Vault Ranks Law Firms with Best Quality of Life for 2018
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Summary: Vault has released its list of the Best Law Firms to Work For based upon an associate survey.

Paul Hastings has been named the Best Law Firm to Work For by Vault. The firm lost the title to O’Melveny & Myers last year, but it has since reclaimed the throne.


On Tuesday, the career resource website released its rankings of the top law firms with the best Quality of Life; and Paul Hastings was named the Best Law Firm to Work For, Ropes & Gray was named Best Law Firm for Diversity, and Fried Frank was identified as having the Best Overall Summer Associate Program.

“As law school enrollment has dropped over the last decade, law firms must compete even more fiercely for the top candidates, and this generation of law school graduates care about more than just prestige,” said Matt Moody, Vault’s Senior Law Editor. “The associates currently working at a law firm offer the best window into what life is really like at any particular firm, and Vault’s Quality of Life Rankings and firm profiles summarize this information so that law students and laterals can carefully weigh their options.”

The title of Best Law Firm to Work For was determined by three Quality of Life factors–Satisfaction, Associate/Partner Relations, and Quality of Work. After ranking those aspects, Vault then looked at the areas of Hours, Transparency, and Informal Training, according to the company press release.

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The associates at Paul Hastings told Vault that the BigLaw firm “is a fantastic place to practice law” and that the partners “genuinely value the associates as individuals.” In addition to earning the 2018 title, it was also named the top firm in 2014 and 2016.

According to LawCrossing, Paul Hastings was formed in 1951 and has almost 20 offices around the globe. Many of the world’s top financial institutions and Fortune Global 500 companies are the firms’ clients, and they have a strong presence in the United States, Asia, and Latin America.

While Paul Hastings may have lapped O’Melveny this year, O’Melveny still took the top honor in the categories regarding Firm Culture and Hours, and it was named in the top three of the categories Best to Work For, Overall Diversity, and Best Summer Program.

To create the rankings, Vault surveyed nearly 18,000 associates and asked them to comment on various parts of their work life. According to Vault, “This year’s Best 25 Law Firms to Work For rankings were calculated using a formula that weighs associate ratings in a dozen different areas: Overall Satisfaction (25%); Firm Culture (10%); Hours (10%); Quality of Work (10%); Compensation (10%); Business Outlook (5%); Career Outlook (5%); Associate/Partner Relations (5%); Leadership Transparency (5%); Informal and Formal Training (5%); Pro Bono (5%); and Overall Diversity (5%).”

Vault divided its lists into an overall “Best Law Firms to Work For” ranking, a ranking of the best firms by Quality of Life area, and by Diversity areas.

“BigLaw firms have improved their recruiting of diverse attorneys, but at the partner level attorneys are disproportionately white and male,” said Moody. “But law firms are implementing new initiatives to help retain and promote female and minority attorneys, like extended parental leave, agile working programs, and affinity groups to create a more diverse and inclusive workforce.”

Vault’s 2018 Top 10 Best Law Firms to Work For:

  1. Paul Hastings
  2. Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson
  3. O’Melveny & Myers
  4. Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe
  5. Ropes & Gray
  6. Proskauer Rose
  7. Finnegan, Henderson, Farabow, Garrett & Dunner
  8. Thompson & Knight
  9. Foley Hoag
  10. Gibson Dunn & Crutcher

The No. 1 Firms in Vault’s Quality of Life Categories:

  • Satisfaction: Paul Hastings
  • Firm Culture: O’Melveny & Myers
  • Hours: O’Melveny & Myers
  • Quality of Work: Paul Hastings
  • Compensation: Wachtell Lipton
  • Business Outlook: Paul, Weiss
  • Career Outlook: Fried Frank
  • Associate/Partner Relations: Paul Hastings
  • Leadership Transparency: Fried Frank
  • Formal Training: Ropes & Gray
  • Informal Training, Mentoring & Sponsorship: Fried Frank
  • Pro Bono: Patterson Belknap
  • Integration of Laterals/Clerks: BuckleySandler
  • Selectivity in Hiring: Williams & Connolly

The No. 1 Firms in Vault’s Diversity Categories:

  • Diversity for Individuals with Disabilities: Ropes & Gray
  • Diversity for Minorities: Constangy
  • Diversity for Women: Constangy
  • LGBT Diversity: Ropes & Gray

What do you think of Vault’s rankings? Let us know in the comments below.



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