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Best Law Firms by Region
Associates rate the reputations of peer firms in their own regions. These rankings reveal the most prestigious law firms by region across the U.S. Vault's 2022 Rankings are derived from Vault's Annual Associate Survey conducted from March 2021 through May 2021.
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2022 Best Law Firms in Southern California
#1
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.
SCORE 8.639
2021 Ranking #1
Latham & Watkins
#2
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.
SCORE 8.413
2021 Ranking #2
Gibson Dunn
#3
O'Melveny & Myers LLP
Long rooted in California, O’Melveny & Myers has branched out in all directions with offices in seven countries on three continents, including newly launched offices in Texas. The firm is known for its work in antitrust, appellate litigation, entertainment law, labor and employment, patent litigation, products liability, project finance, securities litigation, venture capital, and more. The firm works in a range of industries, including banking and financial services, consumer products, energy and natural resources, entertainment and media, health care, hospitality, industrials and manufacturing, life sciences, real estate, sports, technology, and transportation.
SCORE 8.087
2021 Ranking #3
O'Melveny & Myers LLP
#4
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, new associates tackle exciting work from day one. Today, Munger Tolles operates over a half-dozen practice areas, with growing strength in criminal investigations and defense, as well as appellate work. Niche practices include tax and bankruptcy.
SCORE 7.903
2021 Ranking #4
Munger, Tolles & Olson LLP
#5
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.
SCORE 7.800
2021 Ranking #5
Skadden
#6
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.
SCORE 7.691
2021 Ranking #6
Kirkland & Ellis
#7
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). The No. 1 firm in Vault’s General Commercial Litigation category, Quinn Emanuel’s litigation experience is wide ranging. Among the firm’s practices are antitrust, appellate, bankruptcy, corporate disputes, environmental, insurance, intellectual property, international matters, life sciences, media and entertainment, products liability, and much more.

SCORE 7.586
2021 Ranking #7
Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, LLP
#8
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. Over the last few decades, Paul Hastings has grown from a mid-market U.S. firm to an international outfit with strengths in employment, tax, and business law and big-name clients in more than 80 countries. With offices in Beijing, Hong Kong, Seoul, Shanghai, and Tokyo, the firm has become especially strong in Asian market dealings.
SCORE 7.346
2021 Ranking #8
Paul Hastings LLP
#9
Irell & Manella LLP
Irell & Manella associates are lucky to work with friendly colleagues and partners who provide great mentorship and training. They also appreciate that they are given early responsibility and experience—and they are well compensated for it. A Southern California powerhouse for 80 years, Irell & Manella matches or exceeds its multinational peers in salary, prestige, and high-stakes cases, serving clients worldwide from just three locations in Los Angeles, Newport Beach, and Washington, DC.
SCORE 7.254
2021 Ranking #10
Irell & Manella LLP
#10
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 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. MoFo complements its expertise in IP, finance, life sciences, technology, and litigation with a long reach across the Pacific Rim and, more recently, into Europe.
SCORE 7.123
2021 Ranking #9
Morrison & Foerster LLP
#11
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.
SCORE 6.926
2021 Ranking #11
Sidley Austin LLP
#12
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.
SCORE 6.728
2021 Ranking #14
Cooley
#13
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.
SCORE 6.691
2021 Ranking #13
Sullivan & Cromwell LLP
#14
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.
SCORE 6.573
2021 Ranking #12
Jones Day
#15
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. Orrick is a global firm of more than 1,100 attorneys that is fiercely committed to teamwork and innovation. The firm has dozens of offices across the globe, including domestic locations in California, New York, Oregon, and Texas.
SCORE 6.510
2021 Ranking #16
Orrick
#16
Sheppard Mullin
Sheppard Mullin hires high-achieving candidates with unique perspectives and who will thrive in a team-oriented culture. Among other praise, associates commend the firm for their overall transparency and openness about what it takes to make partner. With expertise in a variety of practices, including corporate, litigation, employment, IP, antitrust, and finance, Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton LLP has grown aggressively in recent times. The firm has added several industry-focused practices, such as health care, insurance, and entertainment.
SCORE 6.314
2021 Ranking #15
Sheppard Mullin
#17
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 950 attorneys across 16 offices around the world, Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati is a global player with very deep tech roots. The firm has become a leader in tech licensing transactions, technology financings and M&A, and intellectual property.
SCORE 6.214
2021 Ranking #18
Wilson Sonsini
#18
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.
SCORE 6.026
2021 Ranking #21
White & Case LLP
#19
Perkins Coie LLP
Pacific Northwest-powerhouse 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. Today, the firm has more than 1,200 attorneys working across many industries, including aerospace and transportation, energy and natural resources, financial services and investments, life sciences and health care, retail and consumer products, and technology and communications.
SCORE 6.021
2021 Ranking #19
Perkins Coie LLP
#20
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).
