Top law firms for associate quality of life

Satisfaction surveys rec

In our 2020 research, we identified the best-performing law firms for associate quality of life.

We weigh up the perks and the demands of life in BigLaw and assess which firms find the best balance.


For every firm taking part in our annual interview-based research, we also invite their junior associates to respond to an online survey covering every aspect of law firm life. They complete 40 questions asking about everything from their initial views on the firm and its competitors, to their relationships with partners and clients, to the firm's handling of D&I and pro bono. We also ask them about their expectations, aspirations and how important all these factors were when joining the profession and how those views change as they mature. Each question involves a rating, which we agglomerate here for comparison. The quality of life scores are a combination of all topics that can affect personal fulfillment at a law firm, from salary, to hours, to flexible working, to parental policy. 

Quality of life: law firm rankings 2021  

The elite

Adam Leitman Bailey| Akin Gump| Dechert| Greenberg Glusker| Harris, Wiltshire| Holwell Shuster| Linklaters| Patterson Belknap| Paul Hastings| Sidley Austin

Excellent performer

Allen & Overy| Choate Hall & Stewart| Clifford Chance| Debevoise & Plimpton| Finnegan| Gibson, Dunn| Goodwin| Kramer Levin| Latham & Watkins| McDermott| Proskauer Rose| Schulte Roth & Zabel| Thompson & Knight| White & Case| Willkie Farr

Strong performer

Arnold & Porter| Ashurst| Axinn| Bracewell| Cahill| Cleary Gottlieb| Cooley| Duane Morris| Fish & Richardson| Foley & Lardner| Foley Hoag| Haynes and Boone| Hunton Andrews Kurth| Irell & Manella| Jackson Walker| Jenner & Block| Milbank| Morgan, Lewis & Bockius| Munger, Tolles & Olson| Orrick| Sterne, Kessler| Waller| Weil| Wiley Rein| Winston & Strawn


Alston & Bird| Baker Botts| Cadwalader| Covington & Burling| Cozen O'Connor| Cravath| Crowell & Moring| Davis Polk & Wardwell| Dorsey & Whitney| Dykema Gossett| Fox Rothschild| Freshfields| Fried, Frank| Goulston & Storrs| Greenberg Traurig| Gunderson| Hogan Lovells US| Holland & Knight| Jones Day| K&L Gates| Katten| King & Spalding| Kirkland & Ellis| Mayer Brown| Mintz Levin| Morrison & Foerster| Nelson Mullins| Norton Rose Fulbright| Paul, Weiss| Perkins Coie| Pillsbury| Reed Smith| Seward & Kissel| Seyfarth Shaw| Shearman & Sterling| Sheppard, Mullin| Simpson Thacher| Skadden| Sullivan & Cromwell| Vedder Price| Venable| Vinson & Elkins| Wilson Sonsini


Retention exceeding


To assess whether associate satisfaction with quality of life is meeting, exceeding or falling short of expectations, we ask a series of questions to measure what incoming associates expected, and how important quality of life is to them at this stage in their careers. 

In general, to exceed expectation is a good thing, but outcomes also depend on the accuracy of the firm's recruitment marketing as well as the truths behind the rumors at large.

QOL improvers


Satisfaction surveys rec

The most satisfied associates

Career development survey

Retention survey

Benefits and quality of life survey

The best firms for pro bono

The best firms for diversity

The best firms for Covid-19 response (NEW)