The 2017 Working Mother 50 Best Law Firms for Women | Working Mother

The 2017 Working Mother 50 Best Law Firms for Women

Honoring the firms that encourage women to rise to the top.

Lawyer

The Best Law Firms all feature flexible work options like remote work and reduced hours.

Photo: iStock

Congrats to the 2017 Working Mother 50 Best Law Firms for Women! For a decade, Working Mother has recognized U.S. law firms that create and use best practices in retaining and promoting women lawyers. Among this year's winning firms, women make up an average of 20 percent of all equity partners, and they hold over a quarter of the seats on both the executive and the finance committees. The following profiles of the Best Law Firms for Women detail how well women are represented in the partnership of each firm and highlight benefits offered for parents.

Click here to read the Executive Summary for aggregated data on the 2017 Working Mother Best Law Firms for Women. One key takeaway: The winning firms lead the industry in offering generous parental leave benefits and support flexible work arrangements. That's because flexible hours, reduced hours and the option to work from home, just to name a few, make it far easier for moms (and dads!) to remain in the profession. Click here to read our feature on the state of flexible work at our Best Law Firms and what firms can do to increase the number of women equity partners.

Is your law firm a Best Law Firm for Women? Register today for our 2018 initiative to find out!


EQUITY PARTNERS = Equity partners who are women

NONEQUITY PARTNERS = Nonequity partners who are women

Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer
★Washington, DC
Equity Partners 20%
Nonequity Partners N/A
Combining career and family can be done seamlessly at this firm, which covers up to $30,000 in fertility treatments for its attorneys, and offers lengthy paid parental leave, on-site childcare and reduced-hour arrangements. Coaching, mentoring and leadership programs help women flourish.

Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz
★National
Equity Partners 18%
Nonequity Partners 36%
The Women’s Initiative at this firm helps attorneys attract executive backing, build books of business and pursue work-life balance (using flex options and a new parental-leave policy). Women were 50% of those promoted to equity partner in 2016, versus 25% in 2015.

Baker McKenzie
★National
Equity Partners 21%
Nonequity Partners 34%
Gender equality is “a business issue” for this firm, says global chair Paul Rawlinson; to support it, management runs a women’s initiative, sets targets around female advancement, and addresses issues of diversity and inclusion in key meetings. Flex schedules were recently formalized.

Blank Rome
★National
Equity Partners 9%
Nonequity Partners 30%
Nearly every practice group here has a female leader (or vice leader); in 2016, 71% of promotions to nonequity partner went to women. Primary caregivers get up to 18 fully paid weeks off and can utilize 15 to 55 days of subsidized backup care annually.

Chapman and Cutler
★Chicago, IL
Equity Partners 20%
Nonequity Partners 37%
Working flexibly is emphasized here. Attorneys on the partnership track can operate remotely, adjust their schedules, or reduce their hours as much as 40%. Caregivers have access to a parenting group, 30 days of backup care per year and $2,500 in adoption aid per child.

Cooley
★National
Equity Partners 22%
Nonequity Partners N/A
To ensure that its attorneys use alternative work arrangements, this firm recently upgraded its options and appointed an impartial party to vet requests (increasing uptake among women). Primary-caregiver leave is 20 weeks; health coaching and concierge services are available.

Crowell & Moring
★Washington, DC
Equity Partners 20%
Nonequity Partners 27%
Sponsorship improves the odds that female attorneys at this firm will make equity partner; management helps them enhance their relationships with clients and obtain leadership roles. “Balanced” hours arrangements allow many to cut back on work without losing opportunities.

Davis Wright Tremaine
★Seattle, WA
Equity Partners 24%
Nonequity Partners 25%
Monthly peer mentoring circles hosted by this firm’s women’s network help attorneys manage their careers and advocate for themselves. The Flexible Schedule Attorney Affinity Group clarifies for everyone the specifics involved in maintaining customized work arrangements.

Dentons US
★National
Equity Partners 18%
Nonequity Partners 23%
Before they make equity partner, many women here practice developing clients in the Preparing for Rain rainmaking program. Others discover their strengths in the firm’s women’s initiative and sponsorship sessions. Parenting groups, coaching, mentoring and 18 weeks’ leave await moms.

DLA Piper
★National
Equity Partners 20%
Nonequity Partners N/A
This firm’s Flexible Work Solutions coordinator briefs employees on scheduling options, helps them apply for arrangements, and monitors their workloads. The Leadership Alliance for Women Steering Committee engages attorneys with intriguing lectures, development programs and summits.

