Working Mother magazine and women-focused consulting firm Flex-Time Lawyers announced their list of the 2012 Best Law Firms for Women on Tuesday. The firms feature family-friendly policies and initiatives that help advance and retain women lawyers. The extensive application for consideration included subjects such as child care, time off and compensation.

“Nearly one third of women lawyers leave the legal workforce, independent of maternity leave,” Carol Evans, president of Working Mother Media, said in a statement. “The Working Mother and Flex-Time Lawyers 50 Best Law Firms for Women are leading the way to create new models for the rest of the profession in promoting women and developing more generous work life policies.”

Even within the realm of the Best Law Firms for Women, things are improving. Female lawyers hold 21 percent of the 2012 winners’ executive committee seats, compared with 19 percent in 2011.

In an opinion column for Working Mother, Flex-Time Lawyers President Deborah Epstein Henry wrote that flexible schedules and a focus on work-life balance are essential to keep women lawyers on the leadership track.

“Men and women must be educated about the different career paths available to them, what each entails and the risks and trade-offs of their potential choice,” Epstein Henry writes. “Law firms and companies must be vigilant that women are not being steered into ‘mommy’ tracks that minimize their opportunities to reach leadership positions and equity partner status or gain equal compensation and business development credit. “

Some of the law firms named as 2012 winners include:

  • Baker & McKenzie
  • Bradley Arant Boult Cummings
  • Cooley
  • Crowell & Moring
  • Goodwin Procter
  • Hogan Lovells
  • Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton
  • Littler Mendelson
  • Perkins Coie
  • Schiff Hardin

See the full list of winners here, and a summary of key findings here.


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