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

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Every 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. Here's an in-depth look at the top 25.

17. Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton

(up from #18)


Cleary is best known for its representation of national governments, particularly in sovereign-debt cases. It was the first U.S. firm qualified to practice law in Japan. It has been involved in several high-profile corporate matters, including the white knight acquisition of Allergan, the SABMiller/ AB InBev merger and as antitrust counsel on The Dow Chemical Co. and DuPont merger. Television producer Doug Liman cited Cleary as an inspiration for the TV series Suits.


tie 18. Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison

(down from #16)


Paul, Weiss ranked #1 for the Best Law Firms for Business Outlook and #2 Best Law Firms for General Commercial Litigation in Vault’s 2018 rankings. The firm is particularly known for its work with some of the world’s largest financial institutions and companies, as well as its expertise in telecom and entertainment law. Most notably, the firm issued the Deflategate report.


tie 18. Morrison & Foerster

(up from #25)


Best known for its expertise in IP, finance, life sciences, technology and litigation, Morrison & Foerster was named second- best law firm for privacy and data security by Vault. In fact, it won the Privacy & Data Security Award for Excellence from Chambers USA in 2016. Its client list includes AIG, Bank of America, Nikon, Novartis, SoftBank, Toshiba, Yahoo! and UPS. In popular culture, the firm’s nickname (“MoFo”) made its way into the most recent version of the game Trivial Pursuit.


20.  DLA Piper

(down from #15)


Ranked #2 on the NLJ 500, DLA Piper appeared on our directors’ top 25 best corporate law firms list for the first time in 2017. It recently came into the spotlight when Equifax selected it to work on its security breach case in Washington, D.C. The firm’s core practices in the U.S. include corporate and finance, employment, intellectual property and technology, litigation and arbitration, real estate and tax.


21. King & Spalding

(up from #24)


According to Vault, King & Spalding has one of the largest healthcare law practices in the U.S. and is perennially on the Chambers USA listing of top firms serving the industry. It counts as partners three past presidents of the American Health Lawyers Association and sponsors an annual forum on health law and policy. K&S was recognized by Corporate Board Member as Atlanta’s best corporate law firm in 2002 and 2003.


22. Covington & Burling

(down from #21)


Covington is best known for its expertise in antitrust, litigation, regulatory and white-collar defense, with particular strengths in the insurance, life science, energy, tech and entertainment industries. The firm consistently ranks among the top 15 law firms on Vault and the top 20 on The American Lawyer’s A-List, based on financial performance, pro bono activity, associate satisfaction and diversity.


tie 23. Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr



WilmerHale has ranked among U.S. News and World Report and Best Lawyers’ list of Best Law Firms since the inception of these rankings in 2010 and was recently named Litigation–Intellectual Property Firm of the Year. Overall, the firm has received 21 first-tier national rankings. WilmerHale is best known for its IP trial practice, securities enforcement and white-collar work, as well as for regulatory advice and litigation.


tie 23. Reed Smith



Reed Smith is known for its work in litigation and high-stake disputes, as well as advising on cross-border transactions and regulatory matters. The firm counsels 13 of the world’s 15 largest commercial and savings banks, 25 of the world’s 35 largest oil and gas companies and the world’s three largest pharmaceutical distribution and wholesale companies.


tie 23. Goodwin Procter



Goodwin provides transaction, advisory and litigation services to the financial, private equity, real estate and tech industries. The firm played key roles in some of the largest deals of 2017, including the Snap and Blue Apron Holdings IPOs, and is known for having advised Essex Properties in its merger with BRE Properties, thereby creating the third-largest multifamily REIT in the country. It was also involved in Onyx Pharmaceuticals’ sale to Amgen, Trulia’s sale to Zillow and the Paramount Group IPO, which is the largest IPO on record by a U.S. REIT.


tie 23. Dechert



Appearing for the first time in our top 25 America’s Best Corporate Law Firms ranking, Dechert is best known for its corporate practice, especially in international M&A and securities. By establishing an office in Brussels in 1968, Dechert was one of the first U.S. firms to expand internationally. The firm has a prominent financial services practice, representing 18 of the top 20 global asset managers.

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