Dorsey & Whitney
★Minneapolis, MN
Equity Partners 21%
Nonequity Partners 31%
Good advice transforms women’s careers here. Senior female associates are guided by partners as they build networks and strengthen relationships; members of the Newly Minted Female Partner group share strategies for equity partner promotion. In 2016, 16% of female partners worked reduced hours.

Drinker Biddle & Reath
★National
Equity Partners 22%
Nonequity Partners 20%
When it comes to moving forward, competence matters more than billable hours at this firm, which supports reduced schedules, provides technology and assistance to remote workers, and allows attorneys to take their parental leave in increments. Women are 33% of all managing partners.

Faegre Baker Daniels
★National
Equity Partners 20%
Nonequity Partners 38%
Making the path to advancement clear to attorneys (as this firm does with its associate career model) inspires women here: In 2016, they earned 68% of equity partner promotions. Flex schedules, backup care and lactation services serve moms.

Finnegan, Henderson, Farabow, Garrett & Dunner
★Washington, DC
Equity Partners 21%
Nonequity Partners 34%
“Powerful” aptly describes the women at this firm, who chair $13 million cases, comprise 50% of regional office managing partners, and lead the biggest practice group. Its Women’s Forum hosts flex panels; attorneys working 60% time earn full benefits.

Fisher Phillips
★National
Equity Partners 18%
Nonequity Partners 36%
Career flexibility is prized by this firm; its one-year OnRamp Fellowship helps attorneys who’ve taken significant time off to shore up their skills, contacts and experience. The in-house Women’s Initiative and Leadership Council aligns employees with mentors and addresses work-life balance.

Foley & Lardner
★National
Equity Partners 13%
Nonequity Partners 24%
Mindfulness training, alternative schedules and generous leaves help female attorneys at this firm beat stress. Its National Women’s Network provides educational programming, mentoring circles, development grants and a speaker series. Moms benefit from a parents’ network and coaching program.

Fox Rothschild
★National
Equity Partners 20%
Nonequity Partners 31%
Giving attorneys an intranet-connected laptop or tablet and allowing them to work from anywhere—as this firm began doing in 2016—makes face time less necessary; some even telecommute full-time. Partnership prep programs help increase promotions for women.

Frankfurt Kurnit Klein & Selz
★New York, NY
Equity Partners 38%
Nonequity Partners 33%
Numbers tell the story at this firm: Women hold 75% of spots on the management committee, serve as 67% of those chairing (or co-chairing) practice groups, and represent 38% of equity partners. Even more impressive: The majority are moms; many have several kids.

Fredrikson & Byron
★Minneapolis, MN
Equity Partners 35%
Nonequity Partners N/A
Business-development activities drive success at this firm. Its Counsel for Women initiative brings together attorneys with potential clients, and sponsors leadership programs, networking events and award ceremonies. Maternity leave is fully paid for 14 weeks (up from 12 in 2015).

Goodwin
★National
Equity Partners 17%
Nonequity Partners 35%
“Reason blind” approvals make flex schedules more accessible here; coaching and mentoring are available. Sponsorship initiatives, career development programs and dedicated networks help women advance. Perks include 18 fully paid weeks of primary-caregiver leave and $5,000 in adoption/surrogacy aid.

Gray Plant Mooty
★Minneapolis, MN
Equity Partners 29%
Nonequity Partners N/A
Managing partner Sarah Duniway isn’t the only prominent woman here: Female attorneys chair 50% of practice groups and fill 33% of board seats. Telecommuting and remote work options help many manage their responsibilities; new attorney parents get 16 fully paid weeks off.

Hanson Bridgett
★San Francisco, CA
Equity Partners 37%
Nonequity Partners 26%
Staying mobile is easy at this firm, which allows its attorneys (72% of whom are parents) to work from home or “hoteling” offices as needed; at least 16% also work less than a full-time load. On-site yoga classes, meditation sessions and chair massages promote relaxation.

Hogan Lovells
★Washington, DC
Equity Partners 23%
Nonequity Partners 27%
Superlative training, thoughtful mentoring and an active women’s network serve female attorneys here. All partners attend unconscious bias courses; audits evaluate women’s participation on teams and in the pipeline. New: unlimited vacation and 20 weeks’ fully paid maternity and adoption leave.

Holland & Hart
★Denver, CO
Equity Partners 27%
Nonequity Partners 47%
Attorneys can choose when and where they work here “as long as client needs are being met”; formal telecommuting arrangements and frequent videoconferencing encourage going remote. The Women’s Forum Steering Committee researches and writes policies for the firm that aid female attorneys.

