Vault's 2018 Midsize Law Firm Rankings Are Here

July 19, 2017

Vault has released its ranking of the 20 Best Midsize Law Firms to Work For and Lightfoot, Franklin & White tops the list this year, besting two-time champion Nutter, McClennen & Fish, which fell to fourth place this year. Lightfoot earned the ranking through high ratings in Vault’s numerous Midsize Quality of Life categories, including ranking as the top firm in Quality of Work and the second firm in Satisfaction behind Horvitz & LevyDesmarais ranks highest in Compensation for the second straight year, Bookoff McAndrews repeats as the No. 1 firm for Diversity, and Nelson Hardiman is the new top firm for Firm Culture. Cohen & Gresser is the top firm for Hours, which is a new Midsize Quality of Life ranking this year.

“When candidates research law firms, especially those outside the realm of BigLaw, they’re often concerned more with the actual experience of associates than with the firm’s reputation,” said Matt Moody, Law Editor at Vault. “Current associates are best-positioned to know what life is actually like at any particular firm, and Vault’s Midsize Quality of Life rankings and firm profiles showcase associates’ experiences so law students and laterals get an insider's perspective and can make informed career decisions.”

The 2018 Top 10 Best Midsize Law Firms to Work For are:

  1. Lightfoot, Franklin & White
  2. McDonnell Boehnen Hulbert & Berghoff
  3. Bookoff McAndrews
  4. Nutter, McClennen & Fish
  5. Desmarais
  6. Wilkinson Walsh + Eskovitz
  7. Wolf, Greenfield & Sacks
  8. Farella Braun + Martel (tie)
  9. Wheeler Trigg O'Donnell (tie)
  10. Susman Godfrey

The Best Midsize Firms to Work For rankings are derived from Vault’s Law Firm Associate Survey, in which  associates rated and commented on various aspects of their work life. The rankings were calculated using a formula that weighs associate ratings in eleven different areas: Overall Satisfaction (25%); Firm Culture (10%); Hours (10%); Compensation (10%); Quality of Work (10%); Business Outlook (10%); Career Outlook (5%); Associate/Partner Relations (5%); Leadership Transparency (5%); Formal Training (5%); and Informal Training, Mentoring & Sponsorship (5%).

Lightfoot associates in the Vault survey called the firm “a hidden gem” and one said that “from top to bottom, Lightfoot is made up of exceptional lawyers who are also exceptionally good people.” Another Lightfoot associate simply raved: “Lightfoot is an awesome place to work!”

This year’s rankings include firms from across the country—including Alabama, California, Massachusetts, Colorado, New York, and DC. The midsize firms also vary in practice, including boutiques like IP stalwart Sterne Kessler and litigation powerhouse Susman Godfrey, as well as full-service firms like Texas’s Kelly Hart & Hallman. Ranked firms Wilkinson Walsh + Eskovitz and Hueston Hennigan are both less than three years old, while Boston’s Wolf Greenfield has been operating for nearly a century.

Along with the Midsize Quality of Life rankings, Vault also releases its second annual Top 150 Under 150 list of the leading small and midsized firms with 150 or fewer attorneys. To determine the Top 150 Under 150, we first developed a list of the best-known and most sought-after U.S. firms with fewer than 150 attorneys. Our editorial and research teams pored through Vault survey data, news stories, trade journals, and other legal publications; spoke with lawyers in the field; and reviewed other published rankings. Vault editors also assessed each firm for prestige, quality of life, and professional growth opportunities, and then narrowed down the results to come up with a list of 150 law firms known for providing top-notch service and delivering big results.

New to the Top 150 Under 150 this year are Dewey Pegno & Kramarsky; Goldstein & Russell; Holwell Shuster & Goldberg; Hooper Lundy & Bookman; Kelly Hart & Hallman; Lightfoot, Franklin & White; Morrison Cohen; Nelson Hardiman; and ZwillGen.

by Matt Moody

© 2017 Inc.

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