Our annual A-List ranking has always aimed to 
highlight the most well-rounded firms—the best of the best, if you will. On this list, profits don’t reign supreme, nor does size. Since its inception, the A-List has recognized firms based on a combination of factors, both financial and cultural: revenue per lawyer, pro bono commitment, associate satisfaction and racial diversity, with RPL and pro bono given double weight.

But the scoring didn’t take into account gender diversity at law firms—an area where many firms still struggle. We felt it was important to honor the firms that have made the most progress in advancing women in the partnership ranks. Although women now make up almost half of all associates at large firms—46 percent, according to our sibling publication The National Law Journal—their numbers still drop off drastically at more senior levels. The NLJ reports that only 21.8 percent of all Big Law partners are female. We debated whether to use those general partnership statistics for the basis of a new A-List metric—but decided that the number of women in equity partnership ranks was the true acid test.

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