An In-Depth Look At America’s Best Corporate Law Firms

corporate lawEvery year, Corporate Board Member surveys directors, general counsel and corporate secretaries of publicly traded U.S. corporations to establish a list of the 25 law firms they believe are best equipped to serve your company in a variety of corporate legal matters. Conducted between February and April of 2018, this 18th annual America’s Best Corporate Law Firms ranking reflects the opinion of nearly 250 public company directors and legal chiefs.

  1. Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz

(up from #2)


Dubbed “America’s Most Grueling Law Firm” by website Business Insider due to its associate-to-partner ratio, Wachtell Lipton ranked as the nation’s most prestigious law firm for 13 years in a row, until 2017, on Vault’s Top 100. The firm, known for its counsel of boards of directors and senior management in critical situations, specializes in M&A, strategic investments, takeovers, corporate and securities law and corporate governance.


2. Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom

(down from #1)


The top firm in last year’s America’s Best Corporate Law Firms ranking, Skadden currently sits at #4 on both The American Lawyer’s Global 100 and The Am Law 100 and at #3 on Vault’s Top 100. The firm is well known for its work in the corporate, industrial and financial sectors.


3.  Jones Day

(steady at #3)


The largest law firm in the U.S., Jones Day has placed among the top tier in America’s Best Corporate Law Firms for more than a decade, ranked first in the Acritas U.S. Law Firm Brand Index for two consecutive years and, most recently, has been named “Litigation Department of the Year” by The American Lawyer. The firm is seen as an authority in M&A transactions, bet-the-company litigation and the fast-growing area of cybersecurity, privacy and data protection.


4. Sullivan & Cromwell

(up from #6)


Recognized as a leader in business and commercial law for more than four decades, Sullivan & Cromwell has been one of the top firms in Corporate Board Member’s annual ranking for over a decade. It is known as the “go-to firm for the financial services industry,” after having played a prominent role in the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis.



5. Latham & Watkins

(down from #4)


Latham is a leader in transactional, litigation and regulatory practices, particularly enterprise-transforming transactions and bet-the-company controversies. It has also been recognized as a leader in the areas of high-yield debt, IPOs and equity investments. The firm ranked #1 in the 2017 Am Law 100 rankings and has consecutively ranked among the top 10 of America’s Best Corporate Law Firms since 2012.


6. Cravath, Swaine & Moore

(down from #5)


Cravath’s corporate practice specializes in a wide range of M&A transactions, as well as defense against activist hedge funds. The firm is also well regarded for its securities practice, representing issuers and investment banks in all types of U.S. and global offerings. It is one of the nation’s oldest law firms and has represented clients such as Horace Greeley, Samuel Morse, Cyrus McCormick and Elias Howe. The Cravath System in hiring practices was named after partner Paul Cravath.


7. Davis Polk & Wardwell

(steady at #7)


Davis Polk is known as one of the oldest law firms in New York. It is a leader in M&A, capital markets, tax and financial regulation, with particular expertise in antitrust and enforcement matters. The firm’s M&A team has been one of website Law360’s Practice Groups of the Year for five years running.


8. Simpson Thacher & Bartlett

(up from #9)


Simpson Thacher is best known for its work with tech giants Microsoft and Alibaba, as well as having advised on the five biggest LBOs in business history and the four largest M&A deals of 2016. It is considered one of the most prestigious law firms in the nation, and its securities practice has represented some of the most prominent financial institutions, including JPMorgan Chase, Deutsche Bank, UBS and Morgan Stanley.