2019 Vault Rankings
- New York#5
“Quality of work and level of responsibility”
“The firm has a very social and collegial culture”
“Prestige. Everyone knows who Skadden is whether you work in BigLaw or not.”
“Lack of transparency regarding advancement”
“The hours and market compensation”
“Extremely low prospects at partnership; many groups do not make counsel”
Giant Among Mortals
Kind of like Oprah or Beyoncé, Skadden is a giant among mortals. Known by its one name, it sits atop its world, continuously topping the AmLaw 100 as one of the most profitable law firms. It was the first law firm to report $1 billion in annual revenue—now an industry brass ring. But it’s not just about the money or numbers—Skadden consistently draws top accolades from the most esteemed rankings: Chambers, The American Lawyer, The National Law Journal, and the Financial Times. The firm also gets regular annual kudos from several international rankings and industry-specific publications, such as Corporate Board Member’s ranking of “America’s Best Corporate Law Firms.”
A Consummate Corporate Practice
Much of Skadden’s ethos can be attributed to Joe Flom, who started at Skadden three months after its 1948 founding (legend has it that Flom’s early wages came from a weekly pinochle pot) and whose name graced the door a mere 13 years later. Flom—who was active in the firm almost up until his passing, at 87, in February 2011—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. Flom also spearheaded the firm’s practice diversification efforts from its original M&A base. Skadden now boasts top-notch restructuring, corporate finance, tax, intellectual property, real estate, white-collar defense, and commercial, securities, and products liability litigation groups, among countless others. One example of the expansion of the firm's strengths: According to statistics from Lex Machina, Skadden served as defense counsel in more federal securities cases in the U.S. from 2009 to 2016 than any other firm.
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. Recent notable M&A deals handled by the firm include representing Express Scripts Holding Company in its $67 billion acquisition by the Cigna Corporation, Twenty-First Century Fox, Inc. in its $66 billion acquisition by the Walt Disney Company, Rockwell Collins, Inc. in its $30 billion acquisition by United Technologies Corporation, and Westfield Corporation in its $25 billion acquisition by Unibail-Rodamco SE. It's not surprising then that Skadden became the first law firm to ever handle over $1 trillion in global announced M&A deals in a single year (2015) and that it's consistently ranked in the top tier for M&A by Chambers USA, Chambers Global, U.S. News–Best Lawyers, and The Legal 500. The firm was ranked first by value in 2017 global and U.S. announced M&A league tables published by Bloomberg, Mergermarket, and Thomson Reuters. In 2016, Chambers USA gave the firm an Award for Excellence as the nation's top M&A practice.
Litigation: Bigger Is Better
Don’t be deceived by Skadden’s M&A foundation—the firm’s litigators are first-rate. A finalist in The American Lawyer’s 2017 Litigation Department of the Year competition and selected as its 2017 White Collar/Regulatory Litigation Department of the Year, the firm has a distinguished record of litigation achievements. Among other recent victories, the firm successfully advised E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Company on securing approval of its $130 billion merger with Dow Chemical Co. in one of the first megadeals to overcome antitrust concerns under the Trump administration. The firm also defended Sprint Corporation’s $3.6 billion buyout of Clearwire Corporation in a determination that represents, by far, the most dramatic downward departure from a deal price in the history of the Court of Chancery. Also, in a case of first impression expected to have a significant impact on litigation related to the increasingly global securities market, Skadden secured a Second Circuit Court of Appeals decision vacating class certification sought by plaintiffs against Brazilian oil giant Petrobras and Skadden’s clients, 13 underwriters of Petrobras’ global bond offerings.
Skadden also has been an MVP in recent high-profile sports litigation. The firm secured a complete victory on behalf of the 32 member clubs of the National Football League against a group of retired players who asserted fraud-based claims, eliminating potentially $1 billion in liability for the league; the ruling in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California creates a significant hurdle for future plaintiffs seeking redress for similar types of claims. In addition, the firm has been heavily involved in defending the University of North Carolina in class actions brought by former student-athletes who alleged that the university breached its contract with student-athletes by purportedly denying them a high-quality education. The firm also secured a complete victory on behalf of Saoud Al-Mohannadi, vice president of the Qatar Football Association and Asian Football Confederation, defeating charges brought by the Investigatory Chamber of the FIFA Ethics Committee, which alleged that Mr. Al-Mohannadi had been untruthful and uncooperative as a witness in an unrelated ethics investigation, and overturning sanctions imposed on him by the Ethics Committee.
