The 20 Most Prestigious Law Firms In America
Tech-centric firms took a tumble in the 2024 Vault 100 rankings.
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I’m doing some catching up here at Original Jurisdiction. Earlier this week, I published an overdue edition of Lat’s Legal Library, and now I’m bringing you a belated analysis of the latest Vault 100—the nation’s 100 most prestigious law firms, based on a survey of 20,000 Biglaw associates around the country.
Here are the top ten firms in the 2024 Vault 100—Vault is always one year ahead of the calendar year, à la the U.S. News law school rankings—with any change in rank from last year noted parenthetically (“—” means no change):
1. Cravath, Swaine & Moore (—)
2. Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz (—)
3. Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (—)
4. Latham & Watkins (+1)
5. Sullivan & Cromwell (+1)
6. Davis Polk & Wardwell (-2)
7. Kirkland & Ellis (—)
8. Simpson Thacher & Bartlett (—)
9. Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison (—)
10. Gibson Dunn & Crutcher (—)
For the sixth year in a row, the same ten firms made up the Vault 10. Maybe there’s something to this “V10” grouping? It reminds me of the top 14 or “T14” law schools in U.S. News, the same 14 schools that have made up the top 14 for almost all the years of the rankings (although not last year, after the magazine made major changes to its methodology).
And not only that, seven out of the ten firms didn’t budge at all, with only a little game of musical chairs in the middle: Davis dropped two spots, while Latham and S&C rose one spot each. These moves are minor and not tied to any real news about these firms, as far as I can tell, so they strike me not as signal but as noise.
In my opinion, moves in the Vault rankings aren’t that meaningful unless they involve a rise or fall of more than three spots. So let’s take a look at all the firms in the Vault 100 that experienced significant moves and see what trends we can observe.
But before we do that, let’s check out the rest of the top 20:
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