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Annual Legal Study Ranks Top 25 Law Firms in the United States
Directors and General Counsel Rank America’s Top Corporate Law Firms for 2012

West Palm Beach, Fla., and New York, N.Y., May 10, 2012Corporate Board Member magazine and global business advisory firm FTI Consulting, Inc. (NYSE: FCN ) today announced the results of the 12th annual America’s Best Corporate Law Firms study, a comprehensive ranking by U.S. corporate directors and general counsel of the top 25 national corporate law firms.

According to the 2012 study, New York’s Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom receives top ranking among corporate directors, a position it has held since the advent of the survey in 2001. New York-based Cravath, Swaine & Moore and Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz were next in line, respectively, followed by fourth placed Jones Day of Washington, D.C. The fifth and sixth place rankings are held by Sullivan & Cromwell and Weil, Gotshal & Manges, respectively, both of New York. Each of these top six firms appeared in one of the top six places among last year’s rankings as well.

Further down the list, many of the 2012 firms remain steadfast among the top firms in recent years. Los Angeles-based Latham & Watkins enjoys an elevated status, rising to eighth place from 15th. Additionally, several firms ranked in previous years reappear on the 2012 list: Arnold & Porter of Washington, D.C.; San Francisco-based Morrison & Foerster; and the New York firm White & Case.

“FTI Consulting is pleased to partner again with Corporate Board Member on this reputable industry study, which salutes the impressive achievements of the nation’s top-performing law firms,” said Neal Hochberg, Senior Managing Director and Global Leader of the FTI Consulting Forensic and Litigation Consulting practice. “Each of these distinguished firms, many of which continue to top this list year after year, has been recognized as an industry leader for strong corporate stewardship and commitment to providing outstanding client service. We applaud all of the firms that have been named in this year’s ranking, including Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, which leads the pack for the 11th year in a row.”

In a separate survey of corporate general counsel, Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom once again leads the top 25 rankings, followed by Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz and Cravath, Swaine & Moore in second and third places, respectively, all based in New York City, mirroring findings from the past two years. In addition, the Washington, D.C., firm of Jones Day leaped to the number five position from 12th place last year. The 2012 list also features several firms not listed last year, including K&L Gates (Pittsburgh); Arnold & Porter (Washington, D.C.); and Mayer Brown (Chicago).

“This year, we welcome back some familiar names and congratulate all the organizations selected as a top corporate law firm by directors and their general counsel,” said TK Kerstetter, President of Corporate Board Member. “These firms have established themselves as industry leaders, many of them year after year, by their exceptional contribution to the corporate community.”

The following are the top 25 national corporate law firms for 2012, according to the corporate directors surveyed by Corporate Board Member/FTI Consulting (with their 2011 ranking in parentheses):

1. Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, New York (1)

2. Cravath, Swaine & Moore, New York (2)

3. Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz, New York (3)

4. Jones Day, Washington, D.C. (5)

5. Sullivan & Cromwell, New York (4)

6. Weil, Gotshal & Manges, New York (6)

7. Baker & McKenzie, Chicago (7)

8. Latham & Watkins, Los Angeles (15)

9. Kirkland & Ellis, Chicago (9)

10. Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, Los Angeles (11)

11. Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison, New York (8)

12. Davis Polk & Wardwell, New York (10)

13. Fulbright & Jaworski, Houston (12)

14. Sidley Austin, New York (18)

15. Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, Palo Alto (14)

16. Shearman & Sterling, New York (13)

17. Simpson Thacher & Bartlett, New York (16)

18. Arnold & Porter, Washington, D.C. (-)

19. Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld, Washington, D.C. (17)

20. Baker Botts, Houston (25)

21. Morrison & Foerster, San Francisco (-)

22. King & Spalding, Atlanta (24)

23. O’Melveny & Myers, Los Angeles (23)

24. Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson, New York (19)

25. White & Case, New York City (-)

Source: Corporate Board Member/FTI Consulting

The following are the top 25 national corporate law firms for 2012, ranked according to general counsel surveyed by Corporate Board Member/FTI Consulting (with their 2011 ranking in parentheses):

1. Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, New York (1)

2. Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz, New York (2)

3. Cravath, Swaine & Moore, New York (3)

4. Latham & Watkins, Los Angeles (4)

5. Jones Day, Washington, D.C. (12)

6. Sullivan & Cromwell, New York (10)

7. Davis Polk & Wardwell, New York (6)

8. Weil, Gotshal & Manges, New York (7)

9. Sidley Austin, New York (8)

10. Kirkland & Ellis, Chicago (9)

11. Baker & McKenzie, Chicago (13)

12. Simpson Thacher & Bartlett, New York (11)

13. Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, Los Angeles (5)

14. DLA Piper, Atlanta (16)

15. Shearman & Sterling, New York (19)

16. K&L Gates, Pittsburgh (-)

17. Covington & Burling, Washington, D.C. (15)

18. Morgan Lewis & Bockius, Philadelphia (24)

19. Fulbright & Jaworski, Houston (25)

20. Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, Palo Alto (22)

21. Arnold & Porter, Washington, D.C. (-)

22. Mayer Brown, Chicago (-)

23. Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton, New York (14)

24. Hogan Lovells, Washington, D.C. (17)

25. Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld, Washington, D.C. (23)

Source: Corporate Board Member/FTI Consulting

The survey was mailed in January 2012 and also asked corporate directors and general counsel of U.S. publicly traded companies to weigh in on current governance matters. Across the board, directors and general counsel were adamant about their dislike of the whistleblower provision in the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, which rewards employees who go directly to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission with allegations of fraud or company malfeasance. A broader analysis of these results will be featured in a special supplement sponsored by FTI Consulting that will be included with the third quarter 2012 issue of Corporate Board Member.

In addition to naming the top 25 corporate law firms nationally, the Corporate Board Member/FTI Consulting study identifies the top law firm in 25 major U.S. metropolitan areas, according to the corporate directors and general counsel polled. A complete listing of the top national corporate law firms according to corporate directors and general counsel and the metropolitan rankings appear in the second quarter 2012 issue of the magazine and are available at www.boardmember.com/currentissue.aspx.

On May 8, Corporate Board Member and FTI Consulting hosted the fifth annual Legal Recognition Dinner at the Grand Hyatt in New York City, honoring distinguished general counsel and the top 25 national corporate law firms as identified by corporate directors and general counsel in the 2012 survey.

About Corporate Board Member

Corporate Board Member, an NYSE Euronext company, is the leading information resource for senior officers and directors of publicly traded corporations, large private companies and Global 1000 firms. The quarterly publication, Corporate Board Member magazine, provides readers with decision-making tools to deal with the strategic and corporate governance challenges confronting their boards. Corporate Board Member further extends its governance leadership through an online resource center, conferences, roundtables and timely research. The magazine maintains the most comprehensive, up-to-date database of directors and officers serving on boards of publicly traded companies listed with NYSE Euronext and The NASDAQ OMX Group, Inc. stock exchanges. www.boardmember.com 

About FTI Consulting

FTI Consulting, Inc. is a global business advisory firm dedicated to helping organizations protect and enhance enterprise value in an increasingly complex legal, regulatory and economic environment. With more than 3,800 employees located in 24 countries, FTI Consulting professionals work closely with clients to anticipate, illuminate and overcome complex business challenges in areas such as investigations, litigation, mergers and acquisitions, regulatory issues, reputation management, strategic communications and restructuring. The company generated $1.56 billion in revenues during fiscal year 2011. More information can be found at www.fticonsulting.com.

 

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Media Contacts:                                           
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Stephanie Clark
Corporate Board Member
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sclark@boardmember.com