The National Jurist - Back to School 2017 - 25
assOciates graduate from a
deposition skills bootcamp.
The bootcamp is a handson, multi-day camp, where
the firm takes associates off
the playing field to hone
deposition, motions practice,
and trial advocacy skills.
The Next 25
Vault only ranks the top 25 in order, but
these firms also excelled in the surveys.
Firm/ Number of categories in which firm
leagues were the most important factors
when it came to accepting a job offer. That
rose to 56 percent in 2017.
Quality of work? That was at 31 percent four years ago. In 2017, the number
climbed to nearly 43 percent. Commitment
to pro bono is becoming more of a thing.
That rose from 6 percent to 10 percent.
Meanwhile, elements such as prestige
and compensation have fallen in importance, the latest survey shows.
"Culture is the biggest thing, because
they know they'll be working long hours,"
said Matt Moody, Vault's law editor, who
oversees the survey and rankings. "They
want to make sure they will be comfortable
in the firm environment and get along with
The Best Law Firms to Work For list is
unique is that it is derived from a survey of
associates who are working at the nation's
top law firms, Moody said. It's a true insiders' perspective, which offers rare insight for
today's law students.
"When you're a law student, what's most
important is what the people who work for
a firm think of the firm," he said. "That's
got more impact."
Big Law is evolving, driven by a growing
concern about the drop in the number of
applications at law schools and the quality of students, Moody said. So, Big Law is
offering more perks, such as extended family leave.
"That was unheard of 10 years ago," he
Today's associates also want greater
transparency in the firm's goings-on, as well
as more honest, clear-cut information about
their career paths. Few associates make
partner, so they want to know about other
options. Moody said Big Law has been better of late about helping associates make
"There's been much more open dia-
logue," he said.
Finnegan, Henderson, Farabow, Garrett
& Dunner also made the list of Best Firms
to Work For, coming in at No. 7.
"We put a lot of stock in what we do
at the firm, so we're glad it's reflected in
this," said Mark Sweet, managing partner
Like other firms, it has felt the effect of
the drop in the number of law grads.
"We've had to ramp up our game to
compete against other firms," he said.
The Washington, D.C.-headquartered
firm does have one advantage, Sweet said. It
specializes in just one practice area - intellectual property. So, if new grads are interested in that field, this is the one firm they
are sure to consider, he said.
"We sell that," Sweet said. "Our level
of expertise in not matched by any other
The firm also puts a premium on training, which is another selling point, he said.
It has always recognized the importance
of work-life balance, Sweet said. When his
children were younger, he coached their
soccer teams. It was no big deal to be gone
for a couple of hours on those days, he said.
"We encourage flexibility," Sweet said.
"If you need to do things with your family,
However, if an associate is involved in a
trial, he or she should be prepared to spend
five weeks in a hotel room if need be.
"The business of law is not an easy profession," he said.
Sweet doesn't necessarily buy into the
idea that there's a difference in mind-sets
"I see plenty of [younger] people just
like me," he said. "A lot have Type A personalities. They've done very well in school.
They may have advanced degrees. For
them, the bar has already been raised."
Back to School 2017
The NaTioNal JurisT
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