The 2014 Working Mother & Flex-time Lawyers 50 Best Law Firms for Women | Working Mother

The 2014 Working Mother & Flex-time Lawyers 50 Best Law Firms for Women

Almost a fifth of the equity partners at these law firms are women. Here's how the Best Law Firms are raising the bar on hiring, retaining and promoting female attorneys.

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lawyer-2014

Top mom lawyers from the 2014 Working Mother and Flex-Time Lawyers Best Law Firms for Women offer advice on strategically breaking rules to get ahead, here.

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Click here to read the Executive Summary for aggregated data on the 2014 Working Mother and Flex-Time Lawyers Best Law Firms for Women.

Baker & McKenzie
Chicago, IL
Talented attorneys thrive at this firm, which provides female partners with access to customized coaching, global leadership training and a major women’s initiative. Moms may take advantage of 18 fully paid weeks of maternity leave, scheduling flex and $10,000 in adoption assistance.

  • Female Equity Partners 18%
  • Female Nonequity Partners 34%
  • Lawyers Working Reduced Hours 8%

Chapman and Cutler
Chicago, IL
This firm made big changes in January, replacing its strict billable-hours tracks with “flexible hours expectations” that more directly emphasize professional development. Associates stay energized with free concierge services, wellness fairs, on-site yoga classes and fresh fruit deliveries.

  • Female Equity Partners 19%
  • Female Nonequity Partners 28%
  • Lawyers Working Reduced Hours 5%

Cooley
Palo Alto, CA
Women appreciate this firm’s alternative work options, subsidized backup care and generous parental leaves. Those looking to on- and off-ramp are connected to colleagues who have done so. If they do take extended breaks, they may be able to return via a one-year training program.

  • Female Equity Partners 22%
  • Female Nonequity Partners NA
  • Lawyers Working Reduced Hours 9%

****Crowell & Moring**
Washington, DC**
Solid mentoring and sponsorship programs draw many people to this firm. In 2013, 53% of all incoming associates were female; some will eventually pursue leadership roles in the women attorneys network (which holds 30+ events annually).

  • Female Equity Partners 13%
  • Female Nonequity Partners 33%
  • Lawyers Working Reduced Hours 16%

Davis Wright Tremaine
Seattle, WA
Opportunity knocks for women at this firm, where they’re 60% of new equity partners. Special business development initiatives propel rising attorneys, and remote and reduced-hours work does not preclude promotion. Subsidized family backup care debuted in 2013.

  • Female Equity Partners 20%
  • Female Nonequity Partners 29%
  • Lawyers Working Reduced Hours 7%

Debevoise & Plimpton
New York, NY
To create formidable female leaders, management here regularly reviews the professional needs of high-potential associates and works with practice group heads to arrange key assignments. tech stipends boost flexibility. Reduced-hours lawyers have been making partner since 1994.

  • Female Equity Partners 18%
  • Female Nonequity Partners NA
  • Lawyers Working Reduced Hours 10%

DLA Piper
Baltimore, MD
While 10% of lawyers here officially use flexible schedules, there’s an additional option (recently introduced) that allows people to phase back to work for three months after a long leave. That’s good news, since the firm just upped paid parental leave from 90 days to 18 weeks.

  • Female Equity Partners 18%
  • Female Nonequity PartnersNA
  • Lawyers Working Reduced Hours 11%

Dorsey & Whitney
Minneapolis, MN
Under the direction of this firm’s management committee, a new pilot program helps female Partners develop executive presence and enhance their leadership and rainmaking skills. Women head three offices and six practice groups here; junior female attorneys are guided by senior mentors.

  • Female Equity Partners 18%
  • Female Nonequity Partners 24%
  • Lawyers Working Reduced Hours 11%

Drinker Biddle & Reath
Philadelphia, PA
Working from home and other off-site locations is supported by this firm, which makes it easier for attorneys by dispensing remote access passwords and 24/7 IT aid. Steady progress continues for women: in February, they were 50% of the nonequity partners earning equity roles.

