Subha Barry, Working Mother Media. ()
Working Mother magazine on Tuesday unveiled its 10th annual list of the “Best Law Firms for Women,” based on a survey of about 100 firms that applied for consideration.
Expect the 51 law firms that made the list to tout their inclusion in recruitment and other marketing materials.
“It is an honor for Littler to be recognized for the eighth year by Working Mother,” Tom Bender and Jeremy Roth, co-managing directors of Littler Mendelson, said in a statement. “We take pride in cultivating a supportive working environment that not only attracts and retains talented female attorneys, but encourages their success.” Reed Smith put out a similar statement on the firm’s sixth consecutive appearance on the list, saying it was “honored to be once again recognized for our commitment to ensuring that women are afforded equal opportunity for advancement and success in the legal profession—and at our firm in particular.”
But in general, law firms have made little progress on gender parity issues in the decade since Working Mother first compiled its list, said Subha Barry, who oversaw the survey this year.
It’s been “glacial,” said Barry, a senior vice president and managing director of Working Mother Media.
“We do the survey, but the law firms have to do the work,” Barry said.
Mostly, she suggested, they haven’t. “It is really disheartening,” she said.
The magazine selects the “best” law firms based on several factors, including number of women equity partners, workplace flexibility rules and maternity and paternity policies.
The average percentage of equity partners who are women among Working Mother’s honorees increased only four points in the last 10 years, from 16 to 20 percent. And that percentage didn’t change at all since the last survey.
The percentage of women who are nonequity partnerships has grown more, rising from 22 to 30 percent on average in the last decade.
The “best” firms also increased the number of weeks offered for maternity leave by an average of one week, to 16 weeks.
In order to appear on Working Mother’s list, law firms completed an “extensive application” about the demographics of their lawyers and their workplace rules, Barry said. Only firms that applied were eligible to appear on the list, and not all Am Law 100 firms applied.
One of the winning firms this year, Norton Rose Fulbright, had also appeared on the last year list. In between, the firm merged with Chadbourne & Parke, which is facing a $100 million proposed gender bias class action by female partners who say the firm discriminated against them. This month a judge agreed to add Norton Rose Fulbright as a defendant. (A spokesman for Norton Rose didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.)
For the first time this year, Working Mother sought help in spreading the word about the significance of its survey from the ABA Journal of the American Bar Association.
Working Mother will host a gathering in October to honor the firms that appear on its list, and to offer them a treat: visits with general counsel from Working Mother’s roster of the 100 best companies for women. According to Barry, those GCs will tell the firms what they hope to see from their outside lawyers in terms of promoting women in the profession.
“Ultimately, we want to be driving solutions,” Barry said.
See below for the full list of firms named by Working Mother this year:
• Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer
• Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz
• Baker McKenzie
• Blank Rome
• Chapman and Cutler
• Crowell & Moring
• Davis Wright Tremaine
• Dentons US
• DLA Piper
• Dorsey & Whitney
• Drinker Biddle & Reath
• Faegre Baker Daniels
• Finnegan, Henderson, Farabow, Garrett & Dunner
• Fisher & Phillips
• Foley & Lardner
• Fox Rothschild
• Frankfurt Kurnit Klein & Selz
• Fredrikson & Byron
• Goodwin Procter
• Gray Plant Mooty
• Hanson Bridgett
• Hogan Lovells
• Holland & Hart
• Hunton & Williams
• Husch Blackwell
• Ice Miller
• Katten Muchin Rosenman
• King & Spalding
• Kirkland & Ellis
• Latham & Watkins
• Lindquist & Vennum
• Littler Mendelson
• Manatt, Phelps & Phillips
• McDermott Will & Emery
• Morrison & Foerster
• Norton Rose Fulbright
• O’Melveny & Myers
• Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe
• Perkins Coie
• Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman
• Quarles & Brady
• Reed Smith
• Schiff Hardin
• Seyfarth Shaw
• Shook, Hardy & Bacon
• Sidley Austin
• Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr
• Winston & Strawn