Hunton & Williams
★National
Equity Partners 18%
Nonequity Partners N/A
Want kids? Moms who work here encounter great maternity leave, phase-back options and $5,000 in adoption aid (per child), plus concierge services and backup care. Flex schedules have been available for more than two decades; an on-ramp/off-ramp program lets attorneys step away for five years.

Husch Blackwell
★National
Equity Partners 14%
Nonequity Partners 27%
Teamwork and client service are valued more highly than origination credit (for bringing in business) by this firm, which can benefit women; a sponsorship pilot, business-development coaching and leadership training help many advance. Flex users trade advice in dedicated affinity groups and mentoring sessions.

Ice Miller
★Indianapolis, IN
Equity Partners 23%
Nonequity Partners 31%
Promotions here are based on performance, not tenure. Attorneys can request significant amounts of time off without penalty; over the past few years, the firm has even rehired several moms who had previously left jobs there to focus on family. Wellness programs abound.

Katten Muchin Rosenman
★Chicago, IL
Equity Partners 21%
Nonequity Partners 26%
Female attorneys’ professional questions are answered by this firm’s National Mentoring Panel (run by its Women’s Leadership Forum). In 2016, women earned 44% of equity partner promotions; if they like, they can annualize, adjust and reduce their hours, or work remotely.

King & Spalding
★National
Equity Partners 16%
Nonequity Partners 29%
Maintaining a part-time schedule is no barrier to making equity partner here; associates can even delay promotion, removing fast-track pressures. Multiday career forums, leadership coaching and business-development sessions motivate women. Primary-caregiver leave lasts 18 weeks (up from 12 in 2015).

Kirkland & Ellis
★Chicago, IL
Equity Partners 15%
Nonequity Partners 28%
Approximately half of the attorneys at this firm work remotely; those with flexible schedules remain eligible for partnership. Its Women’s Leadership Forum hosts events that explore gender bias and organizational change; leadership training, mentoring, retreats and coaching help women grow.

Latham & Watkins
★National
Equity Partners 15%
Nonequity Partners 42%
In 2016, women here enjoyed 60-plus business development events. Flex is championed by affinity groups for women and parents; new moms get 18 weeks off, and can then automatically reduce their hours for six months. Backup-care subsidies and babysitting reimbursements are available.

Lindquist & Vennum
★Minneapolis, MN
Equity Partners 26%
Nonequity Partners 38%
Parenthood is appreciated at this firm: Giving birth or adopting a child merits 16 fully paid weeks off here. Many attorneys flex their hours or work remotely, with the assistance of the firm’s laptops, tablets and cellphones. In 2016, 50% of all of new equity partners were women.

Littler Mendelson
★National
Equity Partners 28%
Nonequity Partners 56%
Being inclusive is important to this firm. In 2016, 55% of its new hires were female; affinity groups serve African-American, Asian-American, Hispanic and LGBTQ attorneys. Formal mentoring programs pair high-performing diverse associates (more than half of them female) with influential leaders.

Manatt, Phelps & Phillips
★Los Angeles, CA
Equity Partners 20%
Nonequity Partners 26%
Partnership discussions here leave out one key detail: candidates’ full- or part-time status, deemed irrelevant to promotion. Off-site work is common; management tracks time spent serving clients, not in-office hours. As of 2016, all women get 16 weeks of maternity leave.

McDermott Will & Emery
★National
Equity Partners 20%
Nonequity Partners 37%
Smart programs propel attorneys at this firm. Its new Building Career Foundations initiative helps senior female associates establish solid networks, practices and client relationships; an eight-month coaching program moves nonequity partners forward. In 2016, the firm held its first women’s summit for female equity partners, in Miami.

McGuireWoods
★National
Equity Partners 15%
Nonequity Partners 23%
Customized leadership training and a strong development initiative equip women here with the skills to make equity partner. Management is piloting programs that increase flexibility around maternity leave and help those who take it to be more successful upon return.

Morrison & Foerster
★San Francisco, CA
Equity Partners 23%
Nonequity Partners N/A
Ensuring female attorneys have meaningful opportunities matters to this firm’s Women’s Strategy Committee, which regularly reviews its retention and advancement with leaders and encourages sponsorship. New moms get up to 20 fully paid weeks off; flex and reduced schedules are available.

