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Top White-Shoe Law Firm List in the United States

white shoe law firm

white-shoe law firm are a distinguished class of legal practices renowned for their prestigious heritage, unwavering commitment to excellence, and deep-rooted traditions. Originating from early 20th-century New York, the term “white-shoe” reflects the era when lawyers at these firms typically wore white Oxford shoes, setting them apart from the norm.

What is the Law Firm, White-shoe Law Firm

These firms are known for representing blue-chip clients, major corporations, and financial institutions, handling complex legal matters that often include mergers and acquisitions, high-stakes litigation, and intricate corporate transactions. Here are the 12 well-known white-shoe law firm in the United States:

white shoe law firm list

1] Cravath, Swaine & Moore

Cravath, founded in 1819 and headquartered in New York City, holds the prestigious title of being ranked as the United States’ foremost law firm according to Vault’s Annual Associate Survey for 2022. Known for its representation of high-profile clients in intricate legal matters, Cravath has a rich history of involvement in high-stakes litigation and complex transactions.

This esteemed legal institution has consistently played pivotal roles in groundbreaking transactions and legal battles throughout its extensive history. Their expertise extends to guiding clients in areas including mergers and acquisitions, securities offerings, antitrust issues, intricate litigation proceedings, and providing comprehensive corporate counsel.

2] Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz

This firm is known for its expertise in mergers and acquisitions and is often retained by Fortune 500 companies. It is also headquartered in New York City and has been ranked as the second most prestigious law firm in the United States by Vault’s Annual Associate Survey for 2022. The firm was founded in 1965 and has a reputation for providing high-quality legal services to its clients.

3] Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom

This firm is headquartered in New York City and has a reputation for representing clients in high-stakes litigation and complex transactions. It has been ranked as the third most prestigious law firm in the United States by Vault’s Annual Associate Survey for 2022 . The firm was founded in 1948 and has a long history of representing clients in some of the most significant legal matters of the past century.

Read More – what is a white-shoe law firm

4] Sullivan & Cromwell

Sullivan & Cromwell, founded in 1879 in New York City, stands as one of the oldest and most prestigious law firms in the United States. With a rich history of representing major corporations and financial institutions in complex legal matters, the firm has been instrumental in shaping the legal landscape.

Renowned for its expertise in corporate law, securities offerings, mergers and acquisitions, cross-border transactions, and high-stakes litigation, Sullivan & Cromwell has consistently played a pivotal role in landmark cases and transactions throughout its long history. In fact, the firm’s reputation for excellence is reflected in its ranking as the fourth most prestigious law firm in the United States according to Vault’s Annual Associate Survey for 2022.

5] Latham & Watkins

This firm is headquartered in Los Angeles and has a reputation for representing clients in complex legal matters such as mergers and acquisitions, intellectual property disputes, and securities litigation. It has been ranked as the fifth most prestigious law firm in the United States by Vault’s Annual Associate Survey for 2022. The firm was founded in 1934 and has grown to become one of the largest law firms in the world with offices across North America, Europe, Asia, and the Middle East.

6] Davis Polk & Wardwell

Headquartered in New York City, Davis Polk & Wardwell is renowned for its representation of clients in high-stakes litigation, mergers and acquisitions, capital markets transactions, and various other intricate legal matters. Established in 1849, it stands as one of the oldest law firms in the United States, and its reputation for excellence is well-deserved.

Davis Polk has consistently held the sixth position among the top ten most prestigious law firms in the country, as per Vault’s Annual Associate Survey for 2022.
With a history of shaping the legal landscape, the firm has played a pivotal role in guiding clients through significant deals and noteworthy cases throughout its long and esteemed existence.

7] Kirkland & Ellis

This firm is headquartered in Chicago and has a reputation for representing clients across a wide range of industries including private equity, technology, healthcare, energy, and more. It has been ranked seventh among the top ten most prestigious law firms in the United States by Vault’s Annual Associate Survey for 2022.

8] Simpson Thacher & Bartlett

Headquartered in the bustling heart of New York City, Simpson Thacher & Bartlett was established in 1884 and has since earned a distinguished reputation for representing clients across a wide array of industries, including financial services, healthcare, technology, media, energy, and more.

Renowned for its expertise in corporate and financial services, the firm excels in guiding clients through intricate transactions, such as mergers and acquisitions, capital market ventures, private equity matters, and restructuring efforts.

Simpson Thacher & Bartlett proudly serves as legal counsel to major corporations, financial institutions, and prominent private equity firms, contributing their expertise to their most noteworthy and high-impact endeavors. Notably, it has earned recognition as the eighth-ranked law firm among the top ten most prestigious in the United States, according to Vault’s Annual Associate Survey for 2022.

Read More – What is a Boutique Law Firm?

9] Gibson Dunn & Crutcher

This firm is headquartered in Los Angeles and has a reputation for representing clients across a wide range of industries including technology, media, entertainment, healthcare, energy, financial services, real estate, and more. It has been ranked ninth among the top ten most prestigious law firms in the United States by Vault’s Annual Associate Survey for 2022.

10] Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison

This firm is headquartered in New York City and has a reputation for representing clients across a wide range of industries including private equity, technology, media, entertainment, healthcare, energy, financial services, real estate, and more.It has been ranked tenth among the top ten most prestigious law firms in the United States by Vault’s Annual Associate Survey for 2022.

11] Wilmer Hale

Wilmer Hale stands as a prominent legal institution born from the union of two esteemed law firms: Wilmer Cutler Pickering LLP and Hale and Dorr LLP. Wilmer Cutler Pickering took its initial steps in 1962 in the heart of Washington, D.C., while Hale and Dorr has its origins dating back to 1918 in the vibrant city of Boston.

This historic merger, which took place in 2004, gave rise to a global legal powerhouse with a presence in key cities across the United States, Europe, and Asia. Wilmer Hale offers a comprehensive array of legal services, encompassing corporate law, litigation, intellectual property, regulatory compliance, and government affairs. Their clientele spans diverse sectors, including technology, defense, financial services, and life sciences.

12] Arnold & Porter

Arnold & Porter is a law firm headquartered in Washington, D.C. with offices in the United States, Europe, and Asia. The firm was founded in 1946 and has grown to become one of the largest law firms in the world with more than 1,000 lawyers across 14 offices.

Arnold & Porter is known for its expertise in a wide range of practice areas including antitrust, appellate litigation, environmental, securities litigation, and cross-border work. The firm has also been recognized for its commitment to pro bono work and diversity.

How has the meaning of ‘white-shoe law firm’ changed over time?

The definition of “white-shoe firm” has changed throughout time. The phrase is occasionally used disparagingly to indicate stodginess, elitism, or a lack of variety in the 21st century to apply to companies that are thought of as prominent or high-quality. The phrase was described as being synonymous with “big, old, east-coast, and fairly traditional” in a 2010 column in The Economist.