The Vault rankings are out, in case you were wondering where a particular firm measures up in the eyes of other attorneys.
Eight of the top ten firms are New York-based. From what I hear working in New York is miserable beyond description, but that could be my West Coast bias coming through. But still, screw New York.
The firm from whence I came is not in the Top Ten. It's also not hovering around the 9-13 area like my law school tends to do. It's buried firmly in the recesses of the latter tens, apparently on the decline from last year.
The Vault survey that yields this thing asks attorneys questions about their own firms, and then asks them what they think the most prestigious firms are. That, apparently, is the meat and potatoes of the prestige rankings, which are driven entirely by image rather than any objective criteria. There are plenty of other rankings out there that do take a more empirical approach. The Am Law 100/200 ranks firms based solely on profits. The American Lawyer "A-List" ranks firms based on revenue, pro bono activity, associate satisfaction(!), and diversity. So, unlike U.S. News, Vault isn't the final word on ordered goodness.
The Vault survey also gives attorneys an opportunity to provide comments about law firms, some of which are reproduced in the printed version of the guide. Two that stick in my mind from the free copy I got as a 2L were "Macho sweatshop" and "B-Team." I won't say which firm(s) those referred to.