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Law Firms Hold Tight to Their Slots on Annual 'Best Companies' List'Fortune's list of the best workplaces in America features five major law firms -- the same five lauded in last year's list
Five law firms were included in Fortune magazine's annual "100 Best Companies to Work For" list, the publication announced Tuesday. The firms -- Alston & Bird; Arnold & Porter; Bingham McCutchen; Nixon Peabody; and Perkins Coie -- were the same five firms that made the list last year, and each firm has been on the list for at least three straight years. The firms were recognized, in part, for their diversity, pay and benefits, such as fully paid sabbaticals.
The Recorder2008-01-23 12:00:00 AM
Five law firms were included in Fortune magazine's annual "100 Best Companies to Work For" list, the publication announced Tuesday.
The firms -- Alston & Bird; Arnold & Porter; Bingham McCutchen; Nixon Peabody; and Perkins Coie -- were the same five firms that made the list last year. This will be Alston & Bird's ninth consecutive year on the list, according to that firm's Web site, and each firm has been on the list for at least three straight years.
"What gets us on the list is the sense that ... every person has a stake in our success," said Bingham McCutchen Chairman Jay Zimmerman. "It's wonderful to be recognized."
Perkins and Alston offer fully paid sabbaticals. Bingham and Arnold were ranked highly for diversity -- minorities make up about one-third of the employees at each firm.
Despite his firm's positive ranking, Zimmerman said, "We're certainly not fully satisfied with where we are, even if we're at a fairly strong position competitively."
While women make up at least half of all employees at each of the named firms, Bingham led the field with a ratio of two women to every man.
Of the 100 companies, law firms were the best-compensating. Of the top seven by pay, only the fourth and sixth spots did not go to law firms. Bingham topped the list with an average annual pay of $211,017 for associates.
Several firms said they plan to celebrate being ranked.
"There's always time for a party," said Paul Schrier, managing partner of Nixon's San Francisco office. "It's a good place to work, come on!"
He added that it doesn't take recognition like this to create an occasion.
"We celebrate by talking to our people every day," he said. "There's nothing like personal, one-on-one encouragement."
Perkins Coie is the only law firm -- and one of 21 companies -- on the list to pay 100 percent of employees' health care premiums.
Being ranked may help firms looking to grow, said Chuck Fanning, a San Francisco-based partner with the recruiting firm Major, Lindsey & Africa.
"To be recognized within the legal segment as one of a small number of firms that's considered one of the best companies to work for is potentially a significant recruiting tool," he said.
He noted, though, that the rankings include all staff. "We're not really just talking about lawyers here." Thus, recruits might not find the general praise of Fortune magazine to be a specific portrait of a lawyer's work environment.
Regardless, doing right by employees matters more than making the list, said John "Jay" Rossiter, managing partner of Perkins Coie's San Francisco office.
"What's important is what we do here," he said. "Being on the list is just the icing on the cake. It is a nice pat on the back."