Despite what you might have heard, Biglaw isn’t all about the Benjamins, and it’s not all about the prestige either. While stories abound about long days and even longer nights spent at the office, some people actually enjoy working those hours — because their firms make it somewhat pleasurable to do so.
Some firms provide the means for their associates to have a decent quality of life (see, e.g., Cleary associates who “have a baby” to go to a Katy Perry concert and Quinn associates who get paid to go away for a while), while others do not.
Do you want to work at a firm where your quality of life as an associate is rated as among the best? Vault’s annual Best Law Firms to Work For ranking will tell you where to look if you want to be truly happy…
Before we get to the top ten, here’s Vault’s methodology so we can see exactly what we’re looking at:
In Vault’s annual Law Firm Associate Survey nearly 17,000 associates rated and commented on various areas of their work life including overall satisfaction, compensation, career outlook and more. …
This year’s Best 25 Law Firms to Work For rankings were calculated using a formula that weighs associate ratings (on a scale of 1 to 10) in the following areas: Overall Satisfaction (25%); Hours (10%); Compensation (10%); Business Outlook (10%); Substantive Work (10%); Associate/Partner Relations (5%); Leadership Transparency (5%); Formal Training (5%); Informal Training, Mentoring & Sponsorship (5%); Pro Bono (5%); Overall Diversity (5%); Career Outlook (5%).
Like last year, there was another big shake-up in Vault’s rankings. Here are your new Top 10 firms:
1. Paul Hastings (no change)
2. Ropes & Gray (no change)
3. Foley Hoag (up from #6)
4. Gibson Dunn & Crutcher (up from #5)
5. Proskauer Rose (not ranked last year)
6. Williams & Connolly (down from #3)
7. Cooley (up from #17)
8. O’Melveny & Myers (not ranked last year)
9. Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo (up from #22)
10. Alston & Bird (up from #14)
Firms that were booted from the top 10 include Irell & Manella, Patton Boggs (perhaps for obvious reasons, like the semi-implosion of the firm), Patterson Belknap, Fish & Richardson, and Baker Donelson.
Congratulations once again to Paul Hastings. This is the firm’s second year at the top of this list. Per Vault, the firm ranked No. 1 in Overall Satisfaction, and No. 2 in five other categories: Hours, Firm Culture, Formal Training, Informal Training, and Associate/Partner Relations. It’s really been a banner year for the firm, because it also took home top honors on the Am Law A-List for the first time. Nice work!
It’s worth noting that Wachtell, a firm that didn’t make the Top 25 in Vault’s ranking, took home the top slot in the Compensation category. Here’s what an associate who enjoys rolling around in money had to say:
“I made more in my bonus last year as a second-year than an associate at another top firm will make in bonuses throughout his or her entire associate career.”
Congrats to all on the “best firms to work for” list — because even if your associates can pay off their law school debts and then some, if they don’t have the time to spend the money, what’s the point?