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by Vault Law Editors | July 27, 2021


Vault Law's 2022 quality of life, diversity, and summer associate program rankings are here, and McDermott Will & Emery’s associates have spoken loud and clear: The firm has claimed the No. 1 spot in the 2022 Overall Rankings of the Best Law Firms to Work For, the Best Law Firms for Diversity, and the Best Summer Associate Programs.

McDermott earned a score of 9.577 out of 10 in the Overall Best Law Firms to Work For category, leading the No. 2 firm—O’Melveny & Myers LLP—by 0.279 points. Notably, the top six firms in the Best to Work For category all received scores above 9.000.

Vault’s top 10 2022 Best Law Firms to Work For are:

#1 McDermott Will & Emery

#2 O’Melveny & Myers LLP

#3 Clifford Chance US LLP

#4 Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP

#5 Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP

#6 Ropes & Gray LLP

#7 BakerHostetler

#8 Proskauer Rose LLP

#9 Paul Hastings LLP

#10 Dechert LLP

This year saw numerous changes in the Best Law Firms to Work For ranking, with five new firms edging into the top 10—BakerHostetler; Dechert; McDermott; Morgan Lewis; and Proskauer—and the five returning firms all shifting to new ranking positions.

McDermott made a tremendous leap in the rankings, settling into the No. 1 spot for the first time. Associates describe the firm asextremely inviting, warm, and transparent” as well as “supportive and inclusive.”

“This past year was a difficult one for everyone in the legal industry, but it appears that McDermott responded in all the right ways,” said Mary Kate Sheridan, Vault’s Senior Law Editor. “Associates rave about the firm’s culture and say the firm continued to foster connections virtually throughout the pandemic. They also feel the firm is supportive of associate wellness, offering—among other perks—25 hours of billable credit for mindfulness, and believe the firm is invested in diversity, equity, and inclusion. Clearly, the firm’s efforts have bolstered associate satisfaction.”

Vault Law’s Quality of Life Rankings

The law firm quality of life rankings are derived from Vault’s Law Firm Associate Survey in which more than 20,000 associates rated and commented on various aspects of their work lives. This year’s Overall Best Law Firms to Work For ranking was calculated using a formula that weighs associate ratings in a dozen different areas: Overall Satisfaction (25%); Firm Culture (10%); Hours (10%); Compensation (10%); Quality of Work (10%); Business Outlook (5%); Career Outlook (5%); Associate/Partner Relations (5%); Transparency (5%); Formal and Informal Training (5%); Pro Bono (5%); and Overall Diversity (5%).

Shakeups Across Every Quality of Life Ranking

In addition to the Overall Best Law Firm to Work For ranking, Vault’s quality of life rankings include 16 subcategories. This year, there is a new No. 1 firm in every quality of life subcategory. Continuing its trend at the top, McDermott clinched gold in a whopping 13 of the 16 subcategories: Associate/Partner Relations, Business Outlook, Career Outlook, Compensation, Firm Culture, Formal Training, Hours, Informal Training, Quality of Work, Satisfaction, Technology & Innovation, Transparency, and Wellness.

Three other firms joined McDermott at the top of the quality of life rankings. Williams & Conolly LLP reclaimed its No. 1 spot in Selectivity, after falling to No. 2 in the 2021 rankings. Morgan Lewis moved five spots to No. 1 in Pro Bono this year—its first time at the top of the ranking. Robinson+Cole also jumped—from No. 8 to No. 1—to sit atop the ranking for Lateral & Clerk Integration.

Eight Firms Dominate the Diversity Rankings

In this year’s diversity rankings, eight firms appeared in the top 10 of all five categories: BakerHostetler, Clifford Chance, McDermott, Morgan Lewis, O’Melveny, Orrick, Robinson+Cole, and Ropes & Gray. McDermott and O’Melveny led the group, holding strong at the No. 1 and No. 2 positions, respectively, across categories.

Associates at McDermott and O’Melveny praise the firms for their DEI efforts. One McDermott associate shared, The firm promotes diversity on all fronts and has regular programming to bring awareness as to how we can increase our efforts in terms of D&I,” while an associate from O’Melveny noted, “Diversity is extremely important at O'Melveny, and the firm shows it through its internal initiatives, sponsorship of external events, and pro bono opportunities.”

Vault produces rankings in four individual diversity categories: Diversity for Individuals with DisabilitiesDiversity for LGBTQ+ Individuals, Diversity for Women, and  Racial & Ethnic Diversity. To create our Overall Diversity ranking, Vault averages the ratings from these four categories. Like our other rankings, the diversity rankings reflect the opinions and perceptions of associates, not diversity statistics.

McDermott; O’Melveny; and Munger, Tolles & Olson Sit Atop the Summer Program Rankings

The 2022 summer associate program rankings also saw new leaders. McDermott took the prize for the Best Overall Summer Associate Program and also shared the top spot in Best Summer Associate Programs for Career Development with O’Melveny, the reigning No. 1. O’Melveny reclaimed the No. 1 position in Best Summer Associate Programs for Attorney Interactions, after falling to No. 3 in both the 2020 and 2021 rankings. Munger, Tolles & Olson broke into the summer program rankings this year, launching to No.1 in the Best Law Firms for Social Experiences.

Seven firms proved themselves to be summer associate program all-stars this year, appearing in the top 10 for every summer program ranking category: Clifford Chance, Eversheds Sutherland (US) LLP, McDermott, O’Melveny, Orrick, Proskauer, and Williams & Connolly.

Vault asked junior associates who had participated in their current firm’s summer associate program to rate their experiences on a scale of 1 to 10 in six different areas. From those ratings, we ranked the best summer associate programs in three categories: Attorney Interactions (based on associates’ scores for meaningful interactions with firm attorneys); Career Development (giving equal weight to associates’ scores for substantive assignments, training and mentoring, and effective preparation for life as an associate); and Social Experiences (giving equal weight to associates’ scores for the quality of events and satisfaction with firm-sponsored social opportunities and social interactions). The Overall Best Summer Associate Program ranking reflects the average of all six individual ratings (attorney interactions, substantive assignments, training & mentoring, preparation for associate life, quality of events, and satisfaction with firm-sponsored social opportunities and social interactions).

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 publishes other valued resources including the Vault Guide to Summer Associate Programs and InterviewingPractice 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.

Questions? Contact Mary Kate Sheridan, Vault’s Senior Law Editor —