In the 2021 survey, we identified the best performing law firms for associate satisfaction.
For every firm taking part in our annual interview-based research, we 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 diversity and pro bono. We also ask them about their expectations, aspirations and exit plans. Each question involves a rating, which we agglomerate here for comparison. The satisfaction scores are a combination of all topics that can determine job satisfaction, including stress and mental health, career development and retention.
The top law firms for Associate Satisfaction 2021
Adam Leitman Bailey | Akin Gump | Cleary Gottlieb | Debevoise & Plimpton | Duane Morris | Foley Hoag | Harris, Wiltshire | Holwell Shuster | Linklaters | Munger, Tolles & Olson | Patterson Belknap | Proskauer Rose | Thompson & Knight | Willkie Farr | Winston & Strawn
Allen & Overy | Alston & Bird | Arnold & Porter | Cahill | Clifford Chance | Cooley | Fish & Richardson | Foley & Lardner | Greenberg Traurig | Haynes and Boone | Hogan Lovells US | Hunton Andrews Kurth | Jackson Walker | Jenner & Block | Kirkland & Ellis | Kramer Levin | Morgan, Lewis & Bockius | Morrison & Foerster | Orrick | Perkins Coie | Schulte Roth & Zabel | Shearman & Sterling | Sterne, Kessler | Waller | Weil | Wiley Rein
Ashurst | Axinn | Baker Botts | Bracewell | Cadwalader | Choate Hall & Stewart | Covington & Burling | Cozen O'Connor | Cravath | Crowell & Moring | Davis Polk & Wardwell | Dorsey & Whitney | Dykema Gossett | Fox Rothschild | Freshfields | Fried, Frank | Goulston & Storrs | Gunderson | Holland & Knight | Irell & Manella | Jones Day | K&L Gates | Katten | King & Spalding | Mayer Brown | Milbank | Mintz Levin | Nelson Mullins | Norton Rose Fulbright | Paul, Weiss | Pillsbury | Reed Smith | Seward & Kissel | Seyfarth Shaw | Sheppard, Mullin | Simpson Thacher | Skadden | Sullivan & Cromwell | Vedder Price | Venable | Vinson & Elkins | Wilson Sonsini
To assess whether associate satisfaction is meeting, exceeding or falling short of expectations, we ask a series of questions to measure what incoming associates expected, and how important these issues are to them at this stage in their careers. For the associates who merely want a gateway into the profession and a stepping stone to their next role, we find satisfaction is something of an afterthought; for others it's far more meaningful.
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.