Some firms looked better than others under the microscope. The 172 firms in the survey averaged a rating of 4.502 on a scale of 1 to 5. The highest-scoring firms included many familiar names–ten of the 20 best firms of 2006 scored in the top 20 last year as well, including this year’s winner, Arnall Golden Gregory.
But plenty of newcomers grabbed top slots, including second-place winner Nutter McClennen & Fish (up from number 41 in 2005), and third-place Gunderson Dettmer Stough Villeneuve Franklin & Hachigian (up from number 37 in 2005). Two of the top ten slots were captured by firms that vaulted more than 100 spots: Dickstein Shapiro leaped from 119th to sixth, and Morgan, Lewis & Bockius shot from 122th to seventh.
Keeping it real helped propel firms like third-ranked Gunderson Dettmer to the top of the heap. “This class got really great work,” says partner Anthony McCusker. “When they walked out the door at the end of the summer, they knew what it was like as an associate here.” At other firms, things sometimes got too authentic. “Keep summers away from the horrendous partners that are hard to work with and make people cry,” whimpered one summer at fifth-ranked Cozen O’Connor. A clerk at 156th-ranked Cadwalader grumbled about the “torture of working for an associate who is notoriously awful to work with.” Apparently, there’s reality, and there’s reality, summer-style.
The Top 10 (with 2005 rankings bracketed):
1 – (15) Arnall Golden Atlanta
2 – (41)Nutter McClennen Boston
3 – (37)Gunderson Dettmer Menlo Park, Califronia
4 – (6)Chapman and Cutler Chicago
5 – (11) Cozen O’Connor Philadelphia
6 – (119)Dickstein Shapiro Washington, D.C.
7 – (122)Morgan, Lewis National
8 -(1)Miles & Stockbridge Baltimore
9 – (3) Gibson, Dunn Los Angeles
10 – (26) Pillsbury Winthrop National