News Releases

Annual Legal Study Ranks Top 25 Law Firms in the United States
Directors and General Counsel Rank America’s Top Corporate Law Firms for 2011

New York, N.Y., May 10, 2011Corporate Board Member magazine and global business advisory firm FTI Consulting, Inc. (NYSE: FCN ) today announced the results of the 11th annual America’s Best Corporate Law Firms study, a comprehensive ranking by U.S. corporate directors and general counsel of the top 25 national corporate law firms.

According to the 2011 study, New York’s Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom receives top ranking among corporate directors, a position it has held since the first survey in 2001. New York-based Cravath, Swaine & Moore and Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz were next in line, respectively, followed by fourth placed Sullivan & Cromwell, also in New York  . The fifth and sixth place rankings are held by Jones Day, of Washington , D.C. , and Weil, Gotshal & Manges, of New York , respectively. Each of these top six firms appeared in one of the top six places among last year’s rankings as well.

Looking further down the list, many of the 2011 firms remain steadfast among the top firms in recent years. New York-based Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison enjoys an elevated status, rising to eighth place from 11th. Additionally, several new firms made appearances:    Simpson Thacher & Bartlett, Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson and Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton, of New York; Atlanta-based King & Spalding; and the Houston firm Baker Botts.

“FTI Consulting once again is proud to conduct this important study with Corporate Board Member magazine, which allows us to applaud the impressive efforts of some of the most accomplished law firms across the country,” said Neal Hochberg, senior managing director and segment leader – Forensic and Litigation Consulting, at FTI Consulting.  “The results reveal that corporate directors and general counsel alike value the consistency among these firms, as many of the firms have maintained similar positions in the past few years.  We congratulate all the firms that made the list, including Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom that again topped the list.”

In a separate survey of corporate general counsel, Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom once again leads the top 25 rankings, followed by Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz and Cravath Swaine & Moore in second and third places, respectively, mirroring last year’s findings. In addition, the New York  firm of Sidley Austin leaped to the number eight position from 16th place last year. The 2011 list also features several firms not listed last year, including DLA Piper; Morrison & Foerster; O’Melveny & Myers; King & Spaulding; Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld; and Morgan Lewis & Bockius.

“Each of the law firms on this year’s list rightly deserves recognition both for the reputation they have established and for the outstanding service they deliver. Law firms especially value our rankings because they come not from their peers—other lawyers—but from the corporate officers, directors and in-house attorneys who hire law firms. Special congratulations go to Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, which ranked first in surveys of both company directors and general counsel,” said TK Kerstetter, president of Corporate Board Member. “Taken together, the director and the general counsel rankings provide savvy intelligence for boards looking for legal firepower when the going gets rough—especially in challenging economic times.”

The following are the top 25 national corporate law firms for 2011, according to the directors surveyed by Corporate Board Member/FTI Consulting (with their 2010 ranking in parentheses):

1. Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher  & Flom , New York (1)
2. Cravath, Swaine  & Moore , New York (2)
3. Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen  & Katz , New York (3)
4. Sullivan & Cromwell, New York (5)
5. Jones Day, Washington, D.C. (4)
6. Weil, Gotshal  & Manges , New York (6)
7. Baker & McKenzie, Chicago  (8)
8. Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton  & Garrison , New York (11)
9. Kirkland & Ellis, Chicago  (9)
10. Davis  Polk & Wardwell , New York (10)
11. Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, Los Angeles  (12)
12. Fulbright & Jaworski, Houston  (13)
13. Shearman  & Sterling , New York (14)
14. Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, Palo Alto  (17)
15. Latham & Watkins, Los Angeles  (7)
16. Simpson Thacher & Bartlett, New York (-)
17. Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld, Washington, D.C. (16)
18. Sidley Austin  , New York (15)
19. Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson  , New York (-)
20. Covington  & Burling, Washington , D.C. (19)
21. Vinson & Elkins, Houston  (18)
22. Cleary Gottlieb Steen  & Hamilton , New York (-)
23. O’Melveny & Myers, Los Angeles  (20)
24. King & Spalding, Atlanta  (-)
25. Baker Botts, Houston  (-)

