Skip to Main Content
by Travis Whitsitt | February 21, 2024

Share

Antitrust attorneys help companies navigate competition issues created by organic growth or acquisition under national and international laws and regulations. Antitrust attorneys straddle the line between litigation and corporate attorneys. They may advise about possible antitrust regulatory issues in an acquisition or other transaction and also represent companies in litigation, especially against the Department of Justice, Federal Trade Commission, or similar foreign government agencies. The stakes in antitrust cases can be very high “bet the company” litigation and involve complicated, sophisticated issues that can turn on minute details. Antitrust lawyers tend to be smart, methodical, and cerebral. Antitrust practitioners work across industries, and each engagement requires the attorneys to understand the products or services at issue, how they are made, how they are sold, how firms compete, and how they collaborate. It is common for antitrust attorneys in the U.S. to spend at least part of their careers working for the Department of Justice or FTC.

The five top-ranked Antitrust firms based on Vault’s 2024 Antitrust prestige rankings are Cleary; Latham; Gibson Dunn; Skadden; and Cravath. Below are a few relevant highlights about each of these firms.

Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP

Cleary operates 4 U.S. and 12 international offices, and employs over 1,000 attorneys. In addition to being the top Antitrust firm, Cleary is #14 in the overall Vault Law 100 and is #30 overall in our Best Law Firms to Work For rankings. Associates here describe the culture as friendly and welcoming, with a billable hour requirement of 1,950. Partnership here is transparent but acknowledged as unrealistic for most associates, although non-partner roles and exit opportunities are both strong.

Latham & Watkins

Latham & Watkins holds the #2 spot in Vault’s Antitrust prestige rankings this year. Latham & Watkins operates out of 12 U.S. and 18 international offices, employing over 1,000 attorneys. The firm ranks #4 in the overall Vault Law 100, is the top firm in our Southern California prestige rankings, and is the #23 Best Law Firm to Work For overall. Associates describe the culture here as collegial and friendly, and the firm's billable hour requirement is a reasonable 1,900. Partnership is realistic and transparent, counsel roles are available, and exit opportunities are strong.

Gibson Dunn

Landing at #3 in Vault’s 2024 Antitrust prestige rankings, #10 in the overall Vault Law 100, the #10 Best Law Firm to Work For overall, and the #28 overall Best Law Firm for Diversity, Gibson Dunn is flush with accolades. The firm employs over 1,500 attorneys out of ten U.S. and ten international offices. Associates describe the culture as warm but professional, and the billable hour requirement as challenging but achievable. Partnership is realistic and transparent, but the track is difficult and longer than average.

Skadden

Ranked at #4 in Vault’s 2024 Antitrust prestige rankings, Skadden is #3 in the overall Vault Law 100, the top firm in multiple Practice Area prestige rankings (Securities Litigation and Tax), the top firm in our Mid-Atlantic prestige rankings, and the firm with the #47 best overall Summer Associate Program, Skadden is a firm awash in accolades. They employ over 1,500 attorneys out of 12 U.S. and 13 international offices. Associates describe the culture as collegial and friendly, and the firm has a below-average billable hour requirement of 1,800. Partnership is acknowledged to be unrealistic, but non-partner roles are available and exit opportunities are very strong.

Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP

Cravath sits at #5 in our Antitrust prestige rankings, and is also, relevantly, the most prestigious firm in the country at #1 in the overall Vault Law 100. They are also the country's top General Corporate Practice, and the most prestigious firm in New York. The firm employs over 250 attorneys out of just two U.S. and one international offices. Associates describe the culture as professional and collegial. The firm has very high billable hours but balances this with total flexibility as to when and where work is done. Partnership odds are slim, but, being the most prestigious firm in the country, exit opportunities are exceptionally strong.

***

Obviously, there is a huge amount of overlap between the country's best Antitrust firms and the most prestigious firms overall. If you have both the pedigree to get offers from these firms and an interest in this respected practice area, any one of these five firms should be of significant interest to you.

Best of luck from all of us at Vault Law on your legal job search!

Share