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The American Lawyer released its annual A-List rankings of the top 20 “most well-rounded” law firms in the United States. According to the report, law firms are ranked based on a combination of financial and cultural factors including revenue per lawyer, pro bono commitment, racial diversity, associate satisfaction and gender diversity among the equity partnership level. The last metric was added to A-List’s calculation in 2017 to recognize firms for supporting women and making them partners.

In a year that’s been marked by upheaval and uncertainty, there’s also plenty of continuity in the upper reaches of the A-List. For the second year in a row, Munger Tolles & Olson claimed the No.1 spot on this year’s list, while landing in the top five for a fifth time in the last five years. Ropes & Gray landed the No. 2 spot, improving across all five categories, most notably associate satisfaction. At O’Melveny & Myers, improvements in the firm’s metrics for racially diverse attorneys and women in the equity partnership fueled a four-place jump into the No. 3 position, marking the firm’s third straight year in the Top 10 and its fifth time on the list in the last five years.

Los Angeles-based Manatt, Phelps & Phillips returned to this year’s list following two years off, rising seven places to No. 15, thanks to a 20.5-point improvement in the female equity partner category. Two more firms new to this year’s A-List rankings included Cravath Swaine & Moore (No.17), and Arnold & Porter (No.19). A few firms on the list made last year’s Top 20 but faced shortcomings in vital areas, forcing them off in 2020. Those four firms were Shearman & Sterling, Buckley, Milbank, and Simpson Thacher & Bartlett.

See more highlights from the A-List rankings on The American Lawyer.

Contact Bill Sugarman for more information.

The American Lawyer published results from its annual Midlevel Associates Survey, finding that “third-, fourth- and fifth-year associates are as happy than ever at their law firms.” The survey, conducted at 96 participating law firms, asked third-, fourth- and fifth-year associates to rate their firms on several aspects of job satisfaction, including: compensation and benefits; training and guidance; interaction with partners and other associates; interest and satisfaction level with the work; the firm’s policy on billable hours; and management’s openness about firm strategies and partnership chances. Midlevels graded their workplaces in these categories on a scale of 1 to 5, with 5 being the highest score.

According to the report, associates in their third, fourth and fifth years gave an average composite score of 4.29 out of 5, an increase from last year’s average of 4.27. “Associate satisfaction grew in nearly every category lawyers were asked to rate. The results bode well for retention, in particular. The greatest improvement in average score was in the “expect to stay two years” category, rising to 4.18, compared with 4.12 last year. Midlevel associates are also happier on average with regard to the type of work they’re doing and the training they are getting. The average score for “interesting work” was 4.51, up from 4.47 last year, and the average for “satisfying work” was 4.39, up from 4.37. Scores for “training and guidance” and “partner relations” increased by similar margins, to 4.24 and 4.45, respectively,” (as quoted in The American Lawyer).

“Young lawyers appreciate law firms’ efforts to improve work-life balance, the report revealed. Training and mentorship also appear to be working well for firms that have made efforts to improve in those areas. But associates also cautioned their firms in some cases throughout the survey, warning that burnout is a risk and calling on leaders to continue to modernize their business models by moving away from longstanding billable hour policies,” the article reports. Of the 96 firms surveyed, the top five firms in terms of midlevel associate satisfaction in numerical order were Schulte Roth & Zabel, Paul Hastings, Drinker Biddle & Reath, O’Melveny & Myers, and Blank Rome.

See highlights from the full article on The American Lawyer.

Contact Bill Sugarman for more information.

The American Lawyer reports that after years of globalization, some firms are pulling back to focus on building a stronger platform in the world’s most lucrative legal market. According to the article, the United States remains the world’s largest, strongest and most lucrative legal market. A recent study by U.K.-based market research company Acritas found that U.S. companies spend 166 percent more on legal services per dollar of revenue than companies around the globe.

The United States’ strength in the global legal market has also drawn attention from across the pond, particularly from London’s top firms. According to the article, Allen & Overy is reportedly in merger talks with O’Melveny & Myers, a potential move that has sent ripples throughout London and signals an increased desire and interest to finally break through in the U.S. legal market. “The U.S. is the largest and most lucrative legal market in the world, so it makes sense that firms with global ambitions would want to be here,” notes Dave Koschik, a member of White & Case’s executive committee and head of its U.S. growth team, (as quoted in The American Lawyer).

See highlights from the full article on The American Lawyer.

Contact Bill Sugarman for more information.

The American Lawyer published results from its annual Midlevel Associates Survey, finding that “associates generally continued to report high levels of satisfaction with their jobs,” and report being happier with their compensation than they were a year ago.

Each year, the publication surveys third-, fourth-, and fifth-year associates on several aspects of job satisfaction, including compensation and benefits, training and guidance, interaction with partners and other associates, the interest and satisfaction level of the work, the firm’s policy on billable hours, and management’s openness about firm strategies and partnership chances. The participating firms were ranked on a scale from 1 to 5, with 5 being the highest score possible.

According to the report, “the greatest increase in associate satisfaction came in the area of benefits and compensation,” with respondents giving firms an average score of 4.29, up from an average of 4.17 last year. Of the 102 firms surveyed, the top five firms in terms of midlevel associate satisfaction in numerical order were Cozen O’Connor, O’Melveny & Myers, Gibson Dunn & Crutcher, Paul Hastings and Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe.

See highlights of the full report and article on The American Lawyer.

Contact Bill Sugarman for more information.