  • Female Equity Partners 18%
  • Female Nonequity Partners 21%
  • Lawyers Working Reduced Hours 8%

Duane Morris
Philadelphia, PA
The women’s initiative here is a powerhouse, educating attorneys about industry trends, staging work life discussions, proffering mentors, running retreats and hosting a yearlong leadership program. Through Project X-Factor, members make connections with potential Fortune 500 clients.

  • Female Equity Partners 12%
  • Female Nonequity Partners 26%
  • Lawyers Working Reduced Hours 13%

Faegre Baker Daniels
Global
Great benefits make this firm a standout, among them up to 16 weeks of fully paid maternity leave, adoption aid ($5,000 per child) and subsidized backup care. While 11% of attorneys formally reduce or adjust their schedules, everyone has the flexibility to work remotely when needed.

  • Female Equity Partners 21%
  • Female Nonequity Partners 33%
  • Lawyers Working Reduced Hours 9%

Farella Braun + Martel
San Francisco, CA
Female attorneys here upgrade their business development skills by working closely with experienced partners, consultants and members of the women’s leadership committee. A new crossmarketing series generates clients and contacts. Mothers share an affinity group.

  • Female Equity Partners 18%
  • Female Nonequity Partners 53%
  • Lawyers Working Reduced Hours 25%****

******Finnegan, Henderson, Farabow, Garrett & Dunner****
Washington, DC**
A slower route is A-OK at this firm, where an attenuated partner track allows associates to cut their hours by 40% if they choose. The Women’s Forum grants insight into leadership, pro bono work and personal balance. Office perks include child care.

  • Female Equity Partners 19%
  • Female Nonequity Partners 31%
  • Lawyers Working Reduced Hours 11%

Foley & Lardner
Milwaukee, WI
Moms cheered when this firm recently boosted paid maternity leave from 12 to 18 weeks and upped adoption leave from 4 to 10. Reduced schedules are also available—since 2009, 47% of female equity partners have earned their positions while using one.

  • Female Equity Partners 14%
  • Female Nonequity Partners 19%
  • Lawyers Working Reduced Hours 6%

Frankfurt Kurnit Klein & Selz
New York, NY
With its wide range of inspiring speakers and events, this firm gets women talking about ambition, self-belief and overcoming barriers. At present, 50% of attorneys and 43% of practice group leaders here are female; they can utilize flex schedules, tech stipends, sabbaticals and backup care.

  • Female Equity Partners 38%
  • Female Nonequity Partners 25%
  • Lawyers Working Reduced Hours 10%

Fredrikson & Byron
Minneapolis, MN
The board of directors at this firm increases the visibility of female attorneys by placing them on key committees and in other major roles. To expand their reach, up-and-comers may join the internal women’s network or mothers’ group. Anyone working 80% time retains partnership eligibility.

  • Female Equity Partners 33%
  • Female Nonequity Partners NA
  • Lawyers Working Reduced Hours 31%

Gibbons
Newark, NJ
After a birth or adoption, attorneys here may cut their hours by 40% for a year (then by 20% for as long as they like) with no effect on promotion. Mobile tech facilitates remote work. Emergency child care is subsidized at 88%. A leadership academy and business plan workshops inspire women

  • Female Equity Partners 15%
  • Female Nonequity Partners 24%
  • Lawyers Working Reduced Hours 8%

Godfrey & Kahn
Milwaukee, WI
Lawyers here can flex and reduce their hours or telecommute; at regular intervals, they speak with advisors and practice group leaders about how these arrangements are working. New moms get 12 paid weeks off and may “ramp up” for a month when returning to work.

  • Female Equity Partners 18%
  • Female Nonequity Partners NA
  • Lawyers Working Reduced Hours 6%

Goodwin Procter
Boston, MA
Through its Owning Your Success advanced leadership program, this firm helps aspiring female equity partners to manage teams, obtain sponsors and build a brand. Attorneys may take 18 paid weeks off to adopt or give birth—and can access transition coaching for new moms.

