Rankings

29-11-2011When it comes to choosing a law school, conventional wisdom dictates that one should attend the best school possible — that usually means a law school that’s perched atop the prestigious heights of the U.S. News rankings. Conveniently, going to an elite law school also means that one’s salary will usually be quite high, but just how high are we talking?

According to the latest salary rankings produced by PayScale, the answer is “pretty damn high” — so high, in fact, that at the midpoints of their careers, alumni of certain law schools beat out graduates from almost every other graduate school in the country.

So which law schools were ranked the highest? You made be surprised by some that made the cut…

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atl-power100-2015-officesConventional wisdom says you can’t compare apples to oranges. That’s stupid. Of course you can. Oranges are better. An orange is a delicious treat, while an apple is a healthy “snack” for people too embarrassed to have another bag of Doritos. Orange juice is also clearly superior to apple juice. The only people who truly prefer apples are those without the patience or dexterity to peel an orange.

Lots of people rank law firms. We even did it. And you can dice up law firm rankings in so many ways: most prestigious firm, safest firm, elite-est-ist firms, best firms in inter-coastal lowland regions.

That’s all great, but if you are going to work in a Biglaw firm, you are going to be working in a specific office. And not all offices are created equal, even within the same firm. There are firms that aren’t thought of very highly overall, but a specific office of their operation might be doing great work and be the place for your kind of thing.

And let’s drop the artifice that every graduating law student has a burning desire to work in New York or L.A. or Dallas. Some do. Some just want to work at the “best” firm they can, and they don’t really care which stop they have to take on the Acela. You think anybody wants to live in New Haven for three years? Come on. They go to Yale because it’s the best. And they’ll go to San Francisco or Chicago if there’s a better offer on the table out there than in New York City.

As usual, Above the Law wants to help you. So let’s look at some of the more interesting office disparities, and then look at our full list…

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Based on the traffic we’ve been seeing, there is considerable interest in the new ATL Power 100 Ranking of law firms. The Power 100 blends objective data with subjective feedback from over 20,000 law firm associates and partners. The result is a holistic picture of each firm, encompassing employee satisfaction, compensation, reputation, desirability as an employer, and data-driven measures of firm growth. The Power 100 offers a new perspective on how Biglaw firms stack up.

Today we share the leading firms in some of the individual categories of our rankings formula: Which firms have the highest growth rate? The lowest leverage? Which firms’ lawyers are happiest with their pay? Which firms are considered the most desirable employers?

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It’s that time of year again. Disregarding the fact that there are 204 law schools that are currently accredited, either fully or provisionally, by the American Bar Association, the Princeton Review has released its annual law school ranking which covers only the best 169 law schools. Our condolences to the 35 law schools that were left in the dust — per the Princeton Review, you suck.

Once again, we decided to focus on one of the 11 rankings categories that we thought people would be the most interested in: the law schools where graduates have the best career prospects. Before digging in, you should be aware that here, “career prospects” means a law graduate’s ability to get a job — any kind of job — period. Perhaps the Princeton Review ought to consider changing its methodology to include data people actually care about, like whether these law schools are helping their graduates become lawyers.

There was quite a shake-up in the rankings this year. Did your law school make the cut?

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Nobody will be shocked that Wachtell Lipton placed on top of our first-ever ATL Power 100. Yet a full look at ATL’s inaugural law firm rankings does contain some surprises.

How did your firm do?

See the complete ranking (and methodology) here.

* Thanks to a partner from K&L Gates, victims of revenge porn will be able to rely upon the assistance of the Cyber Civil Rights Legal Project to guide them through the courts pro bono. [National Law Journal]

* The latest Princeton Review rankings are out, and now you can find out if you attend a law school that has some of the best professors in the country. Spoiler alert: Yale Law isn’t No. 1. [Huffington Post]

* Calling all lawyers and law students! If you bought a Red Bull in the past 12 years to get through an all-nighter, then you’ll be able to make some quick cash from this class action settlement. [BuzzFeed]

* It seems Madam Justice Lori Douglas, the Canadian judge whose nude pictures were leaked online, is no longer facing sexual harassment charges. That must be nice for her, all things considered. [CBC News]

* Per federal prosecutors, if you’re not too high to suck at playing games on Xbox, then you’re not too high to forget about friends of the accused Boston bomber removing evidence from your room. [Bloomberg]

* Adrian Peterson’s felony child abuse trial is supposed to begin in December, but it could be delayed because the judge may have to recuse. That’s what happens when you call lawyers “media whores.” [CNN]

Since the Great Recession, it’s far too often that the public hears tales of horror about lawyers drowning in debt. We think it’s time for a change of pace. There are plenty of lawyers out there who have really made it financially — in case you’re mistaken, these people aren’t millionaires, they’re billionaires. These people would laugh at the thought of people suffering under the weight of six puny figures of law school loans.

As luck would have it, there’s a way to keep track of these luxurious creatures. Earlier this week, Forbes released its annual list of the richest people in America, the Forbes 400. Each year, we pore over the list to find the wealthiest lawyers, and in 2014, legal eagles continue to make a strong showing.

Which lawyers made the list this year? Keep reading to find out…

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Sometimes, the internet seems to exist largely in order to rate things. User-generated and unverified reviews of everything from movies to cars abound. The thing with this proliferation of ratings, be they on Yelp, or Amazon, or whatever, is that we usually don’t have any idea whether or not the reviewer has any basis for his rating. (In fact, the spoof product review has become its own literary micro-genre.)

Spurious or baseless ratings are not a problem when it comes to ATL’s Insider Survey (17,300 responses and counting — thanks everyone!), in which practicing attorneys and current students evaluate their own schools or employers. Among other things, our survey asks attorneys to nominate firms with over- and underrated practices within the respondent’s own practice specialty. Litigators nominate litigation departments, etc.

Which firms do those in-the-know consider to be better (or weaker) than their reputations?

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The National Law Journal named its Elite Trial Lawyers for 2014. It’s a list of 50 firms that the National Law Journal selected through a vetting process that reviewed “more than 100 firms, poring over nominations and reporting on performance.” Making a nearly 50 percent cut on an entirely subjective list. That must have been rough.

At a quick glance, the list seems entirely reasonable. A lot of these names look like usual heavy-hitters. And congratulations to everyone who made the list.

We don’t have the official congratulations message from the National Law Journal to the firms, but this reader created one that perfectly captures the problem…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “There’s Something Weird About These ‘Elite Lawyers’ Rankings”

Hallelujah and rejoice, for there are new Biglaw rankings upon us. Today, the American Lawyer magazine announced its Global 100, a ranking of the world’s 100 largest law firms in terms of total revenue. As we learned from the 2014 Am Law 100, the super-rich among the world’s Biglaw firms are only getting richer, and the latest rankings serve only as confirmation of this fact.

Last year, there were some surprising moves among the top 10 global firms, with DLA Piper swooping in to steal Baker & McKenzie’s thunder as the top-grossing firm in the world. Did the global mega-firm manage to reclaim its glory in the Global 100?

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