Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom has topped a poll of legal advisers to corporate America. A survey by Corporate Board Member magazine, in which more than 24,000 board members were asked to identify the firms they most admire, found that company directors in the US regard Skadden as the best firm to do business with.
New York's elite firms monopolised the top five spots. Cravath Swaine & Moore followed Skadden, with Sullivan & Cromwell, Wachtell Lipton Rosen & Katz and Davis Polk & Wardwell close behind. The top three firms remain unchanged from a similar survey conducted last year. Weil Gotshal & Manges has surged up the rankings, moving from seventeenth last year to eleventh place this year.
Jones Day Reavis & Pogue has slipped out of the top five from last year's fourth position to sixth. Other firms to slide down the rankings include Gibson Dunn & Crutcher, down from seventh to tenth, and Shearman & Sterling, which dropped two places from eleventh to thirteenth.
The magazine's editor Colin Leinster said: “Our readers need the best legal counsel they can get, locally and nationally. Company directors have always had to walk a legal tightrope. Enron and other ongoing scandals, the challenges of globalisation and ever-changing responsibilities to shareholders mean that the law takes on an even greater significance.”
Skadden also outranked rivals in a poll asking in-house lawyers which firm they most wanted to represent their companies. Skadden executive partner Bob Sheehan said: “We're very pleased to be honoured again by corporate directors and general counsel. We view this as a recognition of our commitment to providing clients with seamless international service across a wide range of practice areas.”
|Top 15 firms|
|Rank||Firm||Last year's rank|
|1||Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom||1|
|2||Cravath Swaine & Moore||2|
|3||Sullivan & Cromwell||3|
|4||Wachtell Lipton Rosen & Katz||5|
|5||Davis Polk & Wardwell||6|
|6||Jones Day Reavis & Pogue||4|
|7||Baker & McKenzie||8|
|8||Latham & Watkins||9|
|9||Kirkland & Ellis||10|
|10||Gibson Dunn & Crutcher||7|
|11||Weil Gotshal & Manges||17|
|12||Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld||20|
|13||Shearman & Sterling||11|
|14||O'Melveny & Myers||13|
|15||Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati||12|
|Source: Corporate Board Member magazine|