2021 Vault Rankings
- Pro Bono#27
- New York#4
At a Glance
“I like working with people that are smart and committed to good work.”
“Early responsibility and rapid learning and progression/development.”
“The work is cutting edge.”
“The hours can be long and at times unpredictable based on client needs.”
“Unclear prospects for promotion.”
About Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP and Affiliates
Skadden is one of the most profitable and well-known law firms in the world. It was the first law firm to report $1 billion in annual revenue—now an industry brass ring. While the firm may be best known for its M&A prowess, it is an all-star across practice areas, boasting an army of about 1,700 lawyers around the globe.
If the Shoe Fits
Skadden was launched in 1948 by trio Marshall Skadden, Les Arps, and John Slate. Unlike many of the white shoe firms, Skadden wasn’t afraid to jump into proxy-fight work during the ’50s and ’60s, which set the stage for the hostile takeovers the firm handled in later years. Much of Skadden’s ethos can be attributed to Joe Flom, who started at Skadden six months after its 1948 founding. Flom participated in most of the major M&A deals of the ’70s and ’80s, establishing Skadden’s hard-nosed style and building a reputation for aggressive strategies. He also spearheaded the firm’s practice diversification efforts—Skadden now boasts top-notch restructuring; capital markets; tax; intellectual property; real estate; white collar defense; and commercial, securities, and products liability litigation groups, among countless others.
Brioche and Butter
Multifaceted as it is, Skadden’s forte is still M&A. Deals such as DuPont-Conoco, U.S. Steel-Marathon Oil, and—most notably—the 1989 takeover of RJR Nabisco launched Skadden into the top rung of American law firms. It’s not surprising that Skadden became the first law firm to handle over $1 trillion in global announced M&A deals in a single year (2015). The firm is a mainstay atop Vault’s M&A ranking (consistently snagging the No. 2 spot) and is regularly ranked in the top tier for M&A by Chambers USA, Chambers Global, U.S. News–Best Lawyers, and The Legal 500.
Don’t be deceived by Skadden’s M&A foundation—the firm’s litigators are first rate. The firm was named a finalist for General Litigation in the New York Law Journal’s 2019 Litigation Department of the Year. It has also held the top spot in Vault’s Securities Litigation ranking since 2011 and was named Law Firm of the Year for Mergers and Acquisitions Litigation and Securities Litigation in 2020 by U.S. News — Best Lawyers. The firm was also named among BTI Consulting Group’s 2020 Fearsome Foursome—going up against Skadden litigators isn’t for the faint of heart.
Skadden’s Tax group assists clients in resolving large, complex, and global tax controversies, as well as handling tax investigations and defending tax-related class actions and professional liability disputes. The firm has consistently ranked No. 1 for tax in Vault’s rankings.
Pro bono isn’t merely an afterthought at Skadden. According to the firm, in 2018, the average pro bono hours per Skadden attorney in the U.S. was 149.6 hours. All pro bono hours count toward the firm’s 1,800-billable-hour target, which associates must meet to receive a bonus. According to the firm, Skadden utilizes a practice area model to drive efficiencies in its delivery of immigration-related pro bono legal services; as a result of its success, plans are underway to launch other pro bono projects following this model. The firm also offers public interest externship programs with the Legal Aid Society of New York; Legal Aid Society of Washington, DC; and Lawyers Alliance for New York. In addition, Skadden is a member and was instrumental in the formation of the Law Firm Antiracism Alliance.
Skadden is working in collaboration with schools to determine the most appropriate approach to recruiting, given the uncertainty regarding remote study, and travel/social distancing restrictions. We will be flexible and provide a variety of opportunities to meet with us, including virtual events and interviews.
In Summer 2020, the program was recreated virtually with aspects underscoring our commitment to professional development, pro bono legal services, and the communities where we live and work. The remote component enabled us to offer a more intensive learning experience firmwide. Elements of our incoming associate training program were presented by Skadden attorneys to teach fundamental skills of successful Skadden lawyers. Summer associates worked on client assignments and in project-focused teams to meaningfully contribute to COVID-relief initiatives, and projects to support the fight against systemic racism. Relationships with attorneys were fostered through virtual events – Mentor Mondays, Wellness Wednesdays, demonstrations, viewing parties, a Q&A with a comedic actor, and “Skadclass” courses taught by Skadden attorneys on a wide array of passions and hobbies.
