Vault surveyed nearly 12,000 associates at more than 100 major law firms and asked them to rank 148 law firms to calculate the ‘prestige’ rankings. Wachtell Lipton come Numero Uno for 2004, up one place over their position in the previous two years.

For our quality of life rankings, Vault asked associates to rate their own firms on issues such as treatment by partners, training, hours and compensation and then scored the firms against each other.

Here are the top 20 ‘prestige’ rankings. The first figure is the ranking, the second, the previous year’s ranking and the larger figure the ‘prestige’ ranking based on the survey:

1
Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz
2
8.912
New York, NY

2
Cravath, Swaine & Moore
1
8.850
New York, NY

3
Sullivan & Cromwell
3
8.444
New York, NY

4
Davis Polk & Wardwell
5
8.209
New York, NY

5
Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP and Affiliates
4
8.143
New York, NY

6
Simpson Thacher & Bartlett
6
7.844
New York, NY

7
Cleary, Gottlieb, Steen & Hamilton
7
7.731
New York, NY

8
Covington & Burling
8
7.513
Washington, DC

9
Latham & Watkins
9
7.503
Los Angeles, CA

10
Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP
10
7.438
New York, NY

11
Kirkland & Ellis
12
7.420
Chicago, IL

12
Shearman & Sterling
13
7.300
New York, NY

13
Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison
14
7.209
New York, NY

14
Williams & Connolly LLP
11
7.205
New York, NY

15
Debevoise & Plimpton
17
7.157
New York, NY

16
Sidley Austin Brown & Wood LLP
16
7.090
Chicago, IL

17
Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP
18
7.058
Los Angeles, CA

18
Arnold & Porter
19
7.006
Washington, DC

20
White & Case LLP
20
6.892
New York, NY