Saturday, June 19, 2021

How to win Vault's "best firm to work for," "best firm for diversity" and "best summer associate program" awards

       Last month, a retired attorney passed away and people left public messages under his obituary. One such person was Tim Evans, a new O'Melveny partner in the real estate group. Mr. Evans wrote that he didn't know the decedent, but that he wanted to praise Chair Brad Butwin's motivational skills and list the exquisite aspirations of O'Melveny lawyers. 

       I specifically mention Mr. Evans's example because it's amusing to see such a thing in an obituary, of all places. But I could provide numerous other examples of O'Melveny attorneys who went out of their way to publicly tout the firm.

       At O'Melveny, anything but regular and effusive praise risked retaliation. That may be why it's repeatedly named as Vault's "best firm to work for," "best firm for diversity" and "best summer associate program." (These rankings measure the amount of praise a firm's attorneys give it on Vault's questionnaire.)2 Or why it's "ranked #1 for associate satisfaction in The American Lawyer’s 2020 Midlevel Associates Survey." (This ranking uses the same methodology.) The problem is that if the plaudits aren't sincere, they could mislead people into choosing the wrong firm. Law students complained about this last year. 

       Vault won't announce this year's winners until September, but I'm going to go ahead and predict that it'll be O'Melveny. Its attorneys will fill out Vault's questionnaire like Goneril in the opening scene of King Lear (or maybe Homer Simpson in The Joy of Sect is a better analogy) -- and, in turn, Vault will give O'Melveny the three awards. Nevertheless, if you hear an O'Melveny attorney tout their firm in a Vault testimonial, a marketing video, an obituary or somewhere else -- please consider the possibility that they might not be able to tell you what they really think.       
1 For a detailed explanation of how those rankings work, see my earlier post, which also offers a numerical test to measure the ranking's credibility. Note that these three Vault rankings are not like Vault's main ranking of law firms. That latter ranking grades a firm based on the opinions of the entire industry

o'melveny omm ALM midlevel associate satisfaction survey


o'melveny omm vault ranking

 These are last year's top 50 best firms to work for, O'Melveny & Myers LLP, Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP, Ropes & Gray LLP, Clifford Chance US LLP, Eversheds Sutherland (US) LLP, Paul Hastings LLP, Latham & Watkins LLP, Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP, Patterson Belknap Webb & Tyler LLP, Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP, Proskauer Rose LLP, Goodwin Procter LLP, Lowenstein Sandler LLP, Shearman & Sterling, Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP, Jackson Walker, Choate, Hall & Stewart LLP, White & Case LLP, Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP, Gibbons P.C., WilmerHale, Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP, Dechert LLP, Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson LLP, Finnegan, Henderson, Farabow, Garrett & Dunner, LLP Thompson & Knight LLP, BakerHostetler, Goulston & Storrs PC, Munger, Tolles & Olson LLP, Sidley Austin LLP, Cooley LLP, Covington & Burling LLP, Sheppard Mullin, Morrison & Foerster LLP, Milbank LLP, Cozen O'Connor, Fenwick & West LLP, Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP, Foley Hoag LLP, Linklaters LLP, McDermott Will & Emery, Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft LLP, Debevoise & Plimpton LLP, Crowell & Moring LLP, Vinson & Elkins LLP, Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP, Williams & Connolly LLP Robinson & Cole LLP, Carlton Fields, P.A., Kirkland & Ellis