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. This “brain trust” law firm is known for quietly (and smartly) going about its business—that business being antitrust, litigation, white collar defense & investigations, corporate, IP, export controls, data privacy and cybersecurity, and regulatory work—with particular strengths in the sports, insurance, life science/pharma, energy, tech, and media/entertainment industries.
One of the most selective law firms, Williams & Connolly is a litigation standout, known for handling complex, high-stakes matters. The firm has a promote-from-within culture with an emphasis on organic mentorship. Associates have significant autonomy through the free-market assignment system and receive ample support for pro bono pursuits. Recognized for handling high-stakes, complex litigation, the firm has a thriving intellectual property practice ranging from pharmaceuticals to electronics, has presented oral argument to the Supreme Court 17 times in the last five years, and serves as national coordinating counsel and trial counsel for large product liability cases. The firm also represents numerous law firms and accounting firms in professional responsibility and other litigation.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Truly a megafirm, Hogan Lovells is home to close to 3,000 lawyers working across more than 50 offices. The firm is particularly well known for its privacy work as well as its high-profile pro bono matters. Lawyers who are down to earth and have a strong desire to give back through pro bono will fit well. Hogan Lovells focuses on five major practices: corporate; finance; global regulatory; IP; and litigation, arbitration, and employment. Industries the firm focuses on run the gamut from aerospace and automotive to energy and financial institutions to life sciences and technology, plus many more.
One of DC’s finest, and a global megafirm, Arnold & Porter is home to around 1,000 lawyers across 14 offices around the globe (plus an operations center in Tallahassee) and focuses heavily on mentoring, with mentoring budgets, shadowing opportunities, and multiple formal mentors for junior associates. The firm practices in more than 40 areas and is particularly well known for its antitrust, appellate litigation, environmental, and securities litigation practices, as well as its cross-border work.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Among the largest law firms in the world, Mayer Brown does it all. Among its stand-out practice is appellate litigation—through which the firm has argued more than 250 cases before SCOTUS. The firm has a professional atmosphere where lawyers take control of their workload via the free-market system. Mayer Brown is an international law firm with offices across the Americas, Asia, Europe, and the Middle East that employs more than 1,600 lawyers—among the 25 largest law firm workforces in the world. Known for its top-flight corporate, finance, and appellate work, Mayer Brown serves many of the world’s largest companies, including a significant proportion of the Fortune 100, FTSE 100, CAC 40, DAX, Hang Seng, and Nikkei index companies, and more than half of the world’s largest banks.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Focusing on litigation, regulatory, and transactional work, King & Spalding’s Atlanta roots set a tone of “southern hospitality” throughout the firm. Come for the collegiality and mentorship, stay for the free Coca Cola. The firm is now organized into three large practice groups: Trial & Global Disputes (Litigation); Corporate, Finance & Investments (Transactional), and Government Matters (Regulatory/Investigations). The firm counsels clients across myriad industries, including automotive, transportation, and mobility; energy; financial services; food and beverage; franchise & hospitality; government investigations; and life sciences and health care.
DC-based Steptoe & Johnson is drawn to candidates with clerkship or government experience, and the right personality is a must. The firm is dedicated to associate development, with early opportunities for challenges and genuinely invested partners. Today, the firm serves as counsel to a number of blue-chip clients and is routinely ranked among the top firms for international trade, insurance, tax, intellectual property, energy, white-collar criminal defense, and the ever-evolving arena of internet law.
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.
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.
Laid back, collegial, and collaborative are words used to describe the culture at Crowell & Moring. The firm actively helps associates shape their careers, either within or beyond the firm. If pro bono is important to you, you’ll be supported here. Crowell & Moring works in a wide range of practices, handling litigation, regulatory, arbitration, and transactional matters for clients of all sizes, from major corporations to startups to private individuals.
It’s no surprise that Jenner & Block has such a friendly, down-to-earth culture—the firm is known for its strong commitment to pro bono and public service. Top-notch attorneys come here not just because they want to do good work—they want to do good. With more than 400 litigators and dispute lawyers, Jenner & Block has leading international litigation arbitration, and investigations practices. Jenner & Block also boasts a top-notch appellate team.
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.
Kellogg Hansen offers those with clerkship experience a place to quickly sharpen their litigation skills. Associates work on small teams, which means direct interaction with partners and the opportunity to dive into challenging work from day one. A relatively young firm, Kellogg Hansen was formed in 1993 when three BigLaw partners jumped ship to form their own small firm focused on trial and appellate litigation. Since then, the firm has grown to house more than 90 attorneys, all trial and appellate specialists. Nearly every partner and associate served as a law clerk for a federal judge and more than a dozen clerked for Justices of the United States Supreme Court.
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.
Sitting comfortably among the V100 law firms, McDermott is best known for its work in health care and tax—though its practices extend far beyond. The firm is forward thinking when it comes to wellness, offering lawyers billable credit for 25 wellness hours, and will appeal to those seeking a collegial, supportive environment. While the firm is still known for its strength in tax, McDermott’s reach has expanded over the decades. The firm counsels its clients on newer areas such as life sciences, renewable energy, and privacy law, which complement its more traditional practices like M&A, antitrust, health care, intellectual property, litigation, real estate, and insurance.
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).
Wiley Rein may be a one-office firm, but it packs a punch. It is known for its prominent Telecom, Media & Technology group comprising more than 60 top attorneys in the field and also—not surprising for a DC firm—for its government and policy work. The firm’s other major practices include insurance, government contracts, election law, international trade, and intellectual property. The firm represents a wide range of clients—from Fortune 500 corporations to trade associations to individuals—in myriad industries, including energy, manufacturing, defense, aerospace, intelligence, information technology, professional services, telecommunications, health care, A&E, and construction.
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.
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.
At K&L Gates, attorneys tackle sophisticated work for high-caliber clients in a supportive environment. A free-market assignment system allows associates to exercise control over their workload, and more-senior attorneys act as willing mentors. K&L Gates is one of the largest law firms in the world, with close to 2,000 lawyers across five continents. Among the firm’s top-notch practices are corporate; energy and infrastructure; finance; intellectual property; labor, employment, and workplace safety; litigation and dispute resolution; policy and regulatory; real estate; and asset management and investment funds.