Source: Corporate Board Member/FTI Consulting

The following are the top 25 national corporate law firms for 2011, ranked according to general counsel surveyed by Corporate Board Member/FTI Consulting (with their 2010 ranking in parentheses):

1. Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher  & Flom , New York (1)
2. Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen  & Katz , New York (2)
3. Cravath, Swaine  & Moore , New York (3)
4. Latham & Watkins, Los Angeles  (6)
5. Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, Los Angeles  (8)
6. Davis  Polk & Wardwell , New York (4)
7. Weil, Gotshal  & Manges , New York (10)
8. Sidley Austin  , New York (16)
9. Kirkland & Ellis, Chicago  (9)
10. Sullivan  & Cromwell , New York (5)
11. Simpson Thacher  & Bartlett , New York (12)
12. Jones Day, Washington, D.C. (7)
13. Baker & McKenzie, Chicago  (11)
14. Cleary Gottlieb Steen  & Hamilton , New York (14)
15. Covington  & Burling, Washington , D.C. (20)
16. DLA  Piper, Atlanta (-)
17. Hogan Lovells, Washington  , D.C. (13)
18. Morrison & Foerster, San Francisco  (-)
19. Shearman  & Sterling , New York (-)
20. O’Melveny & Myers, Los Angeles  (-)
21. King & Spalding, Atlanta  (-)
22. Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, Palo Alto  (19)
23. Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld, Washington  , D.C. (-)
24. Morgan Lewis & Bockius, Philadelphia  (-)
25. Fulbright & Jaworski, Houston  (15)

Source: Corporate Board Member/FTI Consulting

The survey was mailed in January 2011 and also asked directors and general counsel of U.S.  publicly traded companies to weigh in on current governance matters. Across the board, directors and general counsel were adamant about their dislike for the whistleblower provision in the Dodd-Frank Act, which rewards employees who go directly to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission with allegations of fraud or company malfeasance. A broader analysis of these results will be featured in a special supplement sponsored by FTI Consulting that will be included with the third-quarter 2011 issue of Corporate Board Member.

In addition to naming the top 25 corporate law firms nationally, the Corporate Board Member/FTI Consulting study identifies the top law firm in 25 major U.S. metropolitan areas, according to the directors and general counsel polled. A complete listing of the top national corporate law firms according to corporate directors and general counsel and the metropolitan rankings appears in the second-quarter 2011 issue of the magazine and is available at

On May 10, Corporate Board Member and FTI Consulting will host the fourth annual Legal Recognition Dinner at the Grand Hyatt in New York City, honoring five distinguished general counsel and the top 25 national corporate law firms as identified by board members and general counsel in the 2011 survey.

About Corporate Board Member

Corporate Board Member, an NYSE Euronext company, is the leading information resource for senior officers and directors of publicly traded corporations, large private companies and Global 1000 firms. The quarterly publication, Corporate Board Member magazine, provides readers with decision-making tools to deal with the strategic and corporate governance challenges confronting their boards. Corporate Board Member further extends its governance leadership through an online resource center, conferences, roundtables and timely research. The magazine maintains the most comprehensive, up-to-date database of directors and officers serving on boards of publicly traded companies listed with NYSE Euronext and The NASDAQ OMX Group Inc. stock exchanges. 

About FTI Consulting

FTI Consulting, Inc. is a $1.4 billion publicly traded global business advisory firm dedicated to helping organizations protect and enhance enterprise value in an increasingly complex legal, regulatory and economic environment. With more than 3,700 employees located in 26 countries, FTI Consulting professionals work closely with clients to anticipate, illuminate and overcome complex business challenges in areas such as investigations, litigation, mergers and acquisitions, regulatory issues, reputation management and restructuring. More information can be found at

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Nicole Madison                                                                    Stephanie Clark
FTI Consulting                                                                     Corporate Board Member
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