SCORE 5.924
2021 Ranking #20
DLA Piper
#21
Milbank
Leading the charge in compensation, Milbank is among the most elite law firms for corporate law. The firm prioritizes mentoring and training, including through its highly regarded Milbank@Harvard program. Hardworking-yet-easygoing candidates will fit well with the firm’s friendly culture. Milbank LLP is one of the nation’s leading firms for corporate finance and restructuring, litigation, and project finance and is known for its international work and focus on the energy sector.
SCORE 5.914
2021 Ranking #24
Milbank
#22
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.
SCORE 5.857
2021 Ranking #17
Proskauer Rose LLP
#23
Susman Godfrey
It doesn’t get better for litigators than Susman Godfrey. Junior associates are given immediate responsibility and are treated like future partners. And despite long hours, the firm is very social, and firm-hosted retreats are a notable favorite. Since its founding in 1980, Susman Godfrey has established itself as the nation’s premiere litigation firm. Susman Godfrey has more than 130 partners and associates across four offices—its original Houston location as well as offices in Los Angeles, New York, and Seattle. The firm handles huge cases across the country for both plaintiffs and defendants. 
SCORE 5.800
2021 Ranking #27
Susman Godfrey
#24
Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, LLP
Manatt boasts a fully integrated consulting and legal professional services model that includes attorneys, consultants, technologists, and other professionals who bring legal, strategy, analytics, and execution into one place for the firm’s clients in the health care, digital & technology, entertainment & media, energy & environmental, financial services, and real estate industries. In addition to its diverse practices and consulting experience, Manatt has an affiliated venture capital fund, the Manatt Venture Fund, which holds investments in more than 120 companies.
SCORE 5.742
2021 Ranking #23
Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, LLP
#25
Hueston Hennigan LLP
With more than 75 lawyers in Southern California, Hueston Hennigan is a litigation boutique that has made a name for itself as one of the go-to trial firms in the country. The firm prides itself in handling high-stakes litigation with an eye toward trial from the start. Its litigators work across nearly 20 practice areas, including antitrust, appellate, commercial litigation, consumer fraud, class actions, health care, securities, trade secrets, and white collar, to name a handful.
SCORE 5.705
2021 Ranking #28
Hueston Hennigan LLP
#26
Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP
Morgan Lewis has branched out from its Philadelphia roots to build a global network of lawyers in 31 offices, reaching from Boston to Singapore and San Francisco to Dubai. Practicing across the energy, financial services, health care, life sciences, retail, sports, technology, and transportation sectors, Morgan Lewis has a diverse range of experience. The firm has four core practices: corporate, finance, and investment management; IP; labor, employment, and benefits; and litigation, regulation, and investigations.
SCORE 5.626
2021 Ranking #22
Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP
#27
WilmerHale
Handling cases that often make front-page headlines, WilmerHale is a litigation super star, with particular strength in intellectual property. The firm boasts a respectful culture where associates feel supported by partners and have the resources they need to soar with high-level matters. With 1,000 lawyers across the U.S., Asia, and Europe, WilmerHale is known especially for its work in IP, securities, and appellate litigation, as well as its life sciences and technology experience. The firm counsels in a range of industries, including aviation; big data, Brexit; education; energy, environment, and natural resources; financial services; health care; insurance; media and entertainment; national security; professional services; and technology.
SCORE 5.624
2021 Ranking #26
WilmerHale
#28
Winston & Strawn LLP
Winston’s Midwestern roots are reflected in its top-to-bottom friendly culture. Strong mentorship allows junior associates to quickly develop skills on high-profile matters, and robust wellness and diversity programs round out the Winston experience. Winston & Strawn has grown to a global law firm of nearly 1,000 attorneys across the United States, Europe, and Asia. Winston is particularly known for its work in middle-market private equity, IP, labor and employment, renewable energy, sports law, and white collar.
SCORE 5.618
2021 Ranking #30
Winston & Strawn LLP
#29
Pillsbury
With 700 attorneys and 20 offices around the world, Pillsbury is truly a global firm. But with six of its offices based in the Golden State, the firm still maintains the laid-back vibes of its West Coast roots. The firm’s legal work is concentrated primarily in four major industries—technology and media, energy, financial services, and real estate and construction sectors—and the firm has developed region-specific practices aimed at clients’ needs in and out of China, Japan, Latin America, the Middle East, and Africa.
SCORE 5.492
2021 Ranking #25
Pillsbury
#30
Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP
Nine-hundred lawyers strong with a long list of lauded practice areas, there isn’t much that Akin Gump doesn’t excel at. Transparent? Check. Making strides in diversity? You bet. Walking the wellness walk? For sure. Social types who are down to earth will fit well at the firm. Founded in Texas in 1945, Akin Gump has grown to become one of the world’s largest law firms, with more than 900 lawyers across 20 offices around the globe, operating at the intersection of public policy, business, and the law.
SCORE 5.415
2021 Ranking #Not Ranked
Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP