Biglaw, Rankings, Vault rankings

Official New Vault Rankings

Vault logo law firm rankings career guides.jpgThe official Vault law firm rankings for 2010 are out today. This list will define law firm prestige for the year to come. Many law students, associates, and partners — especially partners involved in the recruiting process — care greatly about these influential rankings.
Here are the top five most prestigious law firms, according to Vault. This year’s top five is substantially similar to last year’s:
2010 Vault final top5.jpg
Skadden has flipped-flopped with Sullivan & Cromwell. Otherwise the top five remain unchanged from last year.
After the jump, the rest of the brand new Vault top ten, and a note from Vault’s managing editor about what’s new in this year’s rankings.

There is a little more movement in the rest of the top ten:
2010 Vault final top10.jpg
Check out the full Vault list here. You’ll notice some more movement in the top 25, including Latham & Watkins dropping to #17 this year (the firm ranked #7 last year).
Vault’s managing editor Brian Dalton highlighted a number of things that are different about this year’s rankings:

A little while back, Elie wrote, “New Vault rankings are coming out and either there will be a significant shake-up in the rankings or some people are going to lose there their ever-lovin’ minds.” Well, “some people” may have to hassle their therapists out on the Vineyard: the rankings are fairly stable, despite the last year’s tumult. (And yesterday’s ‘technical glitch glitches.’) Particularly so closer to the top, where Wachtell — claiming the #1 slot for the seventh straight year — continues to exist in a zone of its own.

That said, the rankings are not quite as stable as they have been in the past. In most years, there is some sort of shuffle among numbers 8 through 11. This year, however, Latham fell an unprecedented 10 spots down to #17, while Weil Gotshal climbed from #9 to #6. (The latter is one small perk of having the world’s preeminent restructuring group during an economic crisis.)

The overall stability of the rankings doesn’t obscure some long-term trends happening at a number of firms:

Cadwalader continues its free fall (#26 in the 2008 rankings, #60 in 2010), while Quinn Emanuel is on the rise (#43 in 2008, #23 in the new rankings).

We will have much more analysis of these rankings over the next couple of weeks. For now, what are your first impressions?
Law Firm Rankings : Top 100 Law Firms [Vault]
Finally: The 2010 Law Firm Rankings [Vault]

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