ATL Career Center Survey, Biglaw, Reader Polls

ATL Law Firm Reputation Survey: Who Are The Early Front-Runners?

Earlier this month, we launched the ATL Law Firm Reputation Survey, asking those of you working in Biglaw to rate your peers and competitors. (Take five minutes and take our survey here.)

For our purposes, we split “reputation” into two distinct aspects: 1) the reputed strength and quality of a firm’s practice, and 2) the perceived desirability of the firm as a potential employer. For some, these factors will be functionally equivalent. For others, these are less overlapping considerations.

To date, we’ve received not quite a thousand survey responses and today we share some preliminary findings. What are you telling us thus far about which firms have the strongest practices? Which firms are some of the most coveted Biglaw employers in major markets?

Again, please note that these findings below are far, far from final. We will be running the ATL Law Firm Reputation Survey throughout the rest of the summer and we have only just begun to compile responses. But we thought it might be interesting to check out an early sample of your feedback.

So with that in mind, here are the top 5 rated (so far) national firms for “strength and quality of practice.” These are listed alphabetically:

Cravath Swaine & Moore
Munger Tolles & Olson
Sullivan & Cromwell
Williams & Connolly
Wachtell Lipton Rosen & Katz

No real surprises here. Three New York firms and one each from D.C. and L.A. This is a group familiar with being at or near the top of the well-known rankings lists, whether by “prestige” or PPP, although the amount of Munger-love here might surprise some.

In addition, the ATL Law Firm Reputation Survey presents respondents with a second (short, randomized) list of firms tailored for the respondents’ geographic location. Respondents rate these for both practice quality as well as desirability as potential employers. (In creating the survey, we limited our city-specific firm choices to offices with at least 50 lawyers.)

So here are the top three (in alphabetical order) rated most desirable Biglaw employers in selected markets:

San Francisco

Farella Braun + Martel
Fenwick & West
Keker & Van Nest

Chicago

Latham & Watkins
Sidley Austin
Skadden

D.C.

Covington & Burling
Gibson Dunn
Skadden

Los Angeles

Irell & Manella
Munger Tolles & Olson
Orrick

Boston

Cooley
Ropes & Gray
WilmerHale

NYC

Cleary
Debevoise
Wachtell

So among this early batch of front-runners, we’re seeing that only in New York and San Francisco are “homegrown” firms dominating the ratings. For example, Skadden is a highly coveted employer in both D.C. and Chicago, and Cooley clearly has a reputation in Boston as a good place to be.

As noted, we will be continuing our survey and sharing more findings over the next couple of months, so watch this space.

If you have not yet done so, take five minutes and take our survey here. Thanks!

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