It’s Not Just Biglaw – Skadden Knows What it Takes to be Elite

It's Not Just Biglaw - Skadden Knows What it Takes to be Elite

The legal industry’s leading publication, The American Lawyer, has unveiled its annual list of the most prestigious Elite law firms in the country.

For the second year in a row, Skadden Arps leads the way, topping $1 billion in gross revenue and adding new practices to its impressive roster of litigation and corporate deals. At $415,000 per partner, Skadden is also the nation’s highest-grossing law firm per partner.

When it comes to being elite, there’s no denying that Skadden knows what it takes to be at the top of the game.

Why do you need an elite JD?

For a long time, Skadden has been the law firm considered the most elite in their industry. From 2016-2017, Fortune Magazine ranked them the third most prestigious company among all the law firms in America. But for anyone looking for a good job and wanting to work in a law firm- how does this place stack up?

The answer is: not well. To become one of these elite attorneys at this firm, there are some big hurdles that you’ll need to jump through first.

What are the benefits of being elite?

Skadden is the 20th largest law firm in the world, operating out of over 50 offices in 27 countries around the globe.

It was also named Litigation Department of the Year by The American Lawyer and has been named a Tier 1 Law Firm by legal publications Chambers & Partners and U.S. News & World Report for years running.

Why does this matter? Because being ranked highly means your firm is respected worldwide, that you offer cutting-edge services, and that are focused on helping clients succeed.

And if you want all those things too, then maybe being one of the elite isn’t so bad after all…

How do you get into the top law firms?

The most coveted law firms are in New York, so they’re the obvious places to start applying. You’ll want to get your transcripts (undergrad and grad) and a writing sample ready. Some people call these applications cover letters. If you want the job at Skadden Arps,

If you often post openings on its website, then you’ll need to take the LSATs and apply through the American Bar Association Fellowship in Legal Management Program. After a while, even if you don’t get a top-tier position with one of these companies out of law school, making yourself as competitive as possible will increase your chances of success in future endeavors.

Who are the people behind the numbers?

The $415,000 per attorney comes out to around $500,000, which is the amount Skadden spent in the most recent fiscal year on salaries and benefits for its 1,297 attorneys.

It will take about 30 years for an associate at one of the top firms like Cravath or Munger Tolles & Olson to make that amount back on average (provided they do not take a year off for any reason).

The number does not include first-year bonuses, which are typically around $50-100K, though those figures can vary by the law firm.

Those starting at firms like Milbank might expect a bonus closer to the range of $5-10K. Partners at these firms can make close to 7 times what their associates make.

How does this compare to other professions like investment banking and hedge funds?

Skadden’s analysis does show that the elite firms are getting bigger, and likely pulling more profits than ever. But even for firms s at the top of their game,

turnover is high. So no matter how much money a law firm can make in total, you’re always going to want to think about what makes the firm unique and will attract new talent.

In addition, while training associates has historically been expensive in terms of both cost and time spent on them, these firms will have high operating costs as they compete for talent.

Elitism in today’s world

No matter what you may think, today’s world is not the world of yesteryear. There are now many types of jobs that were unheard of just a few decades ago. With that in mind, elite firms must provide something beyond what other less well-known firms provide if they want to stay on top.

To be an elite law firm, you need a healthy marketing budget and an office with facilities and staffing levels on par with or exceeding those of large corporate competitors.

It seems like the lofty goal for lawyers looking for top salaries and prestige is a prestigious big law firm, but other practices are vying for top-tier status too.

Where can I learn more about what makes something elite?

For those unfamiliar with the term, an elite law firm ranks among the top firms in the country.

A study published by legal trade publication The American Lawyer ranked firms on their profits per partner, with Harvard, Latham, and William&Macy at the top of their list. However, success in profit margins does not always translate into a good place to work.

Glassdoor compiled a list of The 10 Worst Places To Work In Law Firms for 2018 based on employee satisfaction ratings and found Latham & Watkins as the No. 5 worst company in all industries.

Keep browsing Law Scribd for more updates.

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