Vault and Firsthand have combined platforms! Learn more

cross
Back to Rankings
Best Law Firms by Practice Area
These firms were voted strongest in each practice area by associates working in that area at peer firms. Vault's 2022 Rankings are derived from Vault's Annual Associate Survey conducted from March 2021 through May 2021.
Explore Related Ranking Categories
1 - 10
11 - 20
21 - 30
2022 Best Law Firms for Private Equity
#1
Kirkland & Ellis
A legal giant—both in size and reputation—Kirkland is the perfect firm for self-starters who are ready to take control of their legal careers. Associates at the firm agree that with the firm’s robust training and the firm’s name on their resumes, their futures are bright. Kirkland & Ellis, one the world’s most elite law firms, is known for its corporate, intellectual property, litigation, M&A, private equity, and restructuring work. With more than 2,900 lawyers, the firm is regularly recognized as one of the most successful in the world.
58.10% of
2021 Ranking #1
Kirkland & Ellis
#2
Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP
Simpson Thacher & Bartlett is a longtime Wall Street workhorse, housing elite teams in M&A, banking, capital markets and securities law.  The firm is a bit more versatile than many of its peers, however, boasting formidable prowess in private equity, litigation and intellectual property as well. The 1980s and 1990s saw the firm develop one of the world’s premier M&A practices, with a unique strength in private equity leveraged buyouts.  In recent years, Simpson Thacher has represented JPMorgan, Lehman Brothers, Goldman Sachs, Wachovia, UBS and Travelers.  Private equity clients include Kohlberg Kravis Roberts (KKR) and The Blackstone Group, as well as First Reserve, Silver Lake Partners and Hellman & Friedman, among others.
28.44% of
2021 Ranking #2
Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP
#3
Latham & Watkins
You know you’ve made it in the legal industry when you’ve landed a spot at Latham. The firm is a global leader across dozens of practice areas and recruits the best of the best. Those seeking autonomy to shape their practice plus extensive training and support will be pleased at this legal giant. Latham is one of the world’s largest law firms. With more than 3,000 attorneys in 30 offices around the world, Latham practices in all the major jurisdictions in the U.S., Europe, the Middle East, and Asia and regularly represents companies doing business in Latin America and Africa. The firm is a global leader in corporate transactions, environmental law, finance matters, litigations and trials, and tax services.
22.99% of
2021 Ranking #3
Latham & Watkins
#4
Skadden
From M&A to Tax, Skadden is a legal powerhouse and mainstay among the most prestigious firms in Vault’s Top 100 ranking. Skadden lawyers are a social bunch who value teamwork and mentorship, while also diving headfirst into complex matters. 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.
18.82% of
2021 Ranking #4
Skadden
#5
Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP
King of the elite law firms, Cravath basically wrote the book on legal practice and lawyer training. The firm attracts the best of the best and boasts a professional atmosphere rooted in respect. Those who thrive under pressure, with a strong work ethic and intellectual curiosity will fare well at the firm. Cravath has a strong reputation for its work in antitrust, banking and credit, capital markets, corporate governance, executive compensation and benefits, M&A, securities litigation, tax, trusts and estates, and white collar criminal defense. Each of Cravath’s practice areas has an international focus, and more than one-third of its clients are based outside the United States.
14.08% of
2021 Ranking #5
Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP
#6
Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz
Wachtell has experience in the fields of mergers and acquisitions, strategic investments, takeovers and takeover defense, corporate and securities law and corporate governance.  They handle some of the largest, most complex and demanding transactions in the United States and around the world. They counsel both public and private acquirors and targets, handle sensitive investigation and litigation matters and corporate restructurings, and counsel boards of directors and senior management in critical situations.  They have a track record of original and groundbreaking solutions and innovations that have had a dramatic impact on business and law.
12.75% of
2021 Ranking #6
Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz
#7
Ropes & Gray
A V20 law firm, Ropes & Gray has a seat at the table of the most elite law firms. The firm is known for its private equity chops, as well as its overall strength across legal practice areas. Training and mentoring are key to the firm’s collaborative culture, which has no room for egos. With 11 offices across the U.S., Europe, and Asia, Ropes & Gray is an international firm that prides itself in handling cutting-edge work. A regular atop legal industry rankings, the firm is adept at assisting clients in complex, highly regulated industries like asset management, health care, life sciences, private equity, and technology.
12.28% of
2021 Ranking #7
Ropes & Gray
#8
Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP
Vocal on civil rights and social justice, Paul Weiss attracts progressive types who value the firm’s high-profile pro bono work and its internal dedication to diversity and inclusion. The firm is a litigation all-star and also boasts a stand-out corporate practice. The firm is also known for its expertise in telecom and entertainment law. Today, the firm is active in racial justice efforts and assistance for those most impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as in immigrant rights, reproductive rights, and voter protection efforts.
