Wednesday, July 01, 2009

2009 Am Law A-List of Top United States Law Firms Published : Compare to the 2009 Legal 500, the NLJ Survey and Other Rankings

American Lawyer magazine has published its 2009 Am Law A-List, which annually picks the top 20 law firms in the United States out of the Am Law top 200 list based on the factors of Revenue per Lawyer (RPL), Pro Bono Work, Associate Satisfaction and Diversity.

Our alma mater law firm, Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison, an international law firm headquartered in New York City, just managed to remain in the elite 20, being kept out of the top 10 by a puzzling and extremely low pro bono score relative to the other big law firms.

The A-List was topped for the second straight year by Munger Tolles & Olson in Los Angeles, followed by Hughes Hubbard & Reed, Latham & Watkins, Davis Polk & Wardwell, Weil Gotshal & Manges, Arnold & Porter, Debevoise & Plimpton, Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton, Morrison & Foerster, Gibson Dunn & Crutcher, Milbank Tweed Hadley & McCloy, Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale & Dorr, Covington & Burling, Howrey, O'Melveny & Myers, Sullivan & Cromwell, Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe, Kirkland & Ellis, Irell & Manella, and Paul Weiss Rifkind Wharton & Garrison.

Hat tip to Ashby Jones at the Wall Street Journal Online WSJ Law Blog in Munger Tolles Tops AmLaw’s A-List, Once Again.

It is important to emphasize that the Am Law A-List is only one - subjective - way of ranking law firms and that other ranking systems give different results, especially when law firms are ranked according to their skills in selected countries and in circumscribed legal areas.

Take a look, for example, at the 2009 US Legal 500, which analyzes law firms both by country as well as by numerous fields of legal expertise.

Or take a look at America's Best Corporate Law Firms according to the 2009 Corporate Board Member FTI Consulting Survey.

Then there is also the question of the top Growth Leaders and Shrinkers, as determined by the 2008 NLJ 250, The National Law Journal's 31st annual survey of the nation's largest law firms,.

There is also the question of which law firm - "life savers" - people would select when their personal or company fortune is on the line - and there, I dare say - when push comes to shove, a good number of people seem to pick the litigators at Paul, Weiss. As written at partner Martin Flumenbaum's law firm web page:
"In January 2006, Mr. Flumenbaum’s representation of Hollinger International and American International Group (AIG) was featured in a cover story in The American Lawyer, “The Life Savers,” in which Paul, Weiss was selected as the best litigation firm in the United States for the period in which Mr. Flumenbaum chaired the department."
If my personal or company fortune were on the line, there is no doubt which firm I would select. It would be Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison. But then of course, I am strongly biased - for good reason, mind you.

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