Washington DC's top law firms

The legal market

DC skyline with label

ADMINISTRATION and regulation – these two rather bland words do an injustice to what are the themes of the DC legal market. As you'll see in the Chambers USA rankings below, DC is an island as legal markets go: government, and the spheres of business most closely affected by the machinations inside the Capitol, dictate everything. Elsewhere in the US, regulatory practice areas tend to play second fiddle to big transactional and litigation work; not in DC. Environment, projects, space law, life sciences, telecoms, healthcare, and IP all make the headlines here in DC. A career here offers something rather unique. 

DC led the pack in our survey this year on pro bono, in which associates felt the capital offers the best pro bono experience in the country. Access to NGOs and public institutions means there are great opportunities for young lawyers to learn from the nation’s most challenging work. 

Satisfaction survey

Associate satisfaction

Which firms in DC offer the best associate experience? We only shortlisted firms that:

a) had a significant associate presence in DC

b) demonstrated excellence in our survey using net-promoter scoring. 

 

 

Band One

Akin Gump
Covington & Burling
Dykema
Finnegan
Harris Wiltshire
McDermott
Paul Hastings
Sidley Austin
Weil
Winston & Strawn

 

Band Two

Arnold & Porter
Axinn
Clifford Chance
Cooley
Crowell
Dechert
Fox Rothschild
Gibson Dunn
Goodwin
Holland & Knight
Kirkland & Ellis
Latham & Watkins
Milbank
Mintz Levin
Morgan Lewis
Morrison & Foerster
Munger
Nelson Mullins
Paul, Weiss
Schulte Roth
Seyfarth Shaw
Simpson Thacher
Sterne Kessler
Venable
White & Case
Wiley Rein
Willkie Farr

 

 

 

Band Three

Alston & Bird
Baker Botts
Bracewell
Cleary
Cozen
Davis Polk
Dorsey & Whitney
Fish & Richardson
Foley Lardner
Freshfields
Fried Frank
Greenberg Traurig
Hogan Lovells
Hunton
Jones Day
K&L Gates
Katten Muchin
King & Spalding
Mayer Brown
Orrick
Perkins Coie
Pillsbury
Reed Smith
Seward & Kissel
Skadden
Sullivan & Cromwell
Vedder
Vinson & Elkins
Wilson Sonsini

Sullivan & Cromwell

Size

AvatarThe size of a firm's offices in a city has a massive influence on its culture and ability to carry out certain types of work. Below we've highlighted the top 50 firms in DC by headcount as well as the DC heritage and boutique firms. 

 

 

The DC top 50

DC headcount 50

DC heritage and boutiques

DC heritage and boutiques

Expertise

Chambers USA

Market snapshot

If you're motivated by doing the best work possible, the industry-recognized Chambers USA rankings are invaluable. Here are the best firms in Washington DC for some the most common practice areas, plus the others that define the DC market. This isn't a complete list of the Chambers rankings, and we have cut the list off at Band 4 as this is just a snapshot. Full rankings can be found at chambers.com.

Antitrust

Band 1

Band 2

Band 3

Band 4

 
 
 
 
 
   

Corporate /
M&A &
private
equity

Band 1

Band 2

Band 3

Band 4

   
   

Environment

Band 1

Band 2

Band 3

Band 4

 
     
     

Government

contracts
(USA nationwide)

Band 1

Band 2

Band 3

Band 4

 
 
   
     
     
     
     

Government
relations
(USA nationwide)

Band 1 Band 2 Band 3
       
 
 
 
   
   

Healthcare

Band 1

Band 2

Band 3

Band 4

     
     
     
     

Intellectual
property
litigation

Band 1

Band 2

Band 3

Band 4

 
   
     

Litigation:
general
commercial

Band 1

Band 2

Band 3

Band 4

   
   
   
   
     

Telecom,
broadcast
and satellite

Band 1

Band 2

Band 3

Band 4