Top 10 Law Firms in the U.S.
There is no shortage of lawyers operating in the United States. A 2017 study showed there were over 200 law firms with more than 500 employees. Not all of these employees are necessarily practicing laws. Firms also include board members, paralegals, assistants and other staff members. Gauging the success of a law firm is difficult because there is no agreed upon standard for what makes a firm good. Some statisticians only look at how much the firm makes each year. Others explicitly look at how many cases are won compared to the number of cases taken in a year. No matter what metrics you are using, there are multiple law firms which always stand out. Listed below are ten of the largest and most successful law firms in 2020.
1. Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz (WLRK)
WLRK is one of the most prestigious law firms in the United States. It frequently tops the list of the most successful law offices, ending up in Vault’s number one slot for 13 years in a row. It finally dropped a single slot in 2017. WLKR primarily specializes in corporate laws, such as business mergers and acquisitions, corporate governance and security law. However, the firm also handles a fair amount of pro bono work, representing low income clients for no fee. These cases normally focus on civil rights, housing issues and immigration. WLRK also has a team to help nonprofit groups in New York, where the firm is housed.
2. White & Case
White & Case is another New York based firm. It has grown in size in recent years, boasting over 1,900 employees. White & Case is not as known as some of the other top firms in the United States, but it receives a great deal of attention due to employee satisfaction. The firm carefully balances out caseloads, keeping any one lawyer from becoming overwhelmed. The senior associates are also active in the day to day operations, working as equals among the rest of the staff. In recent years, the firm has focused more on international cases, opening new branches overseas.
3. Jones Day
For many years, Jones Day was recognized as being the largest law firm in the United States, though in 2020 it has dropped down in size. While it may employ fewer lawyers, the quality of the firm has not diminished. Jones Day specializes in a number of cases. In 2020, it has gained more attention for representing victims of hate crimes or police brutality. The firm has also been praised for staying up to date with the times, being one of the top firms to handle cases involving cybersecurity and data protection.
4. Sullivan & Cromwell
Sullivan & Cromwell has always been a respected firm, but it grew in prominence after the 2008 financial crisis. The firm is known for handling business and commercial law. While the majority of cases are handled in the United States, the firm has branched out and opened a few offices in parts of Europe, Asia and Australia. The firm is a strong believer in recruiting promising young lawyers and working with them throughout their careers, eventually promoting them to partner.
5. Simpson Thacher
Simpson Thacher has become famous for work in the tech industry, with one of their largest companies being Microsoft. Other notable clients include Chase, JP Morgan and Alibaba. In 2020, the firm largely focuses on corporate cases as well as real estate. The firm also has branches specializing in bankruptcy and other debt cases. As of writing, the firm is working with both large and small businesses to handle Covid-19, focusing on loans and other funds available through the CARES Act.
6. Sidley Austin LLP
Sidley Austin is a Chicago based law firm. In 2012, it received a surge of attention, as it was the firm where President Obama used to work. Sidley handles many cases, but in the last few years it has advertised itself as representing the rights of all Americans, putting a renewed focus on pro bono immigration work and Chicago civil rights cases.
7. Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan LLP
Most of the top law firms largely represent corporate clients. While Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan LLP does represent large companies, it places a much greater emphasis on working with smaller clients. The main offices are housed in Los Angeles, and have earned a reputation for being one of the most comfortable places to work. The firm prides itself on being distinct from other law offices, boasting a more relaxed environment.
8. Kirkland & Ellis
Kirkland & Ellis mostly handles corporate cases, but it has become famous for representing clients who are under investigation by the government. The firm has been praised for taking a personal approach with their cases, getting to know the clients and businesses they represent. The firm has been called on many times to investigate whistleblower complaints.
9. Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati (WSGR)
WSGR is another law firm more known for their clients, representing Amazon, Google, Netflix, Twitter and Tesla. It is considered one of the most knowledgeable firms for tech related cases. The firm primarily operates in Silicon Valley, but despite hosting a list of prestigious clients, the law offices still take plenty of cases from smaller startup companies.
10. Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP
Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP became famous for several landmark cases, including Citizens United and legalizing same-sex marriage in California. Diversity is important for the firm, with both clients as well as employees. In California, the firm is known for giving back to the community, with lawyers volunteering over 130,000 hours to pro bono cases.