Associates Rank the Top Law Firms

Associates Rank the Top Law Firms

The 2013 Vault Law 100 is here! This year almost 17,000 associates took our survey, and their unequivocal view is that Wachtell is still on top-for the tenth year in a row.

Let's take a look at the rest of the top ten: 

  1. Wachtell Lipton Rosen & Katz
  2. Cravath, Swaine & Moore
  3. Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom
  4. Sullivan & Cromwell
  5. Davis Polk & Wardwell
  6. Weil, Gotshal & Manges
  7. Simpson Thacher & Bartlett
  8. Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton
  9. Kirkland & Ellis
  10. Latham & Watkins

Check out the full rankings here: 2013 Vault Law 100

This year saw more movement within the top ten than in years past. Skadden slipped past Sullivan & Cromwell to take the number three spot; Weil and Simpson swapped places in the #6 and #7 positions; and Latham bumped its way back into the top ten, sending Covington & Burling to #11. As many of you will remember, Latham was a top ten mainstay until 2010, when associates responded to the firm's layoffs by sending it from #7 to #17. It seems like all is forgiven, however, as the firm rejoined the top ten this year. Our survey respondents proclaimed that Latham is "back as top dog," citing its "great culture" and "laid-back" vibe.

Hogan Lovells also saw a notable jump, from #51 in 2012 to #41 this year. Before its merger with London-based Lovells, Hogan & Hartson was ranked #28. Given the failed firm mergers we've seen lately, it's understandable that associates were cynical about the newly combined firm's outlook. But Hogan Lovells seems like an example of a merger gone right-this year's ten-spot jump shows that they are on the upswing and receiving positive feedback from our respondents.

Baker Hostetler also ascended the ranks significantly, going from #77 to #68, thanks in no small part to its front-page role in the Madoff bankruptcy.

One firm that is missing from the rankings this year is, of course, Dewey & LeBoeuf. Ranked #37 last year, the firm collapsed this year and recently filed for bankruptcy.

Three firms that were unranked last year joined the Vault Law 100-Fenwick & West at #94, Wiley Rein at #97 and Kasowitz, Benson, Torres & Friedman at #98. Falling out of the top 100 were Troutman Sanders (ranked #93 in 2012), Littler Mendelson (previously ranked #97), Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton (previously ranked #98), Kelley Drye (previously ranked #99) and Foley Hoag (previously ranked #100).

Vault will be releasing the rest of its 2013 Rankings-Best in Practice, Best in Region, Best to Work For and Diversity Rankings-over the coming weeks. Make sure to follow us on Twitter @VaultLaw for up-to-the-minute information on those releases.

Rachel Marx is Vault's law editor. She covers legal news and trends relating to top law firms, law schools, and the general legal industry. Rachel holds a JD from Harvard Law School and a BA from Tufts University. She previously worked as a litigation associate at a large New York law firm. is the source of employer and education ratings, rankings and insight for highly credentialed, in-demand candidates. Vault's editorial mission is to empower candidates with unbiased research needed to evaluate the professions, industries and companies they aspire to join.  


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