What Is the Top Law Firm in America?

Whether you’re looking for an elite corporate law firm or an attorney with a strong litigation background, there’s an array of opportunities for career advancement. These firms are known for their high-profile clients and promote-from-within culture, and they’re committed to fostering associate development.

This New York-based firm is a leader in M&A and has offices around the world. It’s also known for its commitment to diversity and inclusion in the legal industry.

Sullivan & Cromwell

Founded in 1879, Sullivan & Cromwell has 800 lawyers worldwide. Its practices include general corporate and financial work, capital markets, mergers and acquisitions, litigation, tax, and estates and personal matters.

The firm’s early business involved drafting the indenture agreements under which financial institutions advanced funds to corporations and foreign governments. Royall Victor, who succeeded Jaretzki as managing partner in 1900, spent much of World War I and the years after it living in Paris, Germany, and Buenos Aires.

The firm is a good choice for lawyers seeking to become partners. In addition to a strong mentoring program, the firm provides associates with opportunities to work on high-profile legal cases.


Founded in 1819, Cravath, Swaine and Moore is one of the oldest and most prestigious law firms in America. It has two offices in New York and London. The firm has a history of success in large and complex business transactions. It also handles significant litigation matters.

The firm is renowned for its white collar defense practice, which represents corporations and individuals facing government investigations and other legal crises. ‘Polished attorney’ Rachel Skaistis focuses on representing management in the context of investigations and FCPA and False Claims Act matters.

The firm’s corporate department represents companies in international capital markets, banking and financing transactions. Its lawyers have advised on major cross-border mergers and acquisitions, and complex commercial disputes.

Sidley Austin

With offices worldwide, Sidley Austin is an international firm that specializes in complex transactional cases. They have handled a large number of Supreme Court cases and provide clients with sophisticated legal services. They have a reputation for being a friendly and social place to work.

They have an excellent reputation for their pro bono work, and they encourage their attorneys to perform a significant amount of volunteer work. They also offer a fellowship program that allows their associates to work for nonprofit organizations while still working at the firm. Sidley Austin has a strong New York presence and is a good choice for those interested in working in the US.

White & Case

A true global firm, White & Case is known for advising clients on “must-win” matters in which huge sums, valuable patents, and company survival are at stake. It specializes in international securities, sovereign issues, high-yield debt, and securitisations.

Recruiting is competitive, and the firm places a premium on multilingualism and a sincere interest in international work. Once associates join, they enjoy a welcoming culture in which socializing is encouraged and partners are deeply hands-on.

A regular top performer on Vault’s Diversity & Inclusion rankings, White & Case offers a variety of affinity networks and initiatives to promote equality and inclusion. It’s also a pro bono leader and supports associate scholarships and mentoring programs.

Hunton Andrews Kurth

Founded in 2018 through the merger of two preeminent firms, Hunton & Williams and Andrews Kurth Kenyon, this global firm employs more than 1,000 lawyers. Its offices are located in 14 US and international cities. The firm follows a strict set of hiring criteria, including a high academic record and Law Review membership.

The firm has a buoyant capital markets practice, landing engagements for issuers and underwriters across the energy sector. The team is also proficient in M&A, particularly in the energy space.

Richmond-based Steven Haas handles change-of-control transactions and strategic M&A work. In the private equity space, DC-based Tyler Maddry and New York-based Armin Ghiam are key practitioners.

Irell & Manella

Irell & Manella is a top-ranked firm with a reputation for high-stakes litigation, including patent litigation. The firm has a wide variety of clients, including entertainment industry giants such as Peter Jackson and Mark Burnett.

Irell has maintained its strength throughout the economic downturn, with no layoffs and no pay freezes. Associates receive a market salary and above-market bonuses, and are given substantive assignments with real-world impact.

The firm also encourages mentoring among its associates. Fourth-year associates and above are paired with partner advisors to provide career guidance and give high-level practice pointers. In addition, Irell & Manella staff members participate in a variety of community service activities, including providing pro bono legal services and participating on the board of directors at local charity organizations such as Bet Tzedek.

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