Vault's Top Law Firms By Practice Area and Region

Published: Jul 08, 2015

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With on-campus interviews fast approaching, law students are inundated with decisions. How to sort through the long list of law firms that hire summer associates and figure out where to submit your resume? Look no further. Following the release of the Top 100 law firm list earlier this month, today Vault released its practice area and regional law firm rankings for 2016.

While the Vault Law 100 ranks firms based on overall nationwide prestige, the rankings released today inform job-seekers about the best firms within each specialty and in different locations throughout the U.S. Like the Vault Law 100, the practice area and regional rankings are based on the opinions of associates who took our annual Law Firm Associate Survey. More than 17,000 associates at 149 firms participated this year.

Stay tuned for more rankings. Next week, Vault will release its Quality of Life Rankings, determining which firms provide the best overall working experience, in categories ranging from firm culture and compensation to training and career outlook. Vault will also release its Best Summer Programs list next week, followed by its Best Law Firms for Diversity rankings the week of July 20th. 

To view each ranking as they are released, click here.

Practice Area Rankings:

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).

Here is a look at the leaders of the 2016 Practice Area Rankings. Products Liability, Bankruptcy and Clean Tech/Renewable Energy all have new leaders, but otherwise, all firms held on to their No. 1 rankings from last year. For a full list of the Best Law Firms in Each Practice Area, click here.

General Commercial Litigation: Quinn Emanuel 

Appellate Litigation: Gibson Dunn 

Products Liability: Quinn Emanuel (last year: Skadden)

Securities Litigation: Skadden 

White Collar Defense & Internal Investigations: Williams & Connolly 

Litigation Boutiques: Susman Godfrey 

General Corporate Practice: Wachtell Lipton

Banking & Financial Services: Davis Polk

M&A: Wachtell Lipton 

Private Equity: Kirkland & Ellis 

Project Finance: Skadden 

Securities: Davis Polk 

Antitrust: Cleary Gottlieb 

Bankruptcy: Kirkland & Ellis (last year: Weil Gotshal)

Clean Tech/Renewable Energy: Latham & Watkins (last year: Morrison & Foerster)

Energy, Oil and Gas: Vinson & Elkins

Intellectual Property: Fish & Richardson 

IP Boutiques: Knobbe Martens 

International: Freshfields 

Labor and Employment: Littler Mendelson 

Real Estate: Fried Frank 

Tax: Skadden 

Technology: Fish & Richardson

Regional Rankings:

For many people looking into a law career, it’s all about location. Each regional ranking is based on scores from associates who actually work in that region. For example, an associate from the San Francisco office of a national firm was only allowed to vote in the Northern California category. Associates were asked to rate firms on a scale of 1 to 10 based on how prestigious they consider that firm in their region.  

Here is a look at the leaders of the 2016 Regional Rankings, which for the most part also dominated their respective regions in the 2015 rankings. But there were upsets in two parts of the country: Texas, where Baker Botts was voted No. 1 after briefly ceding that title to Vinson & Elkins last year; and Washington, DC, where Covington & Burling unseated Williams & Connolly. For a full list of the Best Law Firms in U.S. Region, click here.

Atlanta: King & Spalding

Boston: Ropes & Gray

Chicago: Kirkland & Ellis

Miami: White & Case

Mid-Atlantic: Skadden

Midwest: Jones Day

New York: Wachtell Lipton

Northern California: Morrison & Foerster

Southern California: Gibson Dunn

Pacific Northwest: Perkins Coie

Texas: Baker Botts (last year: Vinson & Elkins)

Washington, DC: Covington & Burling (last year: Williams & Connolly)

Congratulations to all the winners, and stay tuned for more rankings later this month based on Quality of Life, Summer Programs and Diversity!

Follow me on Twitter @VaultLaw

Read More:
The Essential Guide to Legal Practice Areas
Vault's Top 100 Law Firms for 2016