2020 Vault Rankings
At a Glance
“All of my colleagues are intelligent, driven, and cooperative.”
“The prestige and quality of work.”
“Firm commitment to pro bono work.”
“Lack of clarity about promotion opportunities.”
About Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP and Affiliates
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 around 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 restructuring; corporate finance; capital markets; tax; intellectual property; real estate; white-collar defense; and commercial, securities, and products liability litigation groups, 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 was named the New York Law Journal’s 2018 Litigation Department of the Year. It has also held the top spot in Vault’s Securities Litigation ranking since 2011, and the firm’s White Collar practice has been named The American Lawyer’s 2018 White Collar/Regulatory Litigation Department of the Year and a Law 360 2018 White Collar Group of the Year.
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 after-thought at Skadden. According to the firm, in 2018, the average pro bono hours per Skadden attorney in the U.S. was 149.6 hours. All pro bono hours count toward the firm’s 1,800-billable-hour requirement, which associates must meet to receive a bonus. 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.
News & Awards
Skadden represented Twenty-First Century Fox in its $71.3 billion acquisition by the Walt Disney Company and the related pre-merger spin-off of certain businesses, as well as in connection with its response to an unsolicited acquisition proposal by Comcast.
Skadden represented BlackRock in securing a dismissal on all counts of an excessive fee case after an eight-day bench trial in federal court. The case, which is one of the largest—if not the largest—cases involving claims against mutual funds, was brought by investors in two of BlackRock’s largest mutual funds. Plaintiffs alleged that the funds paid BlackRock excessive compensation for its services as the investment manager to the funds in violation of the Investment Company Act of 1940. They sought up to $1.55 billion in damages.
Skadden represented Société Générale in successfully resolving long-standing investigations by (i) the DOJ and CFTC into certain of its interbank offered rate submissions, and (ii) the DOJ and French Parquet National Financier into violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and French anti-corruption laws in connection with historical conduct involving Libyan counterparties. The settlements are highly unusual in that they combine unrelated investigations into a single deferred prosecution agreement, and this is the first time the DOJ and the PNF have cooperated in reaching coordinated resolutions in a corruption case.
Skadden represented Xiaomi in its $5.4 billion IPO and listing on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. This is the first-ever Hong Kong offering to adopt a dual-class share structure and the first to list under Hong Kong’s new regime for innovative technology companies.
- 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.
- Sprint and Clearwire in successfully fending off litigation challenging their $3.6 billion merger, resulting in the largest-ever appraisal defense win.
- FedEx in a criminal trial in which the dismantling of government witnesses on cross-examination led to the DOJ dropping its entire case.
- SunEdison, one of the world’s largest renewable energy developers, in its Chapter 11 case (the largest filed in 2016) and its successful emergence from bankruptcy.
- M&A Law Firm of the Year (2018 Chambers USA Awards, 2018 Asia Legal Awards)
- A Member of the Litigation “Fearsome Foursome” for the Eighth Consecutive Year (BTI Consulting 2019)
- Law Firm of the Year for Corporate Law & Tax Law (S. News – Best Lawyers 2019 Best Law Firms Survey)
- Overall Winner for Litigation/Dispute Resolution (American Lawyer Global Legal Awards 2018)
- Most Innovative National Firm of the Year (2019 International Financial Law Review Asia Awards)
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.
Four Times Square
New York, NY 10036
Phone: (212) 735-3000
Executive Partner: Eric J. Friedman
Hiring Partner: Gavin A. White
Total No. Attorneys 2019:
1.5K - 2K
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: $3,700/week
1L Scholar: $3,700/week
Summer Associate Offers:
171 out of 171 (2Ls) (2018)
No. of Summer Associates:
203 total (171 2Ls; 32 1Ls) (2018)
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 specific practice areas and industries.