Best Law Firms by Region

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2023 Best Law Firms in Northern California
#1

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 is also known for its work with life science and technology companies. Cooley has a highly social culture in 17 worldwide offices that will no doubt appeal to affable personalities, and boasts a strong commitment to diversity and inclusion.

SCORE 8.074

2022 Ranking

#1

Cooley
#2

Morrison & Foerster LLP

Exemplary work is standard at MoFo, but as its nickname suggests, the firm—and its lawyers—don’t take themselves too seriously. MoFo, including 17 global offices and more than 1,000 attorneys, excels in many practice areas, including IP and privacy, and is a stand-out in the pro bono area, assisting in a wide range of matters. Diversity and related initiatives are key at MoFo as well, as DEI activities can count toward work hours.

SCORE 7.807

2022 Ranking

#2

Morrison & Foerster LLP
#3

Wilson Sonsini

A leader in venture capital work and top ranked for intellectual property, Wilson Sonsini is a go-to firm for tech industry clients. Lawyers at the firm have an entrepreneurial mindset and strike the right balance between hard work and affability. With its history deeply rooted in the evolution of Silicon Valley, Wilson Sonsini values innovation and improvement and is the leading provider of legal services to technology and life sciences clients.

SCORE 7.717

2022 Ranking

#3

Wilson Sonsini
#4

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, with over 3,000 lawyers in 15 countries, and recruits the best of the best. This globalization allows Latham to service clients with the finest legal resources, regardless of location. Those seeking autonomy to shape their practice plus extensive training and support will be pleased with their opportunities at this legal giant.

SCORE 7.601

2022 Ranking

#5

Latham & Watkins
#5

Fenwick

Fenwick & West has established itself, since its inception in 1972 in Silicon Valley, as a go-to firm for technology and life sciences companies. Clients like Apple, Meta, Amazon, and eBay have called on the firm for its corporate, M&A, intellectual property, and IPO expertise. Attorneys gravitate towards Fenwick not only for its sophisticated work, but for its recognition of the importance of work-life balance. The firm offers access to vacation condos in some exotic locations.

SCORE 7.350

2022 Ranking

#4

Fenwick
#6

Orrick

Innovation is the name of the game at Orrick—from the energy and tech clients the firm counsels, to its impactful wellbeing initiatives, to its modern technology tools. Associates who are down to earth, collaborative, and forward thinking will fit right in at this progressive firm. With offices in over 25 markets across the United States, Europe, and Asia, Orrick is a legal powerhouse with a dedication to pro bono, diversity, and competitive compensation.

SCORE 7.199

2022 Ranking

#6

Orrick
#7

Kirkland & Ellis

A legal giant—both in size and reputation—Kirkland is the perfect firm for driven individuals 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.

SCORE 7.105

2022 Ranking

#7

Kirkland & Ellis
#8

Gibson Dunn

A litigation powerhouse, appellate all-star, and corporate law force, Gibson Dunn is a V10 firm with impressive practice and client lists across its 20 worldwide offices. Gibson attracts go-getters who will succeed in the firm’s free-market system and mesh with the professional, amiable culture. Attorneys who want to engage in pro bono work, with hours satisfying billable requirements, will find robust, dynamic opportunities with Gibson Dunn. The firm’s flex-time program, with prorated hours and compensation, is attractive to many.

SCORE 7.005

2022 Ranking

#9

Gibson Dunn
#8

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. From New York to Shanghai, the Skadden name is worldwide, with over 1,600 attorneys across eight U.S. offices and 13 international offices. Exit opportunities are endless for Skadden attorneys, due to the firm’s strong alumni network and prestigious name. The firm’s commitment to pro bono is unparalleled, with over two million hours dedicated to pro bono over the past 10 years.

SCORE 7.005

2022 Ranking

#8

Skadden
#10

Goodwin

With more than 1,800 lawyers across 14 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.

SCORE 6.754

2022 Ranking

#16

Goodwin
#11

Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, LLP

The opposite of a stuffy BigLaw firm, Quinn Emanuel is a unique combination of casual and ambitious. Lawyers who work at this top litigation shop are independent and motivated, with the autonomy to direct their workloads and the drive to tackle intense hours for complex matters—all while wearing jeans and flip flops (if they so choose). Quinn Emanuel attorneys are treated to a fully remote, work-from-anywhere policy, and have significant opportunities to work in any of their international offices.

SCORE 6.590

2022 Ranking

#10

Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, LLP
#12

O'Melveny & Myers LLP

A top law firm for quality of life year after year and a mainstay among the V30 firms—and the oldest firm in Los Angeles—O’Melveny is a highly sought after firm with hundreds of lawyers across 18 offices and seven countries. The firm prioritizes associate development and is a leader in diversity, pro bono, and attorney wellness. Its prominence in California has fostered exceptional opportunities in the area of entertainment law.

SCORE 6.465

2022 Ranking

#11

O'Melveny & Myers LLP
#13

Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP

One of the oldest New York-based firms, boasting premier offices in Paris, London, Madrid, Tokyo, Hong Kong, Beijing, and São Paulo, Davis Polk is renowned for its Securities/Capital Markets, Banking & Financial Services, and Securities and IP litigation practices. The firm prides itself on a collegial environment where associates are given the resources and support to learn and excel. Central staffing and lockstep compensation encourage associates to focus on client service and career development above numerical targets.

SCORE 6.412

2022 Ranking

#21

Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP
#14

Gunderson Dettmer Stough Villeneuve Franklin & Hachigian, LLP

Founded in 1995 in Silicon Valley, Gunderson Dettmer has grown to 10 offices and more than 425 attorneys as the leading international law firm focusing solely on the innovation economy. They are world leaders in providing legal services to venture-backed and public technology and life sciences companies, as well as venture capital investors. Sophisticated work, amazing tutelage from partners, and office culture are highlights for associates.

