VAULT.COM UNVEILS LAW FIRM PRACTICE AREA RANKINGS FOR 2015 MORRISON & FOERSTER RANKED AS THE NO. 1 CLEAN TECHNOLOGY LAW FIRM
VINSON & ELKINS TAKES THE TOP SPOT IN ENERGY LAW
New York, NY (June 25, 2014) Offering deeper insight into the legal industry, Vault.com released its Practice Area Rankings for 2015, examining how associates rate peer firms in areas such as clean technology and energy law. This year Morrison & Foerster, which shared the top spot in Vault's Clean Technology/Renewable Energy category with Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati last year, took sole possession of the No. 1 spot. On the more traditional end of the energy spectrum, Vinson & Elkins regained its place as the No. 1 firm for Energy, Oil & Gas.
"In order to choose the right firm, law students must start thinking about their preferred practice areas early on," said Nicole Weber, Law Editor at Vault.com. "Candidates apply for summer associate positions after just one year of school, and understanding the firms that are strongest in each specialty is a crucial component of the process."
Although Morrison & Foerster and Vinson & Elkins shine at No. 1 in seemingly diametrically opposed practice groups, they cannot be pigeonholed. "In addition to its focus on clean tech, Morrison & Foerster counsels clients with interests in the gas, electric and oil pipeline businesses, notably representing the State of Alaska in its oil pipeline matters for over 30 years," Weber explained. "Vinson & Elkins also has a diverse energy practice beyond its representation of oil industry titans. The firm added a Palo Alto office with a clean energy practice that represents clients with interests in solar, wind and carbon capture and storage, among others."
In order to determine the Vault Practice Area Rankings, nearly 17,000 associates were asked to vote for up to three firms they consider strongest in their own practice area, but were not permitted to vote for their own firm. Vault's rankings feature the firms that received the highest percentage of votes from survey respondents.
The Top 10 Law Firms for Clean Technology/Renewable Energy are:
1. Morrison & Foerster
2. Latham & Watkins
3. Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati
5. Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe
6. Vinson & Elkins
7. Baker Botts
8. Chadbourne & Parke / Finnegan, Henderson, Farabow, Garrett & Dunner (tie)
9. Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld
10. Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy LLP / Morgan Lewis & Bockius (tie)
This is the third year in a row that Morrison & Foerster has topped the list. Survey respondents noted that attorneys at MoFo, as the firm is affectionately known, are "fantastic to work with," "innovative," "top-notch," the "kings of San Francisco" and "smart MoFos." One associate at a peer firm commented that MoFo has a "very happy firm culture, great training" and "seems like an ideal place to be."
Wilson Sonsini shared the top spot with MoFo last year, but the tech powerhouse fell to No. 3 this year, allowing Latham & Watkins to become No. 2. Akin Gump joined the Clean Tech/Renewable Energy rankings this year, establishing itself solidly at No. 9, and McDermott Will & Emery nudged ahead of Alston & Bird to take the No. 13 spot. In addition, newcomers last year—Norton Rose Fulbright and Goodwin Proctor—hang on tying at No. 15.
The Top 10 Law Firms for Energy, Oil & Gas are:
1. Vinson & Elkins
2. Baker Botts
3. Latham & Watkins
4. Bracewell & Giuliani
5. Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom
6. Norton Rose Fulbright
7. Van Ness Feldman
8. Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy
9. Chadbourne & Parke
10. White & Case
Vinson & Elkins, known as the "best in Texas," was able to bounce back from losing its top spot last year. Survey respondents know the firm for its "strong energy law and lobby practices" and its "Big Oil" clientele.
The Energy category had other exciting moves as well. Akin Gump, which boasts a broad-based energy practice featuring expertise in pipeline safety, FERC certificates and rates and transactions, made an impressive first appearance in the Top 15. Newcomers Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe, DLA Piper and McDermott Will & Emery also inched into the Top 15, while three firms fell off the list this year—Alston & Bird, Greenberg Traurig and Morrison & Foerster.
View the entire Vault Law Practice Area Rankings.
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