One of the legal market’s most eagerly awaited annual surveys is the annual prestige list from career intelligence provider Vault.
Not much has changed this year, however.
The top five is as it was.
That might be unsurprising since prestige is an intangible quality that is not easily won nor easily lost, but built up over a long period of time.
Nevertheless, it would be fun to see bit more movement in the upper reaches of the table.
If anything can be taken from this year’s list, it’s that Kirkland has jumped two spots – a good showing in Vault terms.
Further down there list there was a bit more movement, although most firms move just a place or two either way, which seems statistically insignificant.
Four firms jumped out for me, however:
Cooley moved up seven places. The firm seems to be on the up at the moment, on the back of the Silicon Valley boom, and it recently won a notable award after launching a website called “Cooley GO” to help entrepreneurs and small businesses.
Morgan Lewis jumped up six spots to #44. I always felt that Morgan Lewis was under-ranked in this survey, but the addition of Bingham seems to have made a difference.
Likewise, Norton Rose Fulbright (pictured), which has turned into a global behemoth on the back of multiple mergers, leapt 15 places.
Despite some people saying that Denton’s public spat with American Lawyer would be damaging (it may have the opposite effect and actually help the firm), Vault pushed the firm up nine levels from #89 to #80. Like Norton Rose and Morgan Lewis, Dentons has grown considerably in recent years.
Above The Law has a nice write-up on the survey, and I’ve taken their list of the top 15 below, with the movement from last year in brackets.
1. Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz (no change)
2. Cravath, Swaine & Moore (no change)
3. Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (no change)
4. Sullivan & Cromwell (no change)
5. Davis Polk & Wardwell (no change)
6. Simpson Thacher & Bartlett (no change)
7. Kirkland & Ellis (+2)
8. Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton (-1)
9. Weil, Gotshal & Manges (-1)
10. Latham & Watkins (no change)
11. Gibson Dunn & Crutcher (no change)
12. Boies, Schiller & Flexner (+1)
13. Covington & Burling (-1)
14. Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison (no change)
15. Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan (no change)
Click here to see the full 100 on the Vault website.
The Vault 100 lists the most renowned American law firms based on the perceptions of currently practicing lawyers.
Vault compiles its rankings by asking 17,000 associate attorneys to return anonymous surveys.
They score law firms on a scale of 1 to 10 based on how prestigious it is to work for the firm.
Firms are then ranked in order, starting with the highest average prestige score.
Pictured: Norton Rose Fulbright office, Houston. Taken by Lloyd Pearson