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Best Law Firms to Work For
Associates assess their own firms on a range of workplace issues related to career development, job satisfaction, and quality of life. Vault's 2022 Rankings are derived from Vault's Annual Associate Survey conducted from March 2021 through May 2021.
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1 - 10
11 - 20
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2022 Best Law Firms for Compensation
#1
McDermott Will & Emery
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.
SCORE 9.807
2021 Ranking #28
McDermott Will & Emery
#2
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.
SCORE 9.608
2021 Ranking #1
Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz
#3
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 9.599
2021 Ranking #15
Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP
#4
Clifford Chance US LLP
As a global force, it’s no surprise Clifford Chance seeks candidates with international aspirations and foreign language skills. This Magic Circle firm offers a welcoming culture and interesting work, and it genuinely supports pro bono and diversity. Today, Clifford Chance has 32 offices spanning key markets across the Americas, Asia Pacific, Europe, the Middle East, and Africa, with a particularly strong reputation in the financial sector. The firm offers substantive experience in a wide array of practice areas and industry sectors, including banking and finance, capital markets, corporate, litigation and dispute resolution, real estate, and tax pensions, and employment.
SCORE 9.593
2021 Ranking #3
Clifford Chance US LLP
#5
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.
SCORE 9.570
2021 Ranking #5
Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP
#6
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 9.503
2021 Ranking #8
Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP
#7
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.
SCORE 9.438
2021 Ranking #Not Ranked
Debevoise & Plimpton LLP
#8
Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP
Freshfields is ideal for associates seeking exciting international work. The firm is in an expansion phase, which means lots of opportunity for early hand-on experience—plus strong mentorship and a friendly culture are additional perks. In the U.S. specifically, the firm works across more than a dozen industries, including automotive, chemicals, consumer goods, energy and natural resources, financial institutions, financial sponsors, government and public sector, infrastructure and transport, manufacturing, pharmaceuticals and health care, professional and business services, real estate, and technology.
SCORE 9.429
2021 Ranking #Not Ranked
Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP
#9
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 9.413
2021 Ranking #10
Orrick
#10
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.
SCORE 9.401
2021 Ranking #7
Ropes & Gray
#11
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 9.377
2021 Ranking #12
Proskauer Rose LLP
#11
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.
SCORE 9.377
2021 Ranking #6
Shearman & Sterling LLP
#13
Allen & Overy LLP
Magic Circle-firm Allen & Overy handles significant international matters as it continues to grow in the U.S. Associates are treated to a collegial culture, and they appreciate the firm’s Compass program that allows them to receive ongoing feedback. As one would expect from a megafirm, A&O counsels in a wide variety of areas, from asset management and litigation to corporate and M&A to financial services regulation and regulatory compliance to securitization and tax—and everything in between.
SCORE 9.362
2021 Ranking #30
Allen & Overy LLP
#14
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 9.332
2021 Ranking #9
Latham & Watkins
#15
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 9.328
2021 Ranking #11
O'Melveny & Myers LLP
#16
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 9.302
2021 Ranking #20
Milbank
#17
Dechert
Dechert is a global firm, but its collegial culture seems to create a sense of close community. The firm encourages attorneys to participate beyond billables, offering a “STARS” award and bonus for contributions related to diversity and innovation.  In the United States, the firm is known for its work in antitrust, international arbitration, financial services, life sciences, strategic transactions and private equity, litigation, white collar, product liability, real estate, and securities.
SCORE 9.293
2021 Ranking #Not Ranked
Dechert
#18
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 9.239
2021 Ranking #22
WilmerHale
#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.
SCORE 9.238
2021 Ranking #29
Schulte Roth & Zabel 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. 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 9.186
2021 Ranking #25
Paul Hastings LLP
#21
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.
SCORE 9.147
2021 Ranking #Not Ranked
Weil
#22
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.
SCORE 9.144
2021 Ranking #Not Ranked
Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson LLP
#23
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 9.114
2021 Ranking #Not Ranked
Skadden
#24
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.
SCORE 9.113
2021 Ranking #Not Ranked
Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP
#25
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 9.101
2021 Ranking #Not Ranked
Winston & Strawn LLP
#26
King & Spalding LLP
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.
SCORE 9.095
2021 Ranking #Not Ranked
King & Spalding LLP
#27
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 9.063
2021 Ranking #13
Gibson Dunn
#28
Vinson & Elkins
V&E’s lean-team model means great training for associates, with hands-on experience, strong partner mentorship, and opportunities to tackle new challenges. Overall, associates agree that V&E offers a great culture, great compensation, and great work. Today, Vinson & Elkins is a trusted adviser to clients in the most important industrial and digital industries, such as renewable energy, technology, banking/finance, M&A/private equity, real estate, media, complex litigation, and tax.
SCORE 9.041
2021 Ranking #18
Vinson & Elkins
#29
Gunderson Dettmer Stough Villeneuve Franklin & Hachigian, LLP
For those seeking work with startups, Gunderson Dettmer is the place to be. Associates are given substantial responsibility over interesting work from day one, and the firm's positive culture leads to strong relationships with colleagues and clients. The firm has expanded in the U.S. and internationally over the last few years. With offices in Ann Arbor, Boston, Beijing, Los Angeles, New York, San Diego, San Francisco, Silicon Valley and Singapore, the firm is an international specialist in emerging growth market matters for corporate and venture capital clients.
SCORE 9.040
2021 Ranking #Not Ranked
Gunderson Dettmer Stough Villeneuve Franklin & Hachigian, LLP
#30
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.
SCORE 9.009
2021 Ranking #27
Goodwin