Top law firms for career development

Associate satisfaction wide

In the 2020 survey, we identified the best-performing law firms for associate career development

Methodology

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 career progression scores are a combination of all topics that can affect career progression, such as work acquisition and practice-building, partner mentoring and client contact, support on menial tasks, quality of case experiences, D&I policy affecting upward progress, pro bono work that develops skills.

Rank Firm Survey score

1

White & Case 101.888

 

Building its profile and revenue year-on-year, this firm is a (White &) Case study in international success. ... Read More  

2

Paul Hastings 101.548

 

If the pH scale measured law firm performance, then LA-born Paul Hastings would score a perfect 7 for balancing global, high-end work with a gentler and more sustaining BigLaw vibe.... Read More  

3

Munger 99.433

 

It was a case of California Calling for juniors at this litigation-leaning outfit where lawyers“aren’t just good at their job but love the craft of law.”... Read More  

4

Dechert 98.069

 

International work with real-time, practical feedback provided? Philly your boots at Dechert...... Read More  

5

Latham & Watkins 98.062

 

‘Unassigned’ juniors, free to roam across practice areas? No HQ in a sprawling international network? You can’t pin the mighty Latham down...... Read More  

6

Finnegan 97.994

 

Firms hoping to hold a candle to the dedicated focus of Finnegan’s intellectual property expertise must burn extra bright.  ... Read More  

7

Cleary 97.469

 

What do you get if you mix international eminence with a pedagogic culture – and add “a few man buns in the office” for good measure? Clearly, it’s Cleary. ... Read More  

8

Foley Hoag 96.883

 

Rather than being a ‘jack of all trades,’ Boston mid-sizer Foley Hoag chooses to master a handful of industry focuses instead. ... Read More  

9

Holwell Shuster & Goldberg 96.667

 

Want to master the art of litigating in a petite environment with lots of opportunity for growth? If the answer’s yes, this New York boutique should be on your list. ... Read More  

10

Patterson Bellknap 96.355

 

Patterson Belknap and the judiciary go together like PB & J. This disputes dynamo "isn't a factory firm;” it offers the New York market something a little different...... Read More  

11

Sidley Austin 95.983

 

A global giant with a “family-friendly” culture. This prestigious, Windy City native will blow you away. ... Read More  

12

Kramer Levin 95.629

 

It may be famous for its litigation, but it’s not Kramer vs Kramer at this friendly New Yorker. ... Read More  

13

Jackson Walker 95.033

 

Career development is put front-and-center at the Texan firm that’s leaving associates Jackson Walking on sunshine.... Read More  

14

Linklaters 95.009

 

A legal giant from across the pond with nearly 200 years of history to its name; a firm with countless international Links.... Read More  

15

Kirkland & Ellis 94.860

 

If you’ve got a nose for money, this record-breaking market leader will smell delicious – but it’s not just dollar that draws associates here.... Read More

 

DC: why the capital is a hub for IP lawBecoming a Government Regulatory Lawyer, with Akin Gump

Keeping up with the government maelstrom has been a full time job of late. For businesses to navigate and change the laws and regulations which govern their activities, they are in need of some prodigious legal expertise. Akin Gump is one firm which provides exactly that.

16

Norton Rose 94.689

 

NRF spent the last five years becoming a high-flying global firm. Those seeking projects, finance or litigation and investigations work should take note.... Read More  

17

Haynes and Boone 94.517

 

A very happy 50th birthday to Haynes and Boone, the Texas-born firm whose reach stretches far beyond the Lone Star State.... Read More  

18

Greenberg Glusker 94.427

 

Kermit bemoaned that it’s not easy being green, but LA’s Greenberg Glusker makes it look like a breeze: everything from Tinseltown fallouts to real estate ventures and climate matters are covered here – and from just one compact office.  ... Read More  

19

McDermott 94.313

 

Food and beverages. Healthcare. Private equity. If you don’t think those three things fit together, the folks at McDermott have got news for you.... Read More  

20

Akin Gump 94.232

 

Move over Forrest, it’s all about Akin Gump in this guide – the megafirm with roots in Texas, its largest base in DC, management in New York, and offices around the world.... Read More  

21

Fish & Richardson 94.051

 

Fishing for a top IP firm with an academic culture? This might be the plaice for you. ... Read More  

22

Choate 93.091

 

Boston’s one-office wolfpack doesn't plan on compromising its culture of community anytime soon.... Read More  

23

Axinn 92.741

 

Antitrust and IP go hand in hand with high expectations at this smart boutique.  ... Read More  

