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Best Summer Associate Programs
Junior lawyers look back on their experiences as summer associates to rate the summer program on attorney interactions, career development, and social experiences. 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
21 - 30
2022 Best Summer Programs for Social Experiences
#1
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 9.950
2021 Ranking #Not Ranked
Munger, Tolles & Olson LLP
#2
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 9.942
2021 Ranking #Not Ranked
McDermott Will & Emery
#3
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 9.913
2021 Ranking #9
Clifford Chance US LLP
#4
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 9.907
2021 Ranking #7
Schulte Roth & Zabel LLP
#5
Williams & Connolly LLP
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.
SCORE 9.906
2021 Ranking #Not Ranked
Williams & Connolly LLP
#6
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 9.899
2021 Ranking #1
O'Melveny & Myers LLP
#7
Eversheds Sutherland (US) LLP
Eversheds Sutherland is a legal behemoth, with thousands of lawyers practicing across such areas as corporate, energy, financial services, IP, litigation, real estate, and tax. Among its top practice areas includes tax, where the firm active in every area from planning the most complex corporate tax transactions to representing taxpayers in administrative and judicial tax controversies The firm also ranks high for associate quality of life, with particular recognition for its training and mentorship.
SCORE 9.860
2021 Ranking #Not Ranked
Eversheds Sutherland (US) LLP
#8
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 9.809
2021 Ranking #6
Proskauer Rose LLP
#9
Foley Hoag LLP
With headquarters in Boston, Foley Hoag is home to around 300 lawyers who focus on more than a dozen practices. Low on hierarchy and big on transparency, the firm attracts lawyers who are collaborative and respectful. Hailing from the land of red socks and chowder, Foley Hoag has stayed close to its Boston roots. With only four locations—in Massachusetts, New York, DC, and Paris—the firm is smaller than many of its BigLaw competitors. But Foley Hoag has made a name for itself with its strong practice and progressive history.
SCORE 9.767
2021 Ranking #21
Foley Hoag LLP
#10
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 9.763
2021 Ranking #12
Orrick
#11
BakerHostetler
BakerHostetler’s culture reflects its Midwest roots—professional, yet warm and welcoming. Associates are also treated to strong mentorship and transparent leadership. The “IncuBaker” team is one sign of the firm’s commitment to innovation. With specialties in bankruptcy, digital assets and data management, labor and employment law, intellectual property, litigation, and tax, BakerHostetler works across 16 practice areas in a dozen industries and also focuses on emerging issues like blockchain, Internet of Things, new markets tax credit, and more.
SCORE 9.760
2021 Ranking #8
BakerHostetler
#12
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 9.735
2021 Ranking #1
White & Case LLP
#13
Jackson Walker
Jackson Walker is a Texas-based law firm with a national presence and global reach. With more than 400 attorneys, we're the second-largest firm in Texas and provide comprehensive services in a broad range of practice areas. We pride ourselves on being the kind of attorneys that clients enjoy working with.
SCORE 9.719
2021 Ranking #3
Jackson Walker
#14
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 9.701
2021 Ranking #Not Ranked
Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP
#15
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 9.657
2021 Ranking #Not Ranked
Weil
#16
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 9.652
2021 Ranking #13
Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP
#17
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 9.650
2021 Ranking #Not Ranked
Paul Hastings LLP
#18
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 9.648
2021 Ranking #Not Ranked
Cooley
#19
Finnegan
Top-ranked for intellectual property, Finnegan is well known for its work in patent law—and its team of professionals has quite the impressive array of tech experience in addition to legal prowess. The firm is also known for its pro bono work supporting veterans. Finnegan takes training seriously, with extensive formal programming combined with an emphasis on mentoring. If you're seeking a supportive, team-oriented atmosphere, you will feel at home here.
SCORE 9.645
2021 Ranking #22
#19
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 9.645
2021 Ranking #17
Ropes & Gray
#21
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 9.639
2021 Ranking #26
Vinson & Elkins
#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 9.637
2021 Ranking #11
Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson LLP
#23
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 9.634
2021 Ranking #4
Dechert
#24
Morris, Manning & Martin, LLP
From an eight-attorney Atlanta real estate outfit, Morris, Manning & Martin has grown to become a reputable regional player in the Southeast with some international flex, particularly in China and Brazil. MMM is known for its strong trade group and has also turned heads with its corporate department, boasting a strong public securities offerings resumé. The firm’s corporate team is strong in venture capital as well, averaging about 50 VC deals annually and playing a constant role in Atlanta's ever-developing tech industry.
SCORE 9.625
2021 Ranking #Not Ranked
Morris, Manning & Martin, LLP
#25
Alston & Bird
Alston & Bird embodies Southern hospitality with its kind, friendly culture. Pro bono is a source of pride for associates, and the firm supports it with a unique opportunity for contribution bonuses based on non-billable hours. Alston & Bird is home to 800-plus lawyers located across the U.S., from its headquarters in the Peach State to nine additional domestic offices and three international locations. The firm has been recognized for its strength in such areas as health care, privacy and data security, real estate, and tax.
SCORE 9.597
2021 Ranking #Not Ranked
Alston & Bird
#26
Haynes and Boone, LLP
Headquartered in Dallas, it’s no surprise the culture at Haynes and Boone is as supportive and social as its Southern roots. With friendly colleagues and invested partners, associates get top-notch legal experience at a firm where they feel welcome. From its roots in Dallas-area corporate securities law, Haynes and Boone has expanded to 18 offices across the U.S. and abroad. Although much of its bread and butter remains with the Texas corporate scene, Haynes and Boone has used its presence in Shanghai and Mexico City to profit from Latin American and Chinese energy deals and international trade.
SCORE 9.578
2021 Ranking #Not Ranked
Haynes and Boone, LLP
#27
Kramer Levin
With close to 400 lawyers, Kramer Levin embraces a diversified practice model, with particular strength in bankruptcy, immigration, litigation, M&A, real estate, and white collar. Matters are staffed leanly, giving lawyers early and frequent opportunities for partner contact and sophisticated work. Rooted in New York, with offices in Silicon Valley, and Paris, Kramer Levin is a full-service shop with 375 lawyers. The firm practices across dozens of areas with particular strength in bankruptcy, immigration, litigation, M&A, real estate, and white collar.
SCORE 9.577
2021 Ranking #19
Kramer Levin
#28
Locke Lord LLP
Locke Lord offers top-tier legal work in a laid back, cordial environment. Lean staffing means early responsibility and experience for associates. With a number of women in leadership roles, the firm’s commitment to diversity shows in practice. Locke Lord is a full-service, international law firm of 20 offices and about 650 attorneys in locations across the U.S., as well as in Brussels and London. Locke Lord has received numerous industry recognitions as a global leader in the middle-market sector.
SCORE 9.553
2021 Ranking #Not Ranked
Locke Lord LLP
#29
Fish & Richardson P.C.
IP is the name of the game at Fish & Richardson, so be prepared to show off your technical or science background during interviews. Associates here are busy, but they are treated to a great culture, top-notch IP work, and lots of flexibility. The firm focuses mainly on IP litigation and counseling, as well as post-grant matters—but its breadth is reflected in the list of industries it serves. Fish handles IP matters for clients in more than a dozen industries, including biotechnology, energy, clean tech, consumer products, financial services, aerospace and defense, new media, manufacturing, pharmaceutical, telecommunications, and more.
SCORE 9.540
2021 Ranking #Not Ranked
Fish & Richardson P.C.
#30
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 9.537
2021 Ranking #Not Ranked
Shearman & Sterling LLP