  • Female Equity Partners 14%
  • Female Nonequity Partners 30%
  • Lawyers Working Reduced Hours 7%

Hanson Bridgett
San Francisco, CA
Dedicated leadership courses motivate female attorneys at this firm. A development manager ensures those with reduced schedules still get great assignments. Mothers bond at parenting lunches, take on-site yoga classes and use emergency dependent care (new this year).

  • Female Equity Partners 28%
  • Female Nonequity Partners 28%
  • Lawyers Working Reduced Hours 25%

Hogan Lovells US
Washington, DC
Backed by its women’s initiative and six diversity councils, this firm has been intensifying its sponsorship, training and development of female attorneys, recently launching the Lead & Succeed program, which prepares them for high-profile roles. Flex options appeal to associates.

  • Female Equity Partners 18%
  • Female Nonequity Partners 33%
  • Lawyers Working Reduced Hours 7%

Holland & Hart
Denver, CO
When Elizabeth Sharrer became chair of this firm in January, it tipped the balance of the management committee, increasing female membership from 40% to 60%. Mentoring and retreats await members of the in-house women’s forum. Reduced hours and sabbaticals are available.

  • Female Equity Partners 28%
  • Female Nonequity Partners 7%
  • Lawyers Working Reduced Hours 17%

Hunton & Williams
Washington, DC
Customized schedules allow attorneys here to scale back their hours, telecommute, work on a project-to-project basis or even (in the Pathways to Success program) take up to five years off. The firm’s leaders promote proactive sponsorship and practice planning; mentoring options abound.

  • Female Equity Partners 18%
  • Female Nonequity Partners NA
  • Lawyers Working Reduced Hours 15%

Ice Miller
Indianapolis, IN
Female equity partners chair 75% of the committees at this firm (hiring, diversity and inclusion, professional development) that affect the career growth of female associates and counsel. Leadership programs, formal mentors and alternative-hours arrangements help attorneys succeed.

  • Female Equity Partners 24%
  • Female Nonequity Partners 23%
  • Lawyers Working Reduced Hours 10%

Jenner & Block
Chicago, IL
Now marking its 100th anniversary, this firm clearly supports the advancement of women: In 2013, its female leaders included managing partner Susan Levy and the COO, CFO, CTO and CMO. New business development workshops and a women’s forum engage partners.

  • Female Equity Partners 15%
  • Female Nonequity Partners 31%
  • Lawyers Working Reduced Hours 6%

Katten Muchin Rosenman
Chicago, IL
Expectant moms who work here can take up to six months off after giving birth (with their billable-hours targets adjusted accordingly). The firm’s Work Life/Development Task Force carefully evaluates its flex programs, leave policies and training, upgrading wherever needed.

  • Female Equity Partners 17%
  • Female Nonequity Partners 31%
  • Lawyers Working Reduced Hours 9%

Kirkland & Ellis
Chicago, IL
The quality of attorneys’ work matters more than where it gets done, this firm believes. With that in mind, management revised its flexible scheduling policy in 2013, outlining all available alternative work options and addressing the needs of parents returning from leave.

  • Female Equity Partners 14%
  • Female Nonequity Partners 31%
  • Lawyers Working Reduced Hours 3%

Latham & Watkins
Global
Formal mentors, training programs and business initiatives for women help attorneys here expand their horizons. Mothers-to-be earn 18 fully paid weeks off. Top moms include vice chair Ora Fisher and office managing partners Karen Silverman and Michele Johnson.

  • Female Equity Partners 17%
  • Female Nonequity Partners 36%
  • Lawyers Working Reduced Hours 5%

Lindquist & Vennum
Minneapolis, MN
Telecommuting is common at this firm, and anyone who puts in at least 25 hours per week is eligible to receive full benefits. To further satisfy attorneys’ work life needs, management is thoroughly reviewing flex policies and practices. Women were 44% of new hires in 2013.

  • Female Equity Partners 22%
  • Female Nonequity Partners 39%
  • Lawyers Working Reduced Hours 12%

Littler
San Francisco, CA
Women chair this firm’s board of directors, comprise 30% of the management committee and head 14 practice groups and 13 offices. Influential partners advocate for diverse, high-performing associates. Participants in the flex-time attorneys program work off-site and can choose their hours.