24

Irell 92.273

 

IP whiz Irell & Manella is an “intellectually diverse” place to work in the Golden State.... Read More  

25

Perkins Coie 92.199

 

Techy, forward-thinking and sticking it to the Man; if any firm embodies Gen-Z spirit, it’s Perkins Coie.... Read More  

26

Allen & Overy 91.852

 

Allen & Overy. Proper noun: global finance and commercial giant; UK magic circle outfit that’s growing in the US.... Read More  

27

Gibson Dunn 91.399

 

When it comes to colossal cases and dynamic disputes, this BigLaw behemoth has been there and Gibson Dunn that.... Read More  

28

Jones Day 91.238

 

Juniors at jumbo Jones Day reap the rewards of working with colleagues across the country. ... Read More  

29

Ashurst 91.167

 

Public-private partnership isn’t just a cool tongue twister, it’s also an exciting and fast-growing area of work for lawyers in the US. Enter Ashurst… ... Read More  

30

Vedder 90.974
 

Prepare yourself for take-off.... Read More

 

 

Data securityBecoming a Data Security Lawyer, with Perkins Coie

Data is the great commodity of our age. It's a hot, controversial topic that needs good lawyers to handle its complexities. Step forward, Perkins Coie.

31

Goodwin 90.952

 

Looking for a modern firm doing good work with a winning spread of specialist practices? Tech this out…... Read More  

32

Adam Leitman Bailey 90.750

 

This Manhattan boutique is a one-stop shop for real estate law. ... Read More

 

33

Jenner & Block 90.627

 

Top-quality litigation meets top-tier pro bono commitment at the most Jenner-ous firm on the Block.... Read More  

34

DLA Piper 90.570

 

DLA Piper’s extensive presence across the States is supported by a sophisticated global network.... Read More  

35

Debevoise 90.549

 

Nice guys don’t have to finish last. Debevoise is proof positive that winning the BigLaw race doesn’t always require sharp elbows.... Read More  

36

Cadwalader 90.540

 

As one of the oldest and finest finance firms in New York, Cadwalader balances Wall Street BigLaw with a culture where “you can be yourself.”... Read More  

37

Cahill 90.391

 

Every day is Independence Day at this finance-focused land of the free-market.... Read More  

38

Schulte Roth 90.239

 

For a “more intimate BigLaw experience,” hit up the New Yorker that knows a wise investment when it sees one.... Read More  

39

Morrison & Foerster 90.135

 

Top-tier tech practices, “a long-standing commitment to pro bono,” and a Cali cool culture? It must be MoFo. ... Read More  

40

Dorsey & Whitney 90.076

 

There’s a reason Minneapolis is sometimes called the Mini Apple. Just ask the juniors at Dorsey & Whitney, the Minneapolis-headquartered firm with offices across the US and the world.... Read More  

41

Cozen 90.076

 

“A modern, nimble firm with an entrepreneurial spirit,” Cozen is on the up-up-up all over the US.... Read More  

42

Kasowitz 89.500

 

Anybody looking to “throw themselves in quickly” with these “relentless litigators” needs their (Kaso)wits about them.... Read More  

43

Proskauer 89.296

 

Fancy tackling thorny legal issues for often-high-profile clients? Better sniff out what this Rose has to offer... ... Read More  

44

Skadden 88.951

 

The force is strong with this one: no list of the New York legal elite is complete without Skadden. ... Read More  

45

Sullivan & Cromwell 88.719

 

Legal royalty S&C want the best associates to do the best work. 'Nuff said. ... Read More  

46

Wilson Sonsini 88.661

 

Silicon Valley’s WS is wonderfully strong on the startup and emerging companies front, offering more than an app store’s worth of experience to tech-loving juniors.... Read More  

47

Hogan Lovells 88.574

 

All you need is Lovells, according to associates at this Anglo-American titan.... Read More  

48

Willkie Farr 88.567

 

New York corporate law with an active social life? Where there’s a Willkie, there’s a way. ... Read More  

49

Nelson Mullins 88.547

 

Are you going to (Nelson Mullins Riley &) Scarborough fair? Associates who go to this Southeastern star say “explosive national growth” over the last few years hasn’t eclipsed a “small firm culture.”... Read More  

50

Brown Rudnick 88.323

 

When creditors find themselves in times of trouble, Brown Rudnick comes to me. Speaking words of wisdom, let it be… dealt with by Boston’s bankruptcy bigwigs!... Read More  

 

Associate satisfaction

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