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by Carter Isham | June 21, 2023


For the eighth year running, Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP tops the Vault 100 as the most prestigious firm in the United States. The firm also ranks in the top 5 of multiple practice groups, including the No. 1 spot in General Corporate Practice. “While other firms have stepped in as ‘first movers’ in recent compensation and hiring trends, Cravath’s influence on industry standards holds firm,” said Carter Isham, Senior Law Editor at Vault. Vault survey takers agree, noting that the firm is “the benchmark for pay scale” and “still the firm to beat.”

Vault’s top 10 most prestigious firms for 2024 are:

#1 Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP

#2 Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz

#3 Skadden

#4 Latham & Watkins

#5 Sullivan & Cromwell LLP

#6 Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP

#7 Kirkland & Ellis

#8 Simpson Thacher

#9 Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP

#10 Gibson Dunn

This is the tenth consecutive year to see Cravath, Wachtell Lipton, and Skadden in the top three spots and the sixth straight year with these 10 firms at the top of the Vault 100. This year saw some change in the middle of the top 10, with Latham and Sullivan & Cromwell moving back up one spot each to No. 4 and No. 5, respectively.

The Vault 100

The prestige rankings of the Vault 100 are relatively “sticky,” though major market shifts can result in notable changes. “This year’s rankings saw some readjustment to gains made in the 2023 rankings as the rest of the market caught up with salary increases, as well as the impact of layoffs late last year,” said Isham. Three firms achieved substantial gains, with one cracking the top 100 for the first time. Holland & Knight LLP climbed six spots to No. 52, enjoying positive momentum after merging with Thompson & Knight in 2021. Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP rose six spots to No. 74, gaining ground in national prestige to match its reputation in Chicago (No. 10). Akerman LLP broke into the Vault 100, coming in at No. 100, as well as moving up to the No. 4 spot in Florida.

Changes out West

In Northern California—a market strongly connected with the tech and ECVC industries—Morrison & Foerster LLP reclaimed the No. 1 spot. Morrison Foerster held the No. 1 position for over 10 years, moving to No. 2 in 2022 and 2023. Perkins Coie LLP stepped into the No. 1 position in the Mountain States after holding the No. 3 spot from 2020 to 2022 and the No. 2 spot in 2023. There were no changes at the top in Vault’s remaining regional rankings.

The No. 1 firm in each region is:

Atlanta: King & Spalding LLP

Boston: Ropes & Gray LLP

Chicago: Kirkland & Ellis

Florida: Holland & Knight LLP

Mid-Atlantic: Skadden

Midwest: Kirkland & Ellis

Mountain States: Perkins Coie LLP

New York: Cravath

Northern California: Morrison & Foerster LLP

Pacific Northwest: Perkins Coie LLP

Southern California: Latham & Watkins

South Atlantic: Alston & Bird LLP

Texas: Vinson & Elkins LLP

Washington, DC: Covington & Burling LLP

A New Victor in Appellate Litigation

The Appellate Litigation ranking saw a new No. 1 for the first time since the category was added in 2011, with Williams & Connolly LLP claiming the top station. Covington & Burling LLP moved up two spots to take No. 1 in White Collar Defense & Internal Investigations. There were no changes at the top in Vault’s remaining practice area rankings. The full rankings for each practice area can be found here.

Vault’s rankings for Best Firms to Work For, Best Summer Programs, Best Firms for Diversity, Midsize Regional Prestige, Midsize Best to Work For, and Top 150 Under 150 will be released in the coming weeks.

About the Rankings

The Vault 100 ranking is based on scores from more than 23,000 law firm associates surveyed earlier this year, who were asked to rate law firms on a scale of 1 to 10 based on prestige. Survey respondents were not allowed to rate their own firms and were asked only to rate firms with which they were familiar. In addition to the industry-wide ranking of overall prestige, Vault Law also asked associates to rate the local prestige of law firms in their region and to select the strongest firms in their specific areas of practice. From this data, Vault Law produced 17 regional prestige rankings, including rankings for Boston; Chicago; New York; Northern and Southern California; Texas; Washington, DC; and more. Vault also produced 24 practice area prestige rankings, including rankings for Bankruptcy/Restructuring, Commercial Litigation, General Corporate, Intellectual Property, Labor & Employment, M&A, and Privacy & Data Security, among others.

About Vault Law

Vault Law, an Infobase company, is the most comprehensive and trusted resource for law students and laterals to research law firms. Vault Law’s law firm rankings and profiles deliver the insider perspective and essential information candidates need to make successful career decisions. Each year, Vault Law surveys thousands of associates to understand what life is like for attorneys at the nation’s top law firms. Vault Law ranks law firms by prestige, region, and practice area as well as top firms for quality of life using its annual survey results. Additionally, Vault Law produces other valued resources including the Vault Law Resource Center: Summer Associate Interviewing & Top-Ranked Program, Practice Perspectives: Vault’s Guide to Legal Practice Areas, and Law Firm Diversity Profiles. Through Vault’s law school platform, thousands of students from nearly 100 partnering law schools across the country have unlimited access to this critical information.



Carter Isham, Senior Law Editor—Vault