King of the elite law firms, Cravath basically wrote the book on legal practice and lawyer training. The firm attracts the best of the best and boasts a professional atmosphere rooted in respect. Those who thrive under pressure, with a strong work ethic and intellectual curiosity will fare well at the firm. Cravath has a strong reputation for its work in antitrust, banking and credit, capital markets, corporate governance, executive compensation and benefits, M&A, securities litigation, tax, trusts and estates, and white collar criminal defense. Each of Cravath’s practice areas has an international focus, and more than one-third of its clients are based outside the United States.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
A corporate law giant and securities litigation all-star, Davis Polk is among the most elite law firms. The firm is synonymous with professionalism and is home to lawyers with strong work ethics who are committed to supporting and mentoring each other. Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP boasts one of the nation’s best and most comprehensive corporate departments, with impressive teams in capital markets, M&A, finance, restructuring, and tax. Its lauded litigation practice includes top-notch antitrust, civil litigation, intellectual property, and white collar criminal defense practices.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
With 69 international offices, Baker McKenzie is known for its cross-border work, and 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. While the firm wears many hats, it is most known for its cross-border work and its tax practice. The firm advises on an array of practice areas, including antitrust, capital markets, employment, intellectual property, international commercial and trade, M&A, private equity, real estate, restructuring, tax, and the list goes on.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Boies Schiller Flexner is the type of firm where associates toss aside the life vest and dive right in—and lawyers at this litigation powerhouse wouldn’t have it any other way. Litigators looking to roll up their sleeves and learn on the job will feel right at home here. While it also handles transactional matters, Boies Schiller Flexner is known for its litigation prowess—and most of its work revolves around high-stakes, complex litigation. Boies Schiller’s litigation practice is broad, including antitrust, appellate, constitutional law, cybersecurity and privacy, employment, energy, environmental law, First Amendment, health care, intellectual property, family law, products liability, securities litigation, and sports law—and everything in between.
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.
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.
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.
As the oldest BigLaw firm in Texas, Baker Botts gives attorneys exposure to a variety of high-caliber legal work—the icing on the cake is that it all happens in a collegial environment that fosters genuine friendships and organic mentorship. Baker Botts is perhaps best known for its Energy and Natural Resources practice. The firm holds a top spot in Vault’s Energy, Oil, & Gas ranking—and for good reason. The firm has handled more than 3,700 such matters across the globe in the past decade and advises on matters relating to oil, natural gas, liquified natural gas, coal, and renewables.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Linklaters is a Magic Circle firm with great opportunities for international work. For U.S. lawyers wanting to work for this U.K. powerhouse, the firm has offices in New York and DC, but lawyers educated in U.S. law work across the firm's global network. The team has the capacity and knowledge on the ground to handle assignments of virtually any size or complexity in any of its practice areas.
At Greenberg Traurig, attorneys receive cutting-edge work with colleagues they enjoy spending time with. Pro bono is a big emphasis here—the firm gets high marks for its dedication to supporting attorneys in a variety of endeavors. The firm’s lawyers work across practices, serving clients’ needs in financing, IP counseling, labor and employment, litigation, real estate, regulatory issues, tax, trusts and estates, and more. Among the firm’s specialties are sports facilities and entertainment venues, sports law, and video games and esports.
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.
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.
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.
Cadwalader has long been a place for talented associates to launch their careers. With a 230-year history, Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft LLP is the oldest Wall Street firm still in existence, and offers its associates strong training and both formal and informal mentorship as well as early hands-on experience. Among its practices are capital markets, corporate, financial restructuring, financial services, litigation, and real estate. The firm is a well-established presence in Charlotte, London, its headquarters of New York, and Washington, DC.
As a global giant, Dentons provides a plethora of opportunities for associates to grow in their legal careers. Strong mentorship complements early responsibility, and many associates envision long-term careers at the firm. More than 12,000 lawyers at Dentons work in a grand total of 40 practice areas across 24 different sectors, such as energy, financial institutions, government, life sciences and health care, manufacturing, private equity, real estate, technology, and transportation.