Taxation With Representation
Skadden’s Tax Group advises on many of the most complex and noteworthy transactions — both domestic and cross-border, across all industries — and assists clients in resolving large, complex and global tax controversies. Ranked No. 1 for tax in Vault’s Law 100 rankings from 2010-18 (every year since the ranking’s inception), the group recently represented Amazon.com, Inc. in its U.S. Tax Court victory in one of the largest transfer pricing cases in decades and the first involving e-commerce. Also, in a high-profile, closely watched case with wide-reaching implications for multinational corporations, Skadden represented power management and global energy parts supplier Eaton Corporation in a U.S. Tax Court victory in the first case involving the court’s review of an IRS decision to retroactively cancel an advance pricing agreement. Clients also regularly turned to Skadden to handle sensitive tax investigations and to defend tax-related class actions and professional liability disputes.
IN THE NEWS
In the 2018 edition of Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business, Skadden had 32 practices included in Band 1, as well as 64 top-tier attorney rankings, the most among any law firm. This includes seven “Star Individual” rankings and 57 individual Band 1 rankings. Skadden also was recognized with an award for having the best US M&A practice.
Skadden received more Law360 2017 "Practice Group of the Year" awards than any other firm, earning the "Firm of the Year" designation. Skadden was honored with Practice Group of the Year awards in nine areas: Bankruptcy, Capital Markets, Energy, Insurance, International Arbitration, Mergers and Acquisitions, Securities, Tax, and Trials.
Skadden ranked first by value in 2017 global and U.S. M&A league tables published by Bloomberg, Mergermarket and Thomson Reuters. In other regional rankings, Skadden placed first in announced M&A deals by value for cross-border and South East Asia (Bloomberg); Americas (Mergermarket); and emerging markets and Middle East & North Africa (Thomson Reuters).
In the Financial Times’ 2017 North America “Innovative Lawyers” report, three Skadden matters—involving work for Sun Edison, Yahoo! and Social Capital Hedosophia Holdings—were recognized among the year’s most innovative deals. Skadden has had substantially more matters ranked in the FT report, since its 2010 inception, than any other firm.
In the 2017 edition of Who's Who Legal: Business Crime Defense, Skadden has more attorneys cited as leading lawyers globally than any other law firm, "showcasing the depth and breadth of its transatlantic offering." According to the publication, Skadden also "boasts the foremost white-collar crime team in the US." On the investigations side, Skadden was again named as having one of the top five practices worldwide in Global Investigations Review's "GIR 30" (Oct. 2017) a ranking of leading firms handling internal and government-led investigations. According to the publication, "Few competitors can match the breadth of Skadden's investigations capabilities."
For the seventh consecutive time, Skadden was named to the BTI Consulting Group's list of top litigation law firms. "The BTI Fearsome Five" included the five elite law firm litigation practices that general counsel would least want to face across the table in litigation. Based on 350 recent interviews with companies' leading legal decision-makers, BTI Litigation Outlook 2018 also noted Skadden as a Powerhouse in Class Actions, Complex Commercial Litigation, Complex Employment Litigation, IP Litigation, Product Liability Litigation, and Securities and Finance Litigation.
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.
- Skadden has more matters recognized for innovation than any other law firm in the history of the Financial Times’ U.S./North America “Innovative Lawyers” report.
- Named 2018 Litigation Department of the Year for Regulatory & White Collar by The American Lawyer
- Best in Chambers USA 2018 with 32 practices included in Band 1, as well as 64 top-tier attorney rankings, the most among any law firm.
- BTI "Litigation Outlook 2018": For the seventh consecutive time, Skadden was named to the BTI Consulting Group's list of top litigation law firms. "The BTI Fearsome Five" included the five elite law firm litigation practices that general counsel would least want to face across the table in litigation. Based on 350 recent interviews with companies' leading legal decision-makers, BTI Litigation Outlook 2018 also noted Skadden as a Powerhouse in Class Actions, Complex Commercial Litigation, Complex Employment Litigation, IP Litigation, Product Liability Litigation, and Securities and Finance Litigation.
- Winner of four American Lawyer "Global Legal Awards": Global Dispute of the Year — Commercial Arbitration (Asia); Global Finance Deal of the Year — Insolvency and Restructuring (U.S.); Global Finance Deal of the Year — Insolvency and Restructuring (Latin America); and Global M&A Deal of the Year (Europe).
- Recognized with more 2018 Transatlantic Legal Awards than any other firm by The American Lawyer and Legal Week.
- Named Best China Corporate Practice among international firms at the Chambers Asia-Pacific Awards 2018.
- Named "Law Firm of the Year" for 2017 by Law360 — and received "Practice Group of the Year" awards in nine areas: Bankruptcy, Capital Markets, Energy, Insurance, International Arbitration, Mergers and Acquisitions, Securities, Tax and Trials.
A Culture of Lifelong Learning
Skadden provides attorneys with specialized training specifically tailored to their experience level throughout their careers — from summer associates to associates to partners to Skadden “alums." Our training programs are designed to give our attorneys the skills, support and mentorship they need to work on our clients' most complex challenges. Our training curriculum reflects our commitment to our most valuable assets — our attorneys.
