In our 2020 research, we identified the best-performing law firms for associate retention.
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 retention scores are a combination of all topics that can affect firm loyalty, such as work acquisition and practice-building, partner mentoring and client contact, quality of case experiences, D&I policy affecting upward progress, pro bono work that develops skills.
The best firms for retention, 2021
Adam Leitman Bailey| Akin Gump| Dechert| Duane Morris| Fish & Richardson| Foley Hoag| Harris, Wiltshire| Jackson Walker| Latham & Watkins| Munger, Tolles & Olson| Proskauer Rose| Sterne, Kessler| Thompson & Knight| Wiley Rein| Willkie Farr
Allen & Overy| Alston & Bird| Arnold & Porter| Cleary Gottlieb| Clifford Chance| Cooley| Debevoise & Plimpton| Dorsey & Whitney| Foley & Lardner| Greenberg Traurig| Haynes and Boone| Holland & Knight| Hunton Andrews Kurth| Jenner & Block| Jones Day| Kirkland & Ellis| Linklaters| Mintz Levin| Morgan, Lewis & Bockius| Orrick| Perkins Coie| Schulte Roth & Zabel| Waller| Weil| Winston & Strawn
Ashurst| Axinn| Baker Botts| Bracewell| Cadwalader| Cahill| Choate Hall & Stewart| Covington & Burling| Cozen O'Connor| Cravath| Crowell & Moring| Davis Polk & Wardwell| Dykema Gossett| Fox Rothschild| Freshfields| Fried, Frank| Goulston & Storrs| Gunderson| Hogan Lovells US| Irell & Manella| K&L Gates| Katten| King & Spalding| Kramer Levin| Mayer Brown| Milbank| Morrison & Foerster| Nelson Mullins| Norton Rose Fulbright| Paul, Weiss| Pillsbury| Reed Smith| Seward & Kissel| Seyfarth Shaw| Shearman & Sterling| Sheppard, Mullin| Simpson Thacher| Skadden| Sullivan & Cromwell| Vedder Price| Venable| Vinson & Elkins| Wilson Sonsini
To assess whether associate satisfaction with retention is meeting, exceeding or falling short of expectations, we ask a series of questions to measure what incoming associates expected, and how important long-term retention 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.