2016's Top 20 Law Firms in Terms of Prestige
With law firms, rating must never be a matter of lawyers employed, nor even revenue, nor a resume of what great businesses the firm has represented. Certainly those carry weight and they all contribute. However, what they contribute to is this intangible quality called "prestige", which can best be collected, statistically and metrically, through a survey of those who ought to know.
In this regard, we can look with appreciation to Vault Law 100's yearly list of law firms, rated based on a survey of 17,000 law associates. They are asked to rate other firms, though not their own (to avoid prejudice), and they are asked to rate firms on a scale of 1 to 10 based on prestige.
What we see in the top 20 for 2016, as compared to 2015, is surprisingly little change in ranking. Pretty much everybody stayed in place, with Wachtell, Liton, Rosen & Katz at number one, Cravath, Swaine, & Moore LLP at 2, Skadden Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP at number 3, Sullivan & Cromwell LLP at 4, and Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP at 5.
Kirkland & Ellis went up from 9 to 7, and Clearly Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP and Weil, Gotshall & Manges LLP both lost some footing, going from 7 to 8, and 8 to 9 respectively.
Other than Boies, Schiller & Flexner LLP up to 12 from 13, and Covington & Burling LLP down from 12 to 13, the rest of the top 20 remained static.
- Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz
- Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP
- Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP and Affiliates
- Sullivan & Cromwell LLP
- Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP
- Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP
- Kirkland & Ellis LLP
- Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP
- Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP
- Latham & Watkins LLP
- Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP
- Boies, Schiller & Flexner LLP
- Covington & Burling LLP
- Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP
- Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, LLP
- Debevoise & Plimpton LLP
- Sidley Austin LLP
- Williams & Connolly LLP
- Jones Day
- White & Case LLP
Summary: With law firms, rating must never be a matter of lawyers employed, nor even revenue, nor a resume of what great businesses the firm has represented.