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.
Associates at Holland & Knight enjoy their work and appreciate their colleagues. The firm is a true pro bono leader, especially when it comes to its work supporting veterans. For those hoping to make partner, the firm provides a realistic pathway. With a political pedigree and strong Capitol Hill ties, the firm covers dozens of practice areas, from litigation, corporate law, intellectual property, and tax to more industry-specific teams.
Reed Smith is the perfect fit for associates who want to take on challenging legal work in a laid-back, welcoming environment. Partners here are active mentors, and on-the-job training is supplemented with courses through Reed Smith University. Reed Smith is a full-service shop, serving corporate and commercial clients on litigation, transactional, regulatory, and other matters. It also fields multi-disciplinary industry groups dedicated to clients in the life sciences, media and entertainment, energy and natural resources, shipping, and financial services sectors.
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.
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.
Norton Rose Fulbright hires attorneys who mesh with its kind, social culture. New leadership has made some recent, well-received changes, including expanded diversity and wellness initiatives, a new training platform, and heightened transparency. Norton Rose Fulbright serves major corporations, financial institutions, and innovative startups across the globe, with particular expertise in financial institutions; energy; infrastructure, mining and commodities; transport; technology and innovation; and life sciences and health care.
If you are a self-starter, Cahill just might be the place for you. Associates have no billable-hours requirement, which leaves room for pro bono and other non-billable work. Above-market bonuses are certainly a perk that associates appreciate. Today, in addition to handling transactional and litigation matters for its financial services and banking clients, Cahill represents clients in a range of industries, including pharmaceuticals, automotive, and global infrastructure.
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.
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.
Nixon Peabody is home to over 600 attorneys worldwide and offers litigation, real estate, corporate, and IP expertise. Beyond billables, pro bono is a source of pride for the firm, with a commitment of more than 3% of total time spent on pro bono. Nixon Peabody is recognized for its leadership in affordable housing and real estate, intellectual property, energy and environment, health care, tax, public finance, M&A, private equity, and complex commercial disputes.
Venable prioritizes personality in the hiring process—those who are down-to-earth but take their work seriously will be a good fit here. Associates also appreciate that the firm provides work-life balance along with top-tier legal work. Venable specializes in corporate and business law, complex litigation, intellectual property, and government affairs. The firm’s Litigation practice carries a particularly heavy workload in products liability, toxic torts, and environmental law cases, with corporate defense being the group’s overwhelming forte.
Fenwick seeks tech-oriented, entrepreneurial types who thrive on autonomy and flexibility to work with its innovative client base. Associates who go above and beyond are rewarded here—the firm is known to dole out trips to the tropics. Well known for its innovative work with technology and life sciences companies, Fenwick is home to nearly 500 attorneys across seven offices. The firm has grown beyond its Silicon Valley roots, with three thriving offices in California, an established office in Seattle, a rapidly growing office in New York, an international office in China, and a newly opened office in Washington, DC.
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.
Foley & Lardner handles a wide range of business matters, and the majority of the firm’s major clients come from the automotive, energy, health care, life sciences, and technology fields. The firm is selective in who it brings aboard—maintaining the firm’s friendly culture is a must. Associates feel valued here, with willing partner mentors and an in-house attorney coach on standby to help with issues and career advice.
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.
Squire Patton Boggs is a global force, with more than 1,500 lawyers worldwide. The firm takes pride in its efforts to foster a diverse and inclusive workplace, and it serves clients across the world with a “business has no borders” mindset. With a strong global reach, Squire Patton Boggs advises clients in a number of areas, including antitrust, business immigration, corporate matters, energy, environmental law, financial services, insurance, IP, international trade, labor and employment, litigation, public policy, real estate, restructuring, tax, and white collar, among others.
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.