- Junior associates participate in our full-time Associates’ Comprehensive Education (ACE) program, which provides Skadden-specific legal- and business-skills training during their first few months at the firm.
- Mid-level associates focus on client service, networking, finance, management and professional practice.
- Senior associates and counsel are provided with opportunities to enhance their leadership skills, communication and presentation styles, client service abilities, mentoring, marketing and business development strategies, and networking efforts.
- Alumni are offered CLE programs through Skadden that assist them in maintaining their legal skills as well as empowering them to advance throughout their careers.
- Diversity and Inclusion is a core value of the firm, which we support with training at all experience levels. Workshops and lecture topics include associate retention and pipeline development, working effectively in a diverse environment and serving as allies to colleagues in a diverse workforce.
The firm recognizes that legal skills can be further developed through involvement of non-billable matters that support both Skadden and the communities we serve. For that reason, the following efforts also count towards the firm's hours requirement:
- Pro bono work
- Junior associates may charge up to 100 hours for "shadowing" senior attorneys
- Up to 100 non-billable productive hours credit
As our attorneys gain more exposure to their practices, many work with the firm's career counselors and coaches, staffed both internally and externally, to strategize about their next steps. Whether the associates choose to build their practices at Skadden, transition in-house with a client or to a federal agency, join a start-up, or something entirely different, the firm's partners, coaches and counselors can be a tremendous resource in the process.
Why Work Here?
At Skadden, you'll work on the type of bet-the-company cases and deals that will be featured in future law school case books. But you'll also have a life outside work.
But don't just take our word for it. Skadden is a veteran member of The American Lawyer's "A-List" rankings of the "most successful" law firms, based on associate satisfaction, pro bono commitment, revenue per lawyer and diversity among lawyers.
Why else do associates enjoy working at Skadden?
- Benefits: The firm provides a variety of programs and benefits, including parental leave, domestic partner health and tax gross-up benefits, back-up child care, a reduced-hours program, a flexible maternity leave program, our Sidebar sabbatical program, discounted gym memberships and technology allowances.
- Flexibility: With 22 offices around the world and more than 50 practice areas, Skadden maintains a global presence that affords us the ability to try to accommodate attorneys' interests in transferring locations and practice areas to satisfy professional and personal interests.
- Professional development: In addition to our formal mentoring program, you'll have day-to-day interactions with many of the leading attorneys in your field. Our Attorney Development Partners and Training Committees ensure that associates receive relevant training and mentoring at all levels. The firm's Career Development Program offers career programming and counseling from internal and external resources, and notifies attorneys about professional opportunities with clients.
- Attorney Affinity Networks: The firm supports attorney affinity groups, which facilitate relationship-building among attorneys with shared interests and backgrounds, and provide a rich forum for mentoring opportunities. Affinity groups (formal and informal) are sponsoredby our Asian and Asian-American attorneys; African-American and black attorneys; Latino
and Hispanic attorneys; women attorneys; LGBT attorneys; parent attorneys; and veterans.
Career Options: Limitless
While many of our attorneys spend their entire careers here, Skadden has served as a springboard for judges, professors, CEOs, general counsel, bankers, journalists, authors, prosecutors and senior members of federal agencies. Often, attorneys return to Skadden after gaining additional experience outside the firm, either through firm-organized externships or secondments, or through endeavors pursued on their own.
Our alumni network links more than 6,800 former Skadden attorneys who connect through our alumni website, online directory and Alumni Update magazine. The directory allows for professional and social networking. We also provide a Career Opportunities Program where clients post job listings for alums.
Four Times Square
New York, NY 10036
Phone: (212) 735-3000
Employer Type: Private
Executive Partner: Eric J. Friedman
Hiring Partner: Gavin A. White
Total No. Attorneys 2018: 1,738
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
171 out of 171 (2Ls) (2018)
New York, NY (HQ)
Los Angeles, CA
Palo Alto, CA
Antitrust and Competition
Class Action Litigation
Consumer Financial Services Enforcement and Litigation
Derivative Financial Products, Commodities and Futures
Energy and Infrastructure Projects
Energy Regulation and Litigation
European Union/International Competition
Executive Compensation and Benefits
False Claims Act Defense
Government Enforcement and White Collar Crime
Health Care and Life Sciences
Intellectual Property and Technology
International Litigation and Arbitration
Labor and Employment Law
Mass Torts and Insurance Litigation
Mergers and Acquisitions
Patent and Technology Litigation and Counseling
Privacy and Cybersecurity
Real Estate/Real Estate Investment Trusts
Securities Enforcement and Compliance
Tax Controversy and Litigation
Trusts and Estates