10.90% of
2021 Ranking #8
Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP
#9
Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP
A corporate law giant and securities litigation all-star, Davis Polk is among the most elite law firms. The firm is synonymous with professionalism and is home to lawyers with strong work ethics who are committed to supporting and mentoring each other. Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP boasts one of the nation’s best and most comprehensive corporate departments, with impressive teams in capital markets, M&A, finance, restructuring, and tax. Its lauded litigation practice includes top-notch antitrust, civil litigation, intellectual property, and white collar criminal defense practices.
9.19% of
2021 Ranking #10
Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP
#9
Weil
A leader in bankruptcy and restructuring, Weil is an all-around legal superstar with a name that will shine on any resume. The firm is a good fit for team players who enjoy socializing and aren’t afraid to roll up their sleeves and work hard. The firm has pioneered major areas of law, such as corporate governance, private equity, and bankruptcy and restructuring. With approximately 1,100 lawyers, the firm has offices spanning three continents and six countries, and it continues to be one of the highest-grossing law firms in the world.
9.19% of
2021 Ranking #9
Weil
#11
Debevoise & Plimpton LLP
One of the New York elites, Debevoise is a leader in the private equity and M&A spaces and is also a go-to firm for white collar matters. The firm has a reputation of being intellectual and respectful and provides ample support to its associates—from extensive mentoring to career coaching. The firm’s core franchise practices include strategic and private equity, M&A, insurance, financial services transactions, fund formation, complex litigation, white collar/investigations, and international arbitration.
7.73% of
2021 Ranking #12
Debevoise & Plimpton LLP
#12
Sullivan & Cromwell LLP
One of the most prestigious law firms, Sullivan & Cromwell subscribes to a generalist approach, allowing lawyers to work across industries and subgroups. With a strong focus on mentoring and career advising, S&C is committed to helping its lawyers pave their future paths. A BigLaw powerhouse, Sullivan & Cromwell has followed—if not created—the blueprint for legal success: It has grown internationally and in response to the increasing cross-border M&A, restructuring, and finance transactional demands of the biggest corporate clients in the world.
7.06% of
2021 Ranking #11
Sullivan & Cromwell LLP
#13
Sidley Austin LLP
With an impressive global footprint and a roster of top-notch clients, Sidley is the cream of the crop when it comes to law firms. Come for the sophisticated work, and stay for the polite, amiable Midwestern vibe—as well as a sincere commitment to building a diverse and inclusive workplace. Sidley is a global powerhouse, with approximately 2,000 lawyers across 20 offices. The firm boasts a long list of marquee clients in a range of industries, including banking, energy, health care, insurance, life sciences, and technology. The firm’s work in complex transactional and litigation matters is bolstered by exceptional regulatory experience, and the firm features many former officials from governmental agencies in Europe, the U.S., and China.
6.45% of
2021 Ranking #13
Sidley Austin LLP
#14
Goodwin
With more than 1,400 lawyers across 13 offices, Goodwin has established itself as a global legal name. The firm boasts particular strength in corporate law and real estate, among other areas. Candidates seeking a highly transparent firm that prioritizes associate development will likely feel at home at Goodwin. The firm has adopted what it calls a “capital-meets-innovation platform” through which the firm advises both innovators and investors in the financial, private equity, real estate, technology, and life sciences industries.
3.60% of
2021 Ranking #18
Goodwin
#15
Cooley
The go-to firm for startups and early-stage companies, Cooley is ideal for those seeking cutting-edge work with innovative clients. The firm has a highly social culture that will no doubt appeal to affable personalities and boasts a strong commitment to diversity and inclusion. With more than 1,200 lawyers practicing across the U.S., Europe, and Asia, Cooley is synonymous with tech and venture capital work. The firm is also well regarded for its clean tech, cyber/data/privacy, IP, M&A, private equity, and securities practices.
3.37% of
2021 Ranking #20
Cooley
#16
Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP
Known especially for its cross-border work, including representation of national governments, Cleary is among the most prestigious firms around. Intellectual curiosity and an amiable personality will go far in fitting in with the firm’s unique “Cleary Culture.” Cleary is a leading global law firm, with offices on four continents and an unparalleled reputation for groundbreaking work. While long known as a dominant player in the international and corporate business world, Cleary has built out both corporate and litigation capabilities that have strengthened and expanded the full suite of resources it offers clients.
2.99% of
2021 Ranking #14
Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP
#17
DLA Piper
Get your passport ready—DLA Piper has more than 90 offices around the world and is home to more than 4,000 lawyers. These lawyers work across dozens of practices, and the firm is lauded for its Data Protection, Privacy, and Security. Collaboration and professionalism are key to this firm’s collegial culture. DLA Piper advises clients across more than a dozen industries and eight major practice areas (with a host of sub-practices).