If you are seeking a large firm—we’re talking more than 1,000 lawyers across 21 offices—that boasts a welcoming, respectful atmosphere, McGuireWoods may be the place for you. Teamwork is key at this full-service firm, which also highly values pro bono work. McGuireWoods regularly serves clients in the automotive, banking and financial services, chemical, energy resources, food processing, general manufacturing, government, health care, insurance, real estate, technology and telecom, and transportation industries.
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.
Self-starters will thrive at Arent Fox, with challenging work and strong mentorship there for the taking. Associates are proud of the firm’s diversity and pro bono initiatives, such as the recently established Center for Racial Equality. In addition to real estate, patent, trademark, and finance work, the firm also takes justifiable pride in its litigation, health care, and regulatory practices. With more than 450 lawyers and strengths across core practice areas, the firm’s client roster ranges from Fortune 500 corporations to trade associations.
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.
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.
With an eye toward continuous growth, Fox Rothschild has been slowly expanding over the years. The firm has established itself in certain niche industries, including cannabis and media and entertainment. Associates looking for a firm to grow with long term should look no further than Fox Rothschild. Fox Rothschild is a well-established player in the business, corporate and securities, entertainment, intellectual property, labor and employment, employee benefits, real estate, creditors’ rights, litigation, and estates law fields. In addition to its more mainstream departments, Fox Rothschild has developed experience in niche practices, including sports and the highly regulated field of cannabis law.
Don’t confuse Katten’s casual, friendly culture for a lack of challenging, interesting work—there is plenty of it to provide associates with early hands-on experience. Among other perks, associates value the firm’s strong support of pro bono work. With roots in Chicago, Katten has grown to nearly 700 attorneys across more than a dozen offices around the globe. The firm is known for its Corporate, Finance, Health Care, and Litigation practices, among others.
Known best for its deep experience in Labor & Employment, Seyfarth Shaw is a big firm that offers its lawyers tremendous opportunity to take the reins. Those seeking a firm that offers a unique combination of autonomy and collaboration will fit well here. Seyfarth Shaw is home to more than 900 lawyers across 17 offices in the U.S., U.K., Australia, and China. While it is highly regarded for its labor and employment practice, the full-service firm advises on a broad range of legal areas, including litigation, tax, immigration, corporate, real estate, and employee benefits.
At Boston-based Mintz, associates feel they are truly part of a team. They appreciate leadership that is open to ideas, feedback, and questions. And they receive great training and mentorship, including through ample pro bono opportunities. The firm initially focused on real estate and the banking industry, with an interesting early niche of representing theaters and motion picture chains, but it has expanded into nearly every conceivable practice area.
Davis Wright Tremaine is a Pacific Northwest powerhouse known for its prowess in media and entertainment law. The firm boasts early career development, demonstrated by the fact that about half of the firm’s practice chairs are in their 30s and 40s. Founded in 1908, Davis Wright Tremaine has worked with small clients as well as those of Fortune 500 stature, with a focus on litigation, entertainment, environmental, intellectual property, and employment law. Today, the firm has more than 500 attorneys across eight domestic offices.
Following a “One Firm” model where lawyers frequently work across offices and across borders, Bryan Cave is a friendly, collegial firm where associates and partners get along famously. Lawyers take their work seriously but are also happy to socialize with colleagues both during and after work hours. In April 2018, Bryan Cave merged with Berwin Leighton Paisner LLP. The new firm, Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner, has combined revenues of over $900 million and provides clients with access to international practice and sector teams in 31 offices across 11 countries.
Troutman Sanders was founded in Atlanta over a century ago, and Pepper Hamilton was launched more than 125 years ago in Philadelphia. In 2020, the firms merged, creating a megafirm with more than 25 domestic offices. Troutman Pepper lawyers work across more than 20 practice areas. Among the industries it serves are construction, energy, finance, health sciences, insurance, private equity, real estate, and technology.
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.
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.
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.