Norton Rose Fulbright
★Houston, TX
Equity Partners 21%
Nonequity Partners 16%
Led by women’s development experts, this firm’s Career Strategies Program gives female senior associates the knowledge, confidence and support they need to pursue partnership; every newly promoted female partner has participated. Its WIN-ning Business panel series finds attorneys exploring ways to move up professionally.

O’Melveny & Myers
★National
Equity Partners 18%
Nonequity Partners 40%
Diverse attorneys and women have an ally in the new U.S. staffing manager at this firm, which is committed to their career progress; a sponsorship pilot helps them develop executive presence and increase their visibility. On-site wellness rooms and reduced workloads support self-care.

Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe
★National
Equity Partners 17%
Nonequity Partners 23%
Scorecards annually assess the status of women in this firm’s five business units; its Women’s Initiative consults with management on their advancement. Forums engage women in the technology, energy and infrastructure, and finance sectors; formal mentoring and sponsorship aid female partners.

Perkins Coie
★Seattle, WA
Equity Partners 18%
Nonequity Partners 36%
Biennial women’s retreats are attended by 80% of the female attorneys here; in spring of last year, female partners spoke to 16 offices about flex, advancement and balance. Reduced hours are widely used; no request for them has ever been denied.

Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman
★New York, NY
Equity Partners 18%
Nonequity Partners 23%

| Practice leaders at this firm work with its Board Committee on the Advancement of Women to ensure that high-potential female associates have the clients, assignments and mentoring they need to make partner. Permission is not required to flex one’s hours; need doesn’t have to be proved to reduce them. |


Quarles & Brady
★Milwaukee, WI
Equity Partners 21%
Nonequity Partners 46%
Job applicants are drawn to this firm by its fantastic women’s network, mentoring program, parental leave and domestic-partner benefits. Women are 50% of all office managing partners; solid associate training and executive MBA-certificate courses help many succeed

Reed Smith
★National
Equity Partners 21%
Nonequity Partners 23%
“Mobile offices” give attorneys at this firm a place to work when they are on the go or when they need more amenities than their home offices provide. Annualized- and reduced-hours arrangements are available. Women hold 42% of leadership positions, including senior-management and executive-committee memberships.

Schiff Hardin
★Chicago, IL
Equity Partners 24%
Nonequity Partners 30%
Connecting with other attorneys is easy here, thanks to 10 inclusion networks (among them, those for women, female equity partners, parents and new moms). Every associate who currently reduces their hours has been promoted since 2014, with some earning top merit bonuses.

Seyfarth Shaw
★Chicago, IL
Equity Partners 18%
Nonequity Partners 27%
Learning to be mindful, resilient and communityminded are all aspects of this firm’s SeyfarthLife initiative, which uses affinity groups, benefits, courses and other resources to add balance to attorneys’ lives. Unlimited vacation, alternative schedules and 18 weeks’ primary-caregiver leave help too.

Shook, Hardy & Bacon
★Kansas City, MO
Equity Partners 23%
Nonequity Partners 40%
Leaders here attend training that explores the importance of being culturally competent and eradicating bias; special development programs, sponsorship initiatives, mentoring sessions and retreats level the playing field for diverse attorneys (including women). The firm’s Flex Policy Advisor helps facilitate alternative schedules.

Sidley Austin
★National
Equity Partners 24%
Nonequity Partners N/A
Work-life benefits are a critical part of talent management discussions here; parents enjoy dedicated career coaching, extended leaves and breast-milk shipping. The Committee on Retention and Promotion of Women works with leaders to strengthen the partnership trajectory for female associates.

WilmerHale
★National
Equity Partners 25%
Nonequity Partners N/A
What a year 2016 was for women here: They handled 54% of all public offerings (raising $1 billion-plus), took leading roles at 67% of trials, and presented twice before the U.S. Supreme Court. Flexible career paths, extensive vacation, a year’s family leave and backup care support them.

Winston & Strawn
★National
Equity Partners 14%
Nonequity Partners 32%
Training, sponsorship and client events offered by this firm’s Women’s Leadership Initiative have helped increase the number of female attorneys in key roles. Reduced schedules include full benefits and partnership eligibility; parents access 20 weeks’ paid leave, coaching and phase-back options.

 

Methodology

The 2017 Working Mother Best Law Firms for Women application includes more than 300 questions about attorney representation, schedule flexibility, paid time off and parental leaves, and development and retention of women. Profiles are culled from the applications and reflect 2016 U.S. data.

The ABA Journal acts as a partner in recruiting participant firms and publicizing results

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