  • Female Equity Partners 28%
  • Female Nonequity Partners 49%
  • Lawyers Working Reduced Hours 13%

Lowenstein Sandler
Roseland, NJ
Thanks to this firm’s permissive flex and time-off policies, attorneys here are able to take a real break when they need it. Importantly, promotions are based on their overall contributions, not just their rainmaking efforts. For parents and elder caregivers, subsidized backup care offers relief.

  • Female Equity Partners 17%
  • Female Nonequity Partners 15%
  • Lawyers Working Reduced Hours 4%

Manatt, Phelps & Phillips
Los Angeles, CA
Coaches and mentors guide female associates as they develop business here, showing them how to obtain and retain clients. More than 30 networking events provided entree to industry titans in 2013. Talks by respected critical thinkers enlighten members of the women’s initiative.

  • Female Equity Partners 17%
  • Female Nonequity Partners 28%
  • Lawyers Working Reduced Hours 8%

McDermott Will & Emery
Chicago, IL
The future looks bright for women at this firm. in 2013, they earned 29% of all equity partner promotions (up from 13% in 2012); among those women promoted, 38% worked reduced Hours. As their careers go forward, many take part in dedicated mentoring groups and coaching programs.

  • Female Equity Partners 18%
  • Female Nonequity Partners 37%
  • Lawyers Working Reduced Hours 6%

McGuireWoods
Richmond, VA
Quarterly luncheons run by the women lawyers network here help female attorneys advance, exploring firm financials, client relationships and the path to Partnership. Paid maternity leave lasts 18 weeks; adoption aid, subsidized backup care and flex schedules also support parents.

  • Female Equity Partners 11%
  • Female Nonequity Partners 24%
  • Lawyers Working Reduced Hours 6%

Morrison & Foerster
San Francisco, CA
With annual retreats for female partners, a new 10-month business development series and 19 U.S. affinity groups, this firm has appeal. New mothers enjoy reduced hours and special mentoring and lactation programs; anyone who works 67% time can still become an equity partner.

  • Female Equity Partners 17%
  • Female Nonequity Partners NA
  • Lawyers Working Reduced Hours 18%

Munger, Tolles & Olson
Los Angeles, CA
Flexibility is so ingrained here that 90% of attorneys work remotely during the year, and there’s a reduced schedule (with no minimum-hours requirement) on the partnership track. Paid parental leave stretches for four months. In 2013, 75% of new equity partners were moms.

  • Female Equity Partners 21%
  • Female Nonequity Partners NA
  • Lawyers Working Reduced Hours 3%

Neal, Gerber & Eisenberg
Chicago, IL
Coming together across all levels and practices, this firm’s female attorneys gather in mixed teams each quarter to share goals and forge alliances. A formal counsel track (with fewer hours) presents an alternative to the partnership route. In 2013, 40% of women worked reduced schedules.

  • Female Equity Partners 14%
  • Female Nonequity Partners 33%
  • Lawyers Working Reduced Hours 15%

Norton Rose Fulbright
Houston, TX
Born from a global merger in 2013, this firm boasts many prominent women, among them five U.S. practice heads and managing partner Linda Addison. Attorneys can access flexible, reduced or part-time schedules while nabbing top assignments and tracking toward partnership.

  • Female Equity Partners 20%
  • Female Nonequity Partners 45%
  • Lawyers Working Reduced Hours 7%

O’Melveny & Myers
New York, NY
Targeted training helps female attorneys here develop clients and exert influence. Those seeking an unorthodox work arrangement may participate in the custommize program, where they can job-share, work off-site, reduce their hours or take extended leaves.

  • Female Equity Partners 12%
  • Female Nonequity Partners 50%
  • Lawyers Working Reduced Hours 6%

Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe
New York, NY
Making partner here doesn’t have to mean following a rigid schedule. Increasingly, it’s about utilizing custom career tracks and practicing day-to-day flexibility. Lawyers get unlimited time off for illness, vacation or personal reasons. Mentoring circles and affinity groups provide community.

