Anna

The 50 Best Law Firms for Women

Click here to go straight to the list.

Flex-Time Lawyers and Working Mother Magazine have just released a ranking of "The 50 Best Law Firms for Women." It is the September cover story of WMM. You can download PDFs of the press release and two articles at Debbie Henry's website: Young, Gifted and Leaving, and Making Partner.

I wanted to get this news item posted for y'all ASAP, so I will be back to post some more when I have read through the methodology. Meanwhile, I have a couple of comments based on what Debbie has told me in the past few months.

This is a ranking of large firms with 100 50+ employees. As Susan Carter Liebel and Carolyn Elefant emphasize, please don't forget to consider the alternatives of putting up your own shingle in a solo practice or going to work at a smaller regional firm. That is another significant way to find a different quality of life as a lawyer in private practice.

[More after the jump]

The survey aggregates data from the several offices of each firm. Lots of these big firms have offices in DC, New York, Chicago, San Francisco, etc. The culture of each office can vary considerably, in terms of what is expected from junior and senior associates. These variations are not reflected in the rankings. Just something to keep in mind and ask around about if you're job-hunting.

Firms participated in this ranking on a voluntary basis, providing quantitative data not collected by NALP (the National Association of Legal Practitioners) or other oft-used sources. If you work at a large firm that is doing something right to keep you there, and it's not on the list, please tell us in the comments! It is not immediately clear how many firms participated (I'll keep investigating). Especially since the firms are not ranked within the alphabetical list of the "top 50," being named to the list will mean a lot more if 200 firms participated than if only 75 did.

It would be great if we could publicize this (or some other) ranking enough, with enough positive feedback for employers that do things well, to put pressure on employers to want to participate--to compete--and show improvement from year to year. If you have ideas about how to do this, please share! Or come work on them at Ms. JD--this is exactly the kind of project we want to throw our resources behind.

Speaking of other rankings, there is another "top firms for women" list coming out in about two weeks (or so I am told) from a consortium of five highly ranked law schools. I'll be curious to see how the methods and data sources--and of course the results--compare. You can definitely check back here for those results.

THE 2007 WORKING MOTHER & FLEX-TIME LAWYERS BEST LAW FIRMS FOR WOMEN

ALSTON & BIRD, Atlanta, GA
ARMSTRONG TEASDALE, St. Louis, MO
ARNOLD & PORTER, Washington, DC
BAKER & DANIELS, Indianapolis, IN
BAKER & MCKENZIE, Chicago, IL
BINGHAM MCCUTCHEN, Boston, MA
BLACKWELL SANDERS, Kansas City, MO
BRYAN CAVE, St. Louis, MO
CHAPMAN AND CUTLER, Chicago, IL
COVINGTON & BURLING, Washington, DC
CRAVATH, SWAINE & MOORE, New York, NY
DEBEVOISE & PLIMPTON, New York, NY
DICKSTEIN SHAPIRO, Washington, DC
DLA PIPER US, New York, NY
DORSEY & WHITNEY, Minneapolis, MN
DUANE MORRIS, Philadelphia, PA
ECKERT SEAMANS CHERIN & MELLOTT, Pittsburgh, PA
FARELLA BRAUN + MARTEL, San Francisco, CA
FOLEY & LARDNER, Milwaukee, WI
FOLGER LEVIN & KAHN, San Francisco, CA
GIBBONS P.C., Newark, NJ
HELLER EHRMAN, San Francisco, CA
HOGAN & HARTSON, Washington, DC
HOLLAND & KNIGHT, New York, NY
HOWREY, Washington, DC
HUNTON & WILLIAMS, Richmond, VA
ICE MILLER, Indianapolis, IN
KATTEN MUCHIN ROSENMAN, Chicago, IL
KING & SPALDING, Atlanta, GA
KIRKLAND & ELLIS, Chicago, IL
KIRKPATRICK & LOCKHART PRESTON GATES ELLIS, Pittsburgh, PA
KRAMER LEVIN NAFTALIS & FRANKEL, New York, NY
MANATT, PHELPS & PHILLIPS, Los Angeles, CA
MAYER, BROWN, ROWE & MAW, Chicago, IL
MCDERMOTT WILL & EMERY, Chicago, IL
MCGUIREWOODS, Richmond, VA
MILLER & CHEVALIER CHARTERED, Washington, DC
MINTZ LEVIN COHN FERRIS GLOVSKY AND POPEO, Boston, MA
MORRISON & FOERSTER, San Francisco, CA
ORRICK, HERRINGTON & SUTCLIFFE, New York, NY
PATTON BOGGS, Washington, DC
PAUL, WEISS, RIFKIND, WHARTON & GARRISON, New York, NY
PILLSBURY WINTHROP SHAW PITTMAN, New York, NY
REED SMITH, Pittsburgh, PA
SIDLEY AUSTIN, Chicago, IL
SKADDEN, ARPS, SLATE, MEAGHER & FLOM, New York, NY
SONNENSCHEIN NATH & ROSENTHAL, Chicago, IL
WHITE & CASE, New York, NY
WILMERHALE, Washington, DC
WOMBLE CARLYLE SANDRIDGE & RICE, Winston-Salem, NC



Anna Lorien Nelson is a student at Yale Law and Vice President of Ms. JD. You can read more of her blog posts or email her anytime.

3 Comments

Becca

According to this article in the New York Law Journal, 200 law firms participated in the survey which consisted of 600 questions divided among six sections: workplace profile, benefits and compensation, parental leave, child care, retention and promotion of women, and schedule flexibility.
A comparison of the firms on this list to those on the Vault prestige rankings, diversity rankings, and quality of life rankings presents a few noticeable gaps. Certainly the methodology for each survey is quite different but I can't help but wonder whether any particular firm's absence on the WMM list is due to a failure to participate or simply a failure to make the top 50 cut. Beyond that, I can't decide which option I might consider worse - I suppose I have a great deal of respect for those firms that opted to participate (hopefully a reflection of their commitment to this issue). I hope that more firms will participate in the future (though I must say, 200 is a great start!!) allowing this survey to promote change where it is needed.

Kalokagathia

Here is another article from law.com about the list and some of the methodology behind it

rhoebe

Most everyone agrees that the law firm business model is dead, but there is little consensus on how to fix it. The result might be less emphasis in law firms on individual performance and more on team, practice and firm performance. tampa lawyer

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