Vault logo law firm rankings career guides.jpgReaders, we bring you some very exciting news. Just in time for fall recruiting, the folks over at Vault are releasing their highly influential — indeed, authoritative — law firm rankings. The rankings, along with informative and interesting write-ups of the ranked firms, will be available in Vault’s law guides. (Vault’s Guide to the Top 100 Law Firms is basically a Biglaw job seeker’s Bible.)
The official release date for the 2009 rankings is this coming Tuesday, August 12. But the Vault crew kindly offered Above the Law an exclusive preview of the new list, consisting of the top 50 firms for prestige and the 20 firms rated as “Best to Work For.” Obviously we wet ourselves just a little bit enthusiastically accepted Vault’s offer of an early look.
Check out the first half of the ATL preview — firms ranked 26-50 by prestige, and 11-20 on the “best to work for” list — along with explanatory commentary from Vault law editor Brian Dalton, after the jump.


See the two tables below, the first half of ATL’s sneak peak at the 2009 Vault law firm rankings. Did your firm make the cut, either in prestige or workplace appeal?
Check back later today to see the second and final half of the preview (firms 1-25 by prestige, and 1-10 rated “Best to Work For”). And, of course, visit Vault’s website next week, to see the complete rankings after they’ve been officially released.
With respect to the prestige rankings, Vault law editor Brian Dalton explains:

The Top 50 list simply reflects the average prestige scores given the firm by associates. (We had close to 19,000 respondents to our survey this year.)

[T]he ascension of U.K. firms is striking—most notably Linklaters and Allen & Overy, which have jumped a remarkable 21 and 22 spots respectively since 2006. It seems London’s arguable eclipse of New York for the title of ‘world’s financial capital,’ as well as recent, aggressive U.S. growth by the Magic Circle has resulted in a spike in prestige and name recognition.

CORRECTION (10:40 AM): As some of you have noted in the comments, the prestige rankings for last year (2008) are off. Vault is sending us corrected rankings, which we will substitute in as soon as we get them. Thanks for pointing this out.
UPDATE (10:47 AM): The prestige rankings for last year (2008) have been corrected. What you see in the table below is now accurate. Apologies, from us and from Vault, for the initial error.
UPDATE (3:30 PM): The complete 1-50 prestige and 1-20 “best to work for” rankings are now posted over here.
VAULT — LAW FIRM RANKINGS — BY PRESTIGE — #26-#50
Vault law firm rankings 2009 prestige 26-50.jpg
Okay, prestige is all that anyone cares about all well and good. But which firms are actually decent places to work? Cue the Vault “Best to Work For” rankings. Again, from Brian Dalton:

We determine our ‘Best Firms to Work For’ list using a blend of ‘quality of life’ categories, with ‘satisfaction’ given the most weight (40%), but hours, pay, training, diversity and pro bono also factor in.

VAULT — LAW FIRM RANKINGS — “BEST TO WORK FOR” — #20-#11
Vault law firm rankings 2009 best to work for 11-20.jpg
Update: ATL Exclusive: A Sneak Peek at the 2009 Vault Rankings! (Part 2 of 2)


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