With around 600 attorneys, Blank Rome has been a Philly staple since the 1940s, but the firm isn’t exclusive to the City of Brotherly Love—its 13 offices span the U.S. and China. Over the course of the firm’s existence, Blank Rome has developed into a general practice firm, representing clients in the real estate, financial services, chemical, technology, energy, and life sciences industries and sectors. Adding to the list, the firm recently expanded its focuses on consumer financial services; cyber security and data privacy; energy, petrochemical and natural resources; and intellectual property. Additionally, the firm has nationally and internationally recognized maritime, matrimonial, insurance recovery, and government contracts practices.
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.
With deep roots in Philly, Ballard Spahr has made its mark across the U.S. with 15 offices. The firm has a particularly robust litigation practice and has been lauded for its focus on innovation. The firm advises some of the nation’s biggest market players in media law, securities and antitrust class actions, patent infringement cases, white collar defense matters, and federal and state appeals. The firm attracts friendly, outgoing types who are supportive of their colleagues and enjoy socializing.
With more than 800 lawyers around the world, Duane Morris has 22 offices across the U.S., as well as offices throughout Asia and one in London. Duane Morris’ practice areas include litigation, corporate law, intellectual property, business reorganization and financial restructuring, employment and immigration, energy and environment, health law, real estate, and private client services. The firm also serves some niche industries and areas, including infrastructure and cannabis. The firm provides counsel on issues relating to construction and engineering projects, including litigation, contract formation, public-private partnership projects, financing, real estate issues, environmental issues, and tax issues.
At Cozen O’Connor, attorneys get to tackle exciting legal challenges while maintaining a life outside of work. Associates appreciate the autonomy they are given to do their jobs and the responsibility they are given early in their careers. With 30 offices across the U.S., U.K., and Canada, Cozen O’Connor is a full-service law firm. The firm’s client list ranges from Fortune 500 and middle-market firms to startups and individuals.
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.
Faegre Drinker is an international law firm providing litigation, regulatory, and business services to clients ranging from Fortune 100 companies to startups. The firm was formed in February 2020 through the merger of Faegre Baker Daniels and Drinker Biddle & Reath. Both Faegre Drinker legacy firms have storied histories. The former Drinker Biddle & Reath was founded and headquartered in Philadelphia in 1849, and the former Faegre Baker Daniels was founded in 1863.
Hughes Hubbard fosters a collegial environment where associates feel welcomed and respected. A recently revamped mentoring program and substantial responsibility on pro bono and billable matters provide great opportunities for quality legal training. Founded more than 130 years ago, Hughes Hubbard has a strong New York presence and a wide geographic reach from coast to coast and also internationally. The firm is home to 40 wide-ranging practice areas across the firm’s four core services: 1. corporate, tax, and private client; 2. finance, restructuring, and bankruptcy; 3. intellectual property; and 4. litigation, arbitration, and investigations.
Thriving since the late nineteenth century, Dallas-based Thompson & Knight has evolved from a Texas oil-and-gas law firm into an international practice with locations and associated offices in Europe, Africa, and Latin America. In addition to energy, Thompson & Knight’s bankruptcy practice is particularly strong, having represented creditors in the bankruptcies of many of the biggest fallen giants, including Enron, WorldCom, and Adelphia. Some of its other major clients have included BNSF Railway Company, Johnson & Johnson, Dow Chemical Co., and Lockheed Martin.
At Hunton Andrews Kurth, associates have work-life balance—but no lack of top-notch, substantive experience. The firm places a heavy emphasis on pro bono, reflected in the 100% attorney pro bono participation rate and broad array of opportunities. The result of 2018’s largest merger, Hunton Andrews Kurth pairs two firms that had been growing by leaps and bounds in the past few years. Mid-Atlantic-based Hunton & Williams brought leading global practices in privacy and cybersecurity, energy, financial services, and real estate while Houston’s Andrews Kurth Kenyon had recently grown to an international firm renowned for its energy, environmental, IP, and privacy practices.