A survey by GradAustralia identified the 100 employers that most recent graduates in Australia nominated as an ideal first employer.
Herbert Smith Freehills was the highest-ranking firm in the legal sector, coming in at number 17.
By contrast, the major audit firms – Deloitte, Ernst & Young, PwC and KPMG – all came in the top 10, at places two, four, five and six respectively.
These firms are increasingly pushing into the legal sector, with PwC recently publicising its intention to grow its legal team further.
The government sector also ranked highly on graduates' wish lists, with DFAT, the Department of Education and Training, the Department of Social Services and the Australian Defence Force all ranking ahead of the first law firm.
Nonetheless, law firms were well-represented in the top 100, particularly top-tier national and global players.
King & Wood Mallesons was ranked at 25, Allens at 35, Minter Ellison at 47, Clatyon Utz at 52, Ashurst at 66, Corrs Chambers Westgarth at 71, and DLA Piper at 92.
The most popular employer overall proved to be Google Australia.
More than 6,000 students completed the GradAustralia survey.
Awards to sector winners – including Herbert Smith Freehills for legal – were presented Christopher Pyne MP, Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science, at an awards ceremony last night.