Vault rankings

We’ve gotten away from plowing through the latest Vault Rankings, but fear not. Your firm is coming up soon.

We’ve been through the top 30 firms. But now we’re getting into a group of firms that really utilized the cost-cutting measures of salary cuts and layoffs to weather the recession of 2009. Did these guys take a big prestige hit? Not really. Here’s the next batch of firms:

31. Mayer Brown
32. Milbank
33. Paul Hastings
34. Akin Gump
35. Allen & Overy
36. Fried Frank
37. Irell & Manella
38. Freshfields
39. Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe
40. Willkie Farr & Gallagher

Just off the top of my head, does anybody else think that Irell is coming in a little low?

Anyway, let’s get into these firms…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Fall Recruiting Open Threads: Vault 31 – 40 (2011)”

We’re rolling through the Vault 2011 list of the “prestigiest” firms in the land, so that you can comment on what it’s like to actually live, work, and breathe those firms (when you’re not choking on all the prestige in the air).

We’ve covered #1-10 and #11-20. Here’s the next round-up. Now it’s time for the London-based Magic Circle firms to join in the elite fun:

21. Arnold & Porter
22. Shearman & Sterling
23. Boies, Schiller & Flexner
24. O’Melveny & Myers
25. Ropes & Gray
26. Morrison & Foerster
27. Munger, Tolles & Olson
28. Hogan Lovells
29. Clifford Chance
30. Linklaters

What do associates have to say about the ups and downs of life at these firms? Here are some excerpts from their Vault listings…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Fall Recruiting Open Threads: Vault 21 – 30 (2011)”

The 2011 Vault prestige rankings are out, giving meaning and purpose to those whose firms ranked in the top 20, and giving those further down the list inferiority complexes. (We’re talking to you, #21-formerly-#18.)

This thread covers the firms ranked #11 through #20. This is your chance to discuss these firms — their upsides and downsides and whether Vault got their rankings right. The Vault site has entries for each firm, similar to the Firm Snapshots in our own Career Center.

The “downers” category for most firms tends to be rather general: they treat me like a number, “long hours,” “unfun,” etc. But someone at #20-ranked White & Case had a very specific complaint about the firm’s lack of tech savvy: “The technology is very outdated. We still run Outlook 2003 and are not allowed to use iPhones. The blackberries we are given are over 2 years old and do not work well at times. The firm is not receptive to these issues.”

Little known White & Case perk: every new associate gets their own Commodore 64 for home use.

What are the reviews for the other firms in this bracket?

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Fall Recruiting Open Threads: Vault 11 – 20 (2011)”

We’re taking a break from our march through the Vault prestige rankings to look at another way of pitting law firms against each other: practice group strength.

It’s an approach that’s favored by groups such as Chambers and Partners. Instead of focusing on overall firm prestige, these rankings focus on which firms are great at their chosen specialties.

Of course, there’s a limitation to ranking firms this way. It’s more helpful for lateral hires and clients than to law students or young lawyers choosing between firms (who are often the consumers of Vault guides). Sure, young 2L, you might want to go to the top capital markets law firm in all the land — if you knew what capital markets practice entailed. Which you don’t. Specialization usually comes after you’ve been working for a couple of years, not before you even graduate from law school.

With that disclaimer, it’s still pretty interesting to see which well-known firms rose to the top in some interesting practice groups…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Vault Practice Group Rankings”

The real utility of the Vault law firm rankings isn’t the opportunity they give to prestige whores who want to lord their status over others. The rankings — conveniently released just before the start of on-campus recruiting — allow law students to get an inside peek at the firms that will soon be coming to campus to vie for their attentions. The firms know a lot about you, but what do you really know about the firms? The Vault rankings are an opportunity to close the informational gap.

Okay, sure, I ripped that opening from something somebody probably wrote in 2005. In a recession economy, law students are probably more concerned with which firms won’t abort their legal careers, instead of which firms have the best cookies.

But still, the rankings give us an opportunity to discuss each firm. And readers of Above the Law are always full of opinions when it comes to the best Biglaw firms.

