Cravath Continues to Be Leader in Vault’s 2018 List of Top Law Firms
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Summary: The much-anticipated results from Vault’s associate survey have been released with Cravath, Swaine & Moore still leading the pack.

The results are in. Vault’s annual survey of associates has come back with Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP once again on top for the second year. The law firm narrowly knocked off Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz’s last year from their 13-year reign. This year the gap between the two widened even more.


Cravath has been referred to as the “leader of the pack” and a “great American law firm against which all others should be judged” by those who took the survey. Vault Senior Law Editor Matt Moody said, “After just edging out Wachtell last year, Cravath really solidified its top spot this year. Cravath invented the business model upon which nearly all large law firms are organized. And associates clearly haven’t forgotten that the firm is responsible for industry-wide associate raises last year.”

The survey asks roughly 18,000 law firm associates on a scale of 1 to 10, which law firm is the most prestigious. Associates are not allowed to rank their own firm and only supposed to rate law firms that they are familiar with. The survey also invited associates to rate the local prestige of firms in their area as well as to select the best firms in their specific practice area. Using this data they are able to make 26 practice area prestige ranking and 13 regional prestige rankings. They added two new practice areas to their rankings – Emerging Companies & Venture Capital and Health Care.

There were five new firms to make it to the top 100 this year. Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton; Kasowitz Benson Torres; Troutman Sanders; Davis Wright Tremaine; and Ballard Spahr were not in the top 100 last year but were able to slip in this year. The firms that dropped off the last were Bracewell; Keker & Van Nest; and Patterson Belknap Webb & Tyler. Two other spots were opened up when Arnold & Porter merged with Kaye Scholer and Norton Rose Fulbright with Chadbourne & Parke.

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  1. Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP
  2. Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz
  3. Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP and Affiliates
  4. Sullivan & Cromwell LLP
  5. Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP
  6. Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP
  7. Latham & Watkins LLP
  8. Kirkland & Ellis LLP
  9. Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP
  10. Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP
  11. Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP
  12. Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP
  13. Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan LP
  14. Sidley Austin LLP
  15. Jones Day
  16. Covington & Burling LLP
  17. Debevoise & Plimpton LLP
  18. White & Case LLP
  19. Williams & Connolly LLP
  20. Boies, Schiller & Flexner LLP
  21. Ropes & Gray LLP
  22. Paul Hastings LLP
  23. WilmerHale
  24. Morrison & Foerster LLP
  25. O’Melveny & Myers LLP
  26. Hogan Lovells LLP
  27. Proskauer Rose LLP
  28. Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP
  29. Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer
  30. Baker McKenzie
  31. Mayer Brown LLP
  32. Cooley LLP
  33. Clifford Chance US LLP
  34. K&L Gates LLP
  35. Munger, Tolles & Olson LLP
  36. Linklaters LLP (US)
  37. DLA Piper
  38. Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy LLP
  39. Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP
  40. Shearman & Sterling LLP
  41. Allen & Overy LLP
  42. Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP
  43. Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati
  44. Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft LLP
  45. Baker Botts LLP
  46. King & Spalding
  47. Winston & Strawn LLP
  48. Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson LLP
  49. Goodwin
  50. Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP
  51. Dechert LLP
  52. Greenberg Traurig LLP
  53. Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP
  54. Perkins Coie LLP
  55. Jenner & Block LLP
  56. Alston & Bird LLP
  57. Cahill Gordon & Reindel LLP
  58. McDermott Will & Emery LLP
  59. Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP
  60. Irell & Manella LLP
  61. Vinson & Elkins LLP
  62. Reed Smith LLP
  63. Susman Godfrey LLP
  64. Holland & Knight LLP
  65. Dentons
  66. Baker & Hostetler LLP
  67. Nixon Peabody LLP
  68. Norton Rose Fulbright
  69. Crowell & Moring LLP
  70. Squire Patton Boggs
  71. Fish & Richardson P.C.
  72. Steptoe & Johnson LLP
  73. Bryan Cave LLP
  74. Venable LLP
  75. Foley & Lardner LLP
  76. Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton LLP
  77. McGuireWoods LLP
  78. Locke Lord LLP
  79. Fenwick & West LLP
  80. Arent Fox LLP
  81. Schulte Roth & Zabel LLP
  82. Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP
  83. Hunton & Williams LLP
  84. Seyfarth Shaw LLP
  85. Pepper Hamilton LLP
  86. Hughes Hubbard & Reed LLP
  87. Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo, P.C.
  88. Kellogg, Hansen, Todd, Figel & Frederick PLLC
  89. Haynes & Boone, LLP
  90. Fox Rothschild LLP
  91. Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton LLP
  92. Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP
  93. Blank Rome LLP
  94. Duane Morris LLP
  95. Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel LLP
  96. Troutman Sanders LLP
  97. Littler Mendelson P.C.
  98. Davis Wright Tremaine LLP
  99. Kasowitz Benson Torres LLP
  100. Ballard Spahr LLP

Are you surprised by any of the results? Tell us in the comments below.

To learn more about Cravath, Swaine & Moore, read these articles:




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