The National Jurist - Back to School 2017 - 24
No. 18 Jenner & Block
The firm excels in appellate and complex commercial litigation. It is also highly rated for its
commitment to pro bono work, and has been named the No. 1 Pro Bono Firm by The American Lawyer
eight times since 1999. Associates rate its diversity and mentoring very high. But, work-life balance is
a challenge because of its billable-hours requirements.
No. 19 Latham & Watkins
A powerhouse. There's no other way to describe Latham & Watkins, which has attorneys spanning the
globe and more than $2.65 billion in gross revenue, the most in the world. While it lists New York as
its headquarters, it started in Los Angeles and it still the No. 1 firm in Southern California. But it
has expanded to 30 offices around the world. It excels in all practices areas, with the top ones being
environmental law, energy, antitrust, private equity, securities and banking, and financial services.
No. 20 Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel
Started in 1968, Kramer is something of a baby compared to the storied New York law firms. It had
quite the humble beginning as well, opening with just six partners and eight associates. Today the
firm has 375 lawyers and offices in Silicon Valley and Paris, as well as its New York headquarters. It
excels in bankruptcy and real estate and is lauded for its commitment to diversity for LGBT and its pro
No. 21 Cooley
Cooley was founded in San Francisco and opened an office in Silicon Valley in 1980. Today, it is
the leader in tech, representing eBay, Facebook, Google and Uber. As such, it excels in technology
law, intellectual property, privacy and data security, and private equity. Associates rate it high for
substantive work, compensation and firm culture.
No. 22 WilmerHale
This firm has serious intellectual chops. More than 180 of its lawyers hold scientific and technical
degrees, supporting a very strong intellectual property practice. It also has strong practices in
appellate litigation, technology and white-collar defense. Associates rate it high in formal training,
pro bono and compensation.
No. 23 Munger, Tolles & Olson
One of the top three firms in Southern California, Munger Tolles specializes in commercial litigation
and appellate litigation, but it has practices in corporate law and other areas as well. The firm loves
to hire former judicial clerks. Indeed, more than 70 percent of its attorneys served as law clerks to
federal judges. Associates rate it highly for an egalitarian culture and for giving associates a lot of
responsibility. This is partly due to the fact that it has almost as many partners as associates.
No. 24 Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld
Want to lobby? Few other firms do it as well as Akin Gump. It brought in more revenue than any other
firm from lobbying - $36.17 million in 2016. But the firm is about a lot more than politics. It brings
in $930 million a year with thriving practices in bankruptcy, energy, and labor and employment.
Associates rate it high on pro bono and informal training, but it is often the close proximity to power
that attracts new associates.
No. 25 Buckley Sandler
Buckley Sandler was ranked No. 1 for integration of laterals/clerks in the most recent Best Law Firms to
Work For survey. It focuses on three legal areas: financial services, government enforcement and litigation.
Its clients include 21 of the nation's 25 biggest banks.
The NaTioNal JurisT
Back to School 2017
more than just a big deal, it is "a huge deal,"
said Siobhan Handley, the chief talent officer for Orrick.
"There are fewer law students, which
means there are fewer stars coming out of
law school," she said. "It's a tight, tight
So it's imperative that law firms differentiate themselves, which is what Orrick does,
she said. The firm recently unveiled an even
more generous family-leave program, for
instance. Primary caregivers already got 22
weeks of paid leave and a 50 percent workload reduction upon their return. Among
the changes, the firm now gives new parents
the option of working predictable hours
during their first month back.
"Our parental leave is very generous,"
Handley said. "We try to focus on real,
The millennial generation has triggered
changes in all workplaces, including Big
Law, Handley said. Work-life balance is a
part of every recruiting conversation.
Yes, Orrick has such fun perks as the
annual surf trip, which is a big hit with
employees. However, Handley stresses
that these changes have not made the job
"cushy." It's demanding. They are serving
"There are going to be long hours, but
on meaningful work," she said. "Periods of
intensity are part of the process."
Orrick has a long history, having been
founded in San Francisco in 1863. Today it
has more than 1,000 lawyers working in 26
offices. However, the firm has been quick to
adapt to change, Handley said.
"I think there's a recognition that to
attract and retain quality people we need to
embrace this," she said.
Vault's survey is showing a change in
attitudes, no question. For instance, in the
2013 survey, 51 percent of the associates
surveyed said that a firm's culture and col-