New Top Law Firm Ranking Comes With Extra Knife Twist

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Somehow, I feel as though Law360 Pulse hoped its second annual Leaderboard law firm ranking came out a few weeks earlier.

As is, the Leaderboard, which ropes in results from Law360 Pulse’s Prestige Leaders and Social Impact Leaders rankings, carries a bit of unintended extra baggage this year. The effort to create a composite ranking of firms across a variety of markers such as culture, reputation, and business practice crowned Covington last year.

Here’s a look at the top 10 for 2022 (the whole 100 are available here):

  1. Morgan Lewis
  2. Cooley
  3. Covington
  4. Hogan Lovells
  5. Skadden
  6. Latham
  7. WilmerHale
  8. Orrick
  9. Arnold & Porter
  10. Paul Weiss

Ahem. Cooley, eh?

Cooley is, historically, well-regarded in lists of the best places to work. It’s just… you never like seeing the number 2 slot in your annual “best overall law firms” list laying off 150 people.

Once again, some heavy-hitters sunk in these scores for not providing social impact data and the data-driven practice score measuring litigation and transactional reach based on Lex Machina and Intelligize data remains an interesting proxy calculation that could miss some significant matters that just don’t lend themselves to neat bean-counting.

Frankly, the best thing about the overall Leaderboard is the spotlight it shines on the Prestige and Social Impact rankings, which provide outstanding insight for students gauging firms, clients looking to maximize their hires, and companies balancing firm expertise with ESG guidelines. So as a marketing tool to get people focused on those rankings, the Leaderboard is worth it. Though as a substantive ranking — and with apologies to Morgan Lewis — no one is going to be looking at this list as a definitive guide to the best law firms out there.

HeadshotJoe Patrice is a senior editor at Above the Law and co-host of Thinking Like A Lawyer. Feel free to email any tips, questions, or comments. Follow him on Twitter if you’re interested in law, politics, and a healthy dose of college sports news. Joe also serves as a Managing Director at RPN Executive Search.

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