SCORE 6.366

2022 Ranking

#18

Gunderson Dettmer Stough Villeneuve Franklin & Hachigian, LLP
#15

Perkins Coie LLP

Perkins Coie cultivates collegiality through holistic hiring, social retreats, affinity groups, wellness programs, and more. Whether they hope to make partner or move in-house, associates here are in a good position. Providing legal services to some of the world’s most innovative companies, Perkins Coie attorneys take pride in performing substantive, meaningful work. While its history is rooted in aerospace and transportation, Perkins Coie has stretched its services far and wide across its domestic and international offices.

SCORE 6.327

2022 Ranking

#14

Perkins Coie LLP
#16

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. Sullivan & Cromwell boasts an army of over 800 attorneys across eight countries. The firm prides itself on its mentoring and career advising, as well as its commitment to being a unified global practice by only staffing its offices with lawyers who have built their careers at S&C.

SCORE 6.264

2022 Ranking

#13

Sullivan & Cromwell LLP
#17

Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP

One of the most elite corporate law firms, Simpson Thacher is a dream firm for anyone pursuing a career in transactional law. The firm boasts a supportive environment that highly values training—including through its robust training program STB Ready—and mentoring, which is fostered from those at the top.

SCORE 6.193

2022 Ranking

#15

Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP
#18

Keker, Van Nest & Peters LLP

Keker, Van Nest & Peters is a midsize firm rooted in California. The firm's lawyers are skilled in everything from intellectual property disputes to white collar criminal defense to commercial litigation, but the firm is best known for its litigation and IP prowess. It is among the Top 5 firms in Vault’s Litigation Boutique Law Firm and Intellectual Boutique Law Firm rankings. The firm has also been recognized as a firm committed to supporting a diverse workplace.

SCORE 6.170

2022 Ranking

#12

Keker, Van Nest & Peters LLP
#19

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.

SCORE 6.153

2022 Ranking

#22

Sidley Austin LLP
#20

Paul Hastings LLP

Consistently among the top law firms for quality of life, Paul Hastings prioritizes associate mentorship, training, and long-term career development. Lawyers seeking an amiable, collaborative atmosphere where hard work and client service are valued will likely be a good fit at the firm. There’s no shortage of challenging legal matters to tackle, but the attorneys at Paul Hastings step up to the plate to produce excellence, while maintaining a relaxed culture and a good work-life balance.

SCORE 6.105

2022 Ranking

#20

Paul Hastings LLP
#21

Munger, Tolles & Olson LLP

Munger Tolles is incredibly selective, but if you’re hired, you’ve just joined a top-notch, tight-knit firm where associates participate in major firm decisions. With strong mentorship—especially given that the firm is committed to maintaining a low partner-to-associate ratio, and that there are only 200 attorneys across three U.S. offices—new associates tackle exciting work from day one. Munger Tolles associates can expect meaningful pro bono opportunities, for which the firm has been recognized.

SCORE 6.104

2022 Ranking

#17

Munger, Tolles & Olson LLP
#22

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.

SCORE 6.012

2022 Ranking

#19

Weil
#23

Covington & Burling

Known for its white collar, antitrust, and corporate work—among other things—Covington is a mainstay in the top 20 of the Vault Law 100. The firm attracts intellectuals who lean progressive and thrive on collaboration, hard work, and giving back via pro bono matters.

SCORE 5.906

2022 Ranking

#23

Covington & Burling
#24

White & Case

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.

SCORE 5.756

2022 Ranking

#24

White & Case
#25

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. Ropes & Gray is committed to honoring its reputation as a firm that promotes friendship and camaraderie amongst all employees.

SCORE 5.723

2022 Ranking

#25

Ropes & Gray
#26

Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP

A top firm for labor and employment work, Morgan Lewis has an expansive worldwide reach more than 30 offices. The firm attracts those who want to give back via pro bono work—20 hours are required for bonus eligibility—and who are seeking a non-hierarchical culture with ample transparency. Boasting an army of over 2,200 lawyers and legal professionals nationwide and worldwide, Morgan Lewis provides a wealth of opportunities to work on diverse and high-stakes matters among the firm’s core practice areas.

SCORE 5.560

2022 Ranking

#27

Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP
#27

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 13 major practices, and the firm is lauded for its Data Protection, Privacy, and Security. Collaboration and professionalism are key to this firm’s collegial culture. Associates enjoy strong relationships with partners and benefit from an extensive team dedicated to pro bono work.

SCORE 5.449

2022 Ranking

#29

DLA Piper
#28

Pillsbury

Pillsbury is comprised of genuinely caring people, and associates can take on interesting work from day one. “Super bonuses” are an extra perk for those who go beyond. The BOSS Lab is just one of the firm’s impressive commitments to diversity.

SCORE 5.377

2022 Ranking

#26

Pillsbury
#29

Jones Day

With a Midwestern culture of collegiality and teamwork, Jones Day is among the best of the best in the legal industry. Home to more than 2,500 attorneys in dozens of worldwide offices, clients can call upon vast resources and exceptional legal talent across jurisdictions and practice areas.  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.

SCORE 5.355

2022 Ranking

#28

Jones Day
#30

Baker McKenzie

As one of the world’s largest law firms, with 69 international offices and over 6,000 lawyers, Baker McKenzie is known for its cross-border work. The firm often recruits candidates with global experience—or at least a genuine interest in international matters. The firm’s social environment makes it a good fit for those who value teamwork and camaraderie.

SCORE 5.061

2022 Ranking

#Not Ranked

Baker McKenzie