2.61% of
2021 Ranking #21
DLA Piper
#18
Gibson Dunn
A litigation powerhouse, appellate all-star, and corporate law force, Gibson Dunn is a V10 firm with an impressive practice and client list. Gibson attracts go-getters who will succeed in the firm’s free-market system and mesh with the professional, amiable culture. With more than 1,400 attorneys across 10 countries, Gibson Dunn & Crutcher is a force. Among the top firms in the country, Gibson Dunn is well known for its litigation and trial work—especially its bustling Appellate Litigation and Securities Litigation practices—as well as its top-notch antitrust, M&A, private equity, and real estate work, among others.
2.56% of
2021 Ranking #19
Gibson Dunn
#19
Proskauer Rose LLP
Tops for labor and employment and the go-to firm for media, entertainment, and sports, Proskauer Rose is an all-over legal powerhouse. Pro bono is part of the firm’s lifeblood, as is a strong commitment to diversity. Amiable go-getters will do well in the firm’s supportive, team environment. Proskauer Rose is practically synonymous with “sports law”—clients include Major League Baseball, the National Football League, the National Hockey League, and the National Basketball Association. Although flashy, this reputation shortchanges the firm’s incredibly diversified work, which features top-notch corporate, litigation, tax, private client services, entertainment, and labor and employment practices.
2.37% of
2021 Ranking #15
Proskauer Rose LLP
#19
Schulte Roth & Zabel LLP
SRZ attracts associates who are social and hardworking, and the firm is a great fit for those interested in the financial services industry. The firm has a history of taking on high-profile pro bono matters and hasn’t wavered in this commitment. Schulte Roth & Zabel today primarily advises clients in the financial services industry, with a particular emphasis on representing investment management firms. Relatively narrow in practice scope by BigLaw standards, SRZ trains its focus on investment management, corporate and transactional matters, and securities litigation.
2.37% of
2021 Ranking #17
Schulte Roth & Zabel LLP
#21
Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP
As an elite firm, Willkie seeks top talent—but the firm is careful to hire only those who will contribute positively to the culture. Associates rave about many aspects of the firm, but great compensation is a clear frontrunner as far as perks go. One of the New York elites, Willkie is home to more than 750 attorneys. In addition to its home in the Big Apple, the firm has offices in Chicago, DC, Houston, Palo Alto, and San Francisco, plus six locations across Europe. The firm is known for its work in antitrust, insurance, M&A, private equity, restructuring, and securities litigation, among other areas.
2.28% of
2021 Ranking #23
Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP
#22
White & Case LLP
Look up “global law firm” in the thesaurus, and you’ll find White & Case. A leader in cross-border work, the firm works across two dozen practice areas. The firm is home to a truly diverse team of lawyers and boasts a top-down commitment to fostering an inclusive workplace. The firm works across two dozen practice areas, from antitrust/competition to white collar/investigations. Among the 17 industries it works in are consumer products, financial institutions, manufacturing and industrial, media, mining and metals, oil and gas, pharmaceuticals and health care, power, private equity, real estate, technology, and more.
2.18% of
2021 Ranking #23
White & Case LLP
#23
Jones Day
With a Midwestern culture of collegiality and teamwork, Jones Day is among the best of the best in the legal industry. The firm boasts a long list of stand-out practices—from labor and employment to private equity to appellate litigation—and is a leader in the pro bono space. Jones Day boasts 42 offices in 17 countries, spread over five continents. The firm’s booming practices include antitrust, appellate litigation, financial markets, international law, IP, labor and employment, M&A, private equity, securities, and securities litigation—to name a handful.
2.13% of
2021 Ranking #16
Jones Day
#24
Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson LLP
Fried Frank associates work on complex legal matters in a top-to-bottom friendly and social environment. The firm priorities its people and communities, with associate perks like generous wellness offerings and a strong dedication to pro bono work. Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson LLP advises many of the world’s leading corporations, investment funds, and financial institutions on their critical legal needs and business opportunities. With approximately 500 lawyers in North America and Europe, the firm excels in corporate, real estate, and tax work.
1.80% of
2021 Ranking #Not Ranked
Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson LLP
#25
Shearman & Sterling LLP
Shearman & Sterling offers high-level legal work coupled with supportive teammates and strong mentorship. For those seeking international experience, the firm’s global presence means exciting cross-border work and travel opportunities. Shearman & Sterling is one of the world’s leading law firms, serving the domestic and cross-border needs of an impressive roster of clients. With approximately 850 lawyers in 25 offices across North America, Europe, Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East, the firm has an enviable blend of prestige, prowess, and reach.
1.75% of
2021 Ranking #Not Ranked
Shearman & Sterling LLP