Vault.com’s Top 50 Firms — Six Years Later

While cleaning out our bookshelves we ran across Vault.com’s Guide to the Top 50 Law Firms — from 2000. So we thought it would be interesting to see how Vault’s picks are holding up six years later.

The answer is surprisingly well — though, in hindsight, with a few amusing gaffes.

Vault’s 2000 Top 10 picks remain mainstays of the Am Law 100, and almost all of its top 50 picks remain healthy and thriving. Almost.

Checking in as Vault’s 24th most prestigious law firm in 2000 was Brobeck, Phleger & Harrison, which would famously collapse and dissolve two years later . In a section marked The Buzz, Brobeck is credited with “riding the tech boom to great heights” but with being “sloppy.” An unnamed Brobeck attorney told Vault that “the firm is managed like a business, and I mean that in a positive way.”

Thirteen places down, ranked as the 37th most presitigious firm in the country, was Venture Law Group. The Notable Perks at VLG included “home computer with high-speed connection.” The Buzz was “entrepreneurial” and “a new model for the business of law,” but also “Will it last?” T he answer came three years later when, squeezed by the recession, VLG merged into Heller Ehrman.

Not making the top 50 but included in “Best of the Rest” was Testa, Hurwitz & Thibeault. The Buzz was “bold mover,” “Show me the $$$$!” and “exponential growth but unclear what will happen when the dot-com craze ends.” The firm did survive the tech bust, but not the untimely death of chairman Dick Testa, and closed its doors in January 2005.

— Scott Graham

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