eric J. Friedman
Hiring Partner: Gavin A. White
Total No. Attorneys (2021):
1.5K - 2K
No. of Partners Named 2021:
1st year: $205,000
2nd year: $215,000
3rd year: $240,000
4th year: $275,000
5th year: $305,000
6th year: $330,000
7th year: $350,000
8th year: $365,000
Summer Associate: $3,900/week
1L Scholar: $3,900/week
Senior Attorney Recruiting Manager
No. of U.S. Offices: 8
No. of International Offices: 14
Los Angeles, CA
New York, NY (HQ)
Palo Alto, CA
Wilmington, DE | Beijing
Energy and Infrastructure Projects
Executive Compensation and Benefits
Government Enforcement and White Collar Crime
Intellectual Property and Technology
Intellectual Property Litigation
International Litigation and Arbitration
Labor and Employment Law
Mass Torts, Insurance, and Consumer Litigation
Mergers and Acquisitions
*See firm website for complete list of practice areas and industries.