News & Awards
Skadden was instrumental in the formation of the Law Firm Antiracism Alliance, a group of 240 firms committed to combatting racial injustice in partnership with legal services organizations by dedicating pro bono resources to initiatives addressing systemic racism.
On behalf of two Dutch subsidiaries of NextEra, Skadden obtained the affirmance of the largest-ever investment treaty award against Spain in the renewable energy sector.
In one of the most anticipated antitrust rulings of the last decade, Skadden represented Sprint in successfully defending a challenge brought by the attorneys general of 13 states and the District of Columbia attempting to block the $59 billion acquisition of Sprint by T-Mobile.
Skadden represented Worldpay, Inc., a leading international e-commerce and payment technology company, in its $43 billion merger with Fidelity National Information Services, Inc.
- DuPont in its $130 billion merger with Dow Chemical (one of history’s largest mergers), including securing clearance by the DOJ and approvals from the EU, China’s Ministry of Commerce, and several other jurisdictions.
- Johnson & Johnson in successfully defending against $5 billion in damages claims in a suit claiming the company’s baby powder caused ovarian cancer.
- Xiaomi in its $5.4 billion IPO and listing on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange—the first-ever Hong Kong offering to adopt a dual-class share structure and the first to list under a new regime for innovative technology companies.
- SunEdison, one of the world’s largest renewable energy developers, in its Chapter 11 case and successful emergence from bankruptcy.
- Global M&A Deal of the Year, 2019—The American Lawyer Industry Awards (2019) - Skadden served as counsel to Twenty-First Century Fox, Inc. in its $71.3 billion acquisition by the Walt Disney Company.
- The BTI Fearsome Foursome (Skadden’s ninth consecutive time being named) and Powerhouse for Securities and Finance Litigation—2019, BTI Consulting Group. Skadden is the only firm named to both lists in every edition of the BTI Litigation Outlook.
- Named a 2019 Law360 Firm of the Year for receiving Practice Group of the Year awards in six categories: Benefits, Energy, Mergers & Acquisitions, Securities, Sports & Betting, and Tax
- Most Transatlantic Legal Awards for the third year in a row as chosen by The American Lawyer and Legal Week in June 2019. Skadden received awards for Transatlantic Antitrust Team of the Year, Transatlantic Investigations Team of the Year and Transatlantic Restructuring Team of the Year.
- Law Firm of the Year for Mergers and Acquisitions Litigation and for Securities Litigation, 2020—U.S. News - Best Lawyers
Why Work Here
Located in 22 financial capitals across the globe, – Skadden attorneys advise our clients on many of their most important and complex matters, the types of deals and cases that earn headlines, move markets and shape the law.
Working on such significant matters will accelerate your development, placing you ahead of the curve by preparing you with the breadth of knowledge necessary to understand clients' business strategies and find solutions to their most challenging legal dilemmas. The experience gained and impact made at Skadden will create ripple effects that will last your entire career. Let's begin to carve your path.
One Manhattan West
New York, NY 10001-8602
Phone: (212) 735-3000
Executive Partner: Eric J. Friedman
Hiring Partner: Gavin A. White
Total No. Attorneys 2020:
1.5K - 2K
No. of Partners Named 2020:
1st year: $190,000
2nd year: $200,000
3rd year: $220,000
4th year: $255,000
5th year: $280,000
6th year: $305,000
7th year: $325,000
8th year: $340,000
Summer associate: $3,700/week
1L Scholar: $3,700/week
Senior Attorney Recruiting Manager
No. of U.S. Offices: 8
No. of International Offices: 14
Los Angeles, CA
New York, NY (HQ)
Palo Alto, CA
Wilmington, DE | Beijing
Energy and Infrastructure Projects
Executive Compensation and Benefits
Government Enforcement and White Collar Crime
Intellectual Property and Technology
Intellectual Property Litigation
International Litigation and Arbitration
Labor and Employment Law
Mass Torts, Insurance, and Consumer Litigation
Mergers and Acquisitions
*See firm website for complete list of practice areas and industries.