Vault 100 Rankings: The Most Prestigious Law Firms In America (2025)

money briefcaseWhat do associates at major law firms care about more than money? Prestige, of course. But, at the end of the day, sometimes being a leader when it comes to compensation is enough to boost a firm’s prestige. As luck would have it, the closely watched Vault 100 rankings are here to remind lawyers at the nation’s largest law firms about exactly which ones are considered the most prestigious.

In last year’s Vault 100 rankings, Cravath — the firm that brought the associate salary scale all the way up to $415,000 back in February 2022 — managed to retain its number 1 spot, while Wachtell Lipton once again maintained the second-place title, after being edged out by Skadden back in 2020 for the first time in the history of the Vault rankings.

But was Cravath able to keep its cachet as the most prestigious Biglaw firm in the country in this year’s Vault rankings?

Of course it was. Here’s what Eric Stutzke, SVP & General Manager of Vault, had to say about Cravath’s placement in the latest rankings: “Cravath continued its position as the most prestigious firm according to associates in our survey, as the firm continued to set a high bar across compensation and in the quality of lawyering across multiple practice areas.” Cravath continues to remain the namesake for salaries because of its prestigious pull, with survey respondents referring to the firm as “the gold standard.”

Although Cravath stayed on top, this year, there was some movement when it came to the Top 10 in the rankings. Here are the Top 10 Most Prestigious Law Firms based on Vault’s Annual Associate Survey for 2025:

  1. Cravath, Swaine & Moore
  2. Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz
  3. Skadden
  4. Latham & Watkins
  5. Sullivan & Cromwell
  6. Kirkland & Ellis
  7. Davis Polk & Wardwell
  8. Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison
  9. Simpson Thacher
  10. Gibson Dunn

This is the seventh year in a row that these firms have been in the Top 10, but as you can see, there were some fluctuations in rank among them. Davis Polk switched places with Kirkland, while Paul Weiss switched places with Simpson Thacher. Still within the Top 20, at No. 13, we find Milbank (up four spots from No. 17 last year), the firm that kicked off the 2022 salary wars in the first place. Will “thrillbank” eventually make its way into the Top 10? Stay tuned.

Click here to see the rest of Vault’s prestige rankings.

Congratulations to all of the Biglaw firms that made the latest edition of the Vault 100 rankings. How did your firm do this time around? Email us, text us at (646) 820-8477, or tweet us @atlblog to let us know how you feel.

Vault’s Top 100 Law Firms For 2025 [Vault]
VAULT LAW RELEASES 2025 RANKINGS FOR ITS TOP 100 LAW FIRMS, BEST LAW FIRMS BY REGION, AND BEST LAW FIRMS BY PRACTICE AREA [Vault]


Staci ZaretskyStaci Zaretsky is a senior editor at Above the Law, where she’s worked since 2011. She’d love to hear from you, so please feel free to email her with any tips, questions, comments, or critiques. You can follow her on X/Twitter and Threads or connect with her on LinkedIn.


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