So sit back, register your Disqus account, and join us as we romp through the Vault 100. We’ll start at the very top — because prestige whoring doesn’t have to be useful in order to be fun…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Fall Recruiting Open Threads: Vault 1 – 10 (2011)”

Oh yeah, it’s time to get your prestige on.

The 2011 Vault prestige rankings went live this morning. It’s the time of the year when associates get to make fun of their friends, and partners get to brag to their peers. Law is a prestige-conscious field, and the Vault rankings will set the tone for prestige battles over the next year.

The top five remain the same, but the order has changed:

1. Wachtell
2. Cravath
3. Sullivan & Cromwell
4. Skadden
5. Davis Polk & Wardwell

Sullivan & Cromwell hops back over Skadden this year. I guess Skadden’s Sidebar Plus didn’t have quite enough prestige points.

Moving on, there is one firm that dropped out of the Vault top ten…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “The 2011 Vault Rankings Are Out!”

Vault Diveristy logo.JPGYesterday we wrote about NALP’s decision to allow firms to blur the equity / non-equity partner distinction. Today, the WSJ Law Blog, the ABA Journal, and Business Insider have coverage of the issue.
But NALP isn’t the only organization attempting to gather information on law firm partnerships. Vault is also in that game, and according to a senior law editor Vera Djordjevich, they have no problem getting the very equity versus non-equity partnership information NALP ignores:

[O]ur diversity survey requests — and most law firms provide — separate numbers for equity partners and non-equity partners. …
The database includes statistics for equity vs non-equity partners for each of the demographic groups the survey addresses (gender, race/ethnicity, sexual orientation and disability). Of the firms that participate in the survey, a small percentage refuse to distinguish between partnership tiers in their reporting, but that fact is generally disclosed in a footnote. For example, Kirkland & Ellis reports that it has more than one partnership tier but includes all data in the equity partner category, explaining that the firm “does not distinguish between equity and non-equity partners for the purpose of external surveys.”

So Vault is at least asking the questions — but are they getting answers? Details after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Vault Explains Why It’s Better Than NALP”

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.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Official New Vault Rankings”

Vault logo law firm rankings career guides.jpgThe new Vault law firm rankings, for 2010, are set to be released later this week. But earlier today, readers sent us this link, which takes you to a page on the Vault website with incomplete prestige rankings for a little over 60 law firms.
We reached out to Brian Dalton, managing editor of Vault, who informed us that these rankings are NOT legit. From Dalton:

These are not the correct rankings. There was a technical glitch on our end and some incorrect rankings have appeared on the site. We will publish the new rankings soon.

And when they do, we’ll be sure to let you know.
Still, even if these rankings are wrong, it’s always fun to gawk. While we wait for the official list to be produced, here are the top five firms on the apocryphal list (note the absence of Cravath):
Vault 2010 top5.JPG
After the jump, more faux rankings.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Pregaming the Vault Rankings: Incorrect Rankings Appear on Vault Website”

Vault logo law firm rankings career guides.jpgThe latest edition of the highly influential Vault law firm rankings will be coming out any day now. Participating firms have been notified in advance of how they fared this year — and some of them are already tooting their own horns.
For example, Ropes & Gray sent around an internal email touting its being named Vault’s #1 Best Firm to Work For. Congratulations, Ropes!
Congratulations are also in order for Bingham McCutchen. From the firm’s press release:

Bingham’s ranking jumped significantly in diversity and overall scores in the 2010 Vault ratings, the firm’s best year to date.

In the overall Best Firms to Work For category, Bingham broke into the Top 10 at No. 6 in the 2010 rankings…. In the 2010 Prestige category, which ranks firms based on the evaluations of associates from other law firms, Bingham rose seven slots to No. 56.

Bingham’s rank also rose in every category related to diversity in the 2010 Vault rankings. The firm placed in the Top 20 in the Diversity Women category at No. 15. It also rose from No. 16 to No. 11 in the Diversity Gay & Lesbian category, and climbed from No. 16 to No. 12 in the Overall Diversity category.

Do you know how your firm fared in the soon-to-be-released Vault rankings? Do you have an opinion on how it should have done?
Feel free to discuss, in the comments. Of course, when the new Vault rankings are officially released, we will bring you more coverage. Thanks.

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