Latham top choice for lawyers in London, poll reveals

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Latham & Watkins has topped a poll as the US firm in London law students and associates would most like to join, The Lawyer can reveal.

In a survey of attitudes that forms part of this year’s new Top 50 US firms in London report, respondents were asked two initial questions: “Name the US law firm in London you would work for if you could and why?” and “Name the US law firm in London you would never work for and why?”

Latham scored almost double the number of favourable mentions than the firm in second place (White & Case with 10 per cent), with 19 per cent of all respondents stating that they would work there if they could. Kirkland & Ellis and Shearman & Sterling were joint third most popular with 8 per cent of the votes each.

One respondent said Latham has, “reasonably good brand recognition for a US firm. Great pay and decent international network. The London office has a greater breadth of practices than some other US firms based here”.

Another said Latham has, “genuine commitment to diversity and a top corporate practice”.

The survey asked students and associates for their impressions and perceptions of all of the top US firms in London. The comments on dozens of firms are included in this year’s report.

The survey also asked respondents to name the US firm in London they would never join. The results of this question will be revealed tomorrow.

In another first this year, The Lawyer used the results of these two questions to create an “approval rating”. The ranking is based on the differential between respondents who said they did and did not want to work for any particular firm. Firms that scored a high approval rating were those that had the greatest percentage difference between the two metrics.

Overall the big winner was Milbank, with a 74 per cent difference between the positive and negative statements. Also performing well in this system were Quinn Emanuel (70 per cent), Baker McKenzie (65 per cent) and Latham (56 per cent).

Conversely, Jones Day performed particularly poorly, with the firm’s “approval percentage rating” coming in at -584 per cent.

Kirkland also had poor results at -283 per cent, one place behind Jones Day. Lagging further behind were Skadden and Sullivan & Cromwell, on -98 per cent and -90 per cent respectively.

The full survey also asked respondents for their views on salaries, training, partnership prospects and future career options.

The full results of this year’s new attitudinal survey are included in The Lawyer’s inaugural Top 50 US Firms in London report. This year, for the first time, the focus is on the top 50 leading US firms in the UK, primarily those based in London.

As reported earlier this week, in 2016 the UK operations of this group generated $4.6bn, with four firms generating in excess of $200m.

The results underline the extent to which US firms have made inroads into the UK, and primarily London, legal market.

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For more information about the content of the report  contact Matt Byrne at or on 0207 970 4558. For sales enquiries please contact Richard Edwards on 0207 970 4672 or at

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