Vault.com has just released its annual Practice Area Rankings, which reflect the prestige of firms within specific practice areas, as determined by associates at peer firms.
To help you hone your job search, Vault ranks law firms not only in overall prestige, but also in a variety of practice areas. These rankings are based on the opinions of associates who took our annual Law Firm Associate Survey earlier this year. In our survey, associates are asked to vote for up to three firms they consider strongest in their own practice area, but they are not permitted to vote for their own firm. For example, associates who identify themselves as corporate attorneys are allowed only to vote in corporate-related categories (e.g., M&A, financial services and securities). Our rankings indicate the top firms in each area (those that received the highest percentage of votes).
Last year, Skadden pulled in the most No. 1 spots with four top rankings. This year, Skadden beats its own record by claiming top honors in six different categories — Products Liability, Securities Litigation, General Corporate, Project Finance, Securities and Tax — in the process, toppling the former King of Corporate Law, Wachtell, as well as last year’s Securities champ, Sullivan & Cromwell.
Other firms that made it to the top of practice rankings include Sidley Austin, which now holds the No. 1 position in both Financial Services and Energy, Oil & Gas; and Morrison & Foerster, which moved into the top spot for Technology and remains No. 1 in Clean Tech (this year sharing the rank with Wilson Sonsini).
Here is a look at the leaders of the 2014 Practice Area Rankings, including the No. 1 firm in each practice for both this year and last year, as well as a sample of our survey respondents’ views of the firms. For a full list of the Best Law Firms in Each Practice Area, click here.
General Commercial Litigation: Quinn Emanuel (last year: Quinn Emanuel)
Appellate Litigation: Gibson Dunn (last year: Gibson Dunn)
Products Liability: Skadden (last year: Skadden)
Securities Litigation: Skadden (last year: Skadden)
White Collar Defense and Internal Investigations: Williams & Connolly (last year: Williams & Connolly)
Litigation Boutiques: Susman Godfrey (last year: Susman Godfrey)
General Corporate Practice: Skadden (last year: Wachtell Lipton)
Financial Services: Sidley Austin (last year: Sullivan & Cromwell)
M&A: Wachtell Lipton (last year: Wachtell Lipton)
Private Equity: Simpson Thacher (last year: Simpson Thacher)
Project Finance: Skadden (note: this is a new category)
Securities: Skadden (last year: Sullivan & Cromwell)
Antitrust: Cleary Gottlieb (last year: Cleary Gottlieb)
Bankruptcy: Weil Gotshal (last year: Weil Gotshal)
Clean Tech/Renewable Energy: Morrison & Foerster and Wilson Sonsini (tie) (last year: Morrison & Foerster)
Energy, Oil and Gas: Sidley Austin (last year: Vinson & Elkins)
Intellectual Property: Fish & Richardson (last year: Fish & Richardson)
IP Boutiques: Knobbe Martens (last year: Knobbe Martens)
International: Freshfields (last year: Freshfields)
Labor and Employment: Littler Mendelson (last year: Seyfarth Shaw)
Real Estate: Fried Frank (last year: Fried Frank)
Tax: Skadden (last year: Skadden)
Technology: Morrison & Foerster (last year: Fish & Richardson)
The numbers have been crunched and the results have been tabulated: nearly 17,000 associates took Vault’s survey this year, and yes—Wachtell is still number one.
In fact, there was only one change to the top ten this year: Sullivan & Cromwell reclaimed the No.
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