  • Female Equity Partners 19%
  • Female Nonequity Partners NA
  • Lawyers Working Reduced Hours 9%

Perkins Coie
Seattle, WA
The Parents Affinity Group at this firm helps attorneys transition back to work post-baby and explains family benefits, leave policies, estate planning and more. Special business development sessions, all-female work retreats and gender-based assignment reviews aid women.

  • Female Equity Partners 15%
  • Female Nonequity Partners 38%
  • Lawyers Working Reduced Hours 14%

Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman
New York, NY
With 12 parents on its board of directors, this firm is aware of what families need. It has made flexible work arrangements ubiquitous, while a new task force (initiated by mid-level associates) explores satisfaction with reduced-Hours options.

  • Female Equity Partners 18%
  • Female Nonequity Partners 21%
  • Lawyers Working Reduced Hours 19%

Quarles & Brady
Milwaukee, WI
New chair Kimberly Johnson tops this firm’s list of accomplished female lawyers, which also includes 30% of its office managing partners. An in-house university offers training, mentoring and career planning, while a formal flex policy and backup care assist many families.

  • Female Equity Partners 22%
  • Female Nonequity Partners 43%
  • Lawyers Working Reduced Hours 9%

Reed Smith
Global
In 2013, women were 36% of this firm’s leaders (up from 31% in 2012) and 43% of its executive committee (up from 40%). To help more female associates and partners move into equity roles, two pilot programs provide them with sponsorship, training, coaching and business development grants.

  • Female Equity Partners 23%
  • Female Nonequity Partners 20%
  • Lawyers Working Reduced Hours 8%

Schiff Hardin
Chicago, IL
Leaders here assess all client teams (as well as all pitches, proposals and presentations) to make sure that diverse attorneys are well represented. An affinity group and new leadership academy accelerate the rise of women. Paid parental leave was just increased to 18 weeks from 12.

  • Female Equity Partners 22%
  • Female Nonequity Partners 33%
  • Lawyers Working Reduced Hours 6%

Seyfarth Shaw
Chicago, IL
To help its attorneys meet their personal responsibilities, this firm endorses alternative schedules, unlimited vacation days and a nonpartnership track. Work life liaisons at all sites provide guidance, and an upcoming program for new hires will address finding balance.

  • Female Equity Partners 16%
  • Female Nonequity Partners 22%
  • Lawyers Working Reduced Hours 8%

Shook, Hardy & Bacon
Kansas City, MO
Women are 30% of the executive committee here. Firmwide retreats and thoughtful development activities (gender-specific leadership training, work life integration education, coaching for high-potential associates) help more female attorneys make partner.

  • Female Equity Partners 24%
  • Female Nonequity Partners 35%
  • Lawyers Working Reduced Hour 7%

Sidley Austin
Chicago, IL
In 2013, this firm monitored women associates on reduced schedules to ensure they kept progressing toward partnership, stepped up lateral recruiting of female partners (and tracked their participation in business opportunities) and held 135+ key networking events.

  • Female Equity Partners 21%
  • Female Nonequity Partners NA
  • Lawyers Working Reduced Hours 7%

Thompson & Knight
Dallas, TX
Back in 1973, managing partner Emily Parker was the first female lawyer hired by this firm (where she now sponsors and mentors many others). Today, a dynamic women’s initiative, progressive flex policies and great child care benefits attract top talent.

  • Female Equity Partners 16%
  • Female Nonequity Partners 34%
  • Lawyers Working Reduced Hours 8%

WilmerHale
Washington, DC
Famed for its flexible career paths, this firm allows attorneys to take up to a year off to deal with a family medical crisis or welcome a new child (at least 12 weeks are fully paid). It also offers myriad work life balance programs, smart dependent care solutions and an active women’s leadership initiative.

  • Female Equity Partners 24%
  • Female Nonequity Partners NA
  • Lawyers Working Reduced Hours 7%

Methodology
The 2014 Working Mother & Flex-time Lawyers 50 Best Law Firms for Women application includes more than 300 questions about workforce representation; time off and leaves; child care; flexibility; leadership, compensation and advancement of women; and development and retention of women. Profiles are culled from the applications and reflect 2013 data.

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