Full Time Practice

Friday, November 16, 2012

50 Best Law Firms for Women

Working Mother & Flex-time Lawyers announced its "50 Best Law Firms for Women" list for 2012.  The firms were chosen based on their family-friendly policies and business development initiatives that are helping to retain women and advance them into the leadership pipeline.

Carol Evans, president of Working Mother Media, says, “Nearly one third of women lawyers leave the legal workforce, independent of maternity leave. 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. These firms deserve recognition for working to improve women’s advancement and to equalize their compensation and access to business development”.

Deborah Epstein Henry, president of Flex-Time Lawyers LLC, states, “These firms understand that their efforts toward women need to expand to not only focus on work life issues but also on women gaining access to sponsors as well as business development and leadership opportunities.  We hope these firms will lead the charge to further improve the status of women in the profession by creating structural change within the law firm model as well as empowering women to take the individual action steps they need to make sustainable change.”

If you would like to see the list of firms and read the study summaries, please go to http://www.flextimelawyers.com/best/exsum12.pdf.  Additional information about each listed firm can be found at http://www.flextimelawyers.com/best/art1_12.pdf.  


  1. Ok, I'll comment.

    I'm thrilled to know there are family-friendly workplaces out there. What concerns me is that family friendly has been equated with woman-friendly. This rhetoric is tiresome. Aside from obvious limitations immediately before and after childbirth, why are women the only ones who are perceived to need flex time?

    I have never worked in big law, so I'm genuinely curious. Do fathers not use the flex time available to them? If not, why? Is this a cultural thing? Are men who use available flex time perceived as less ambitious? What's going on here?

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  3. I worked for a firm where many men took advantage of paternity leave, often to extend the time at home after the mother's leave was over. On the other hand, few men took advantage of other flexible options like part-time work. (Our estate planning group was occasionally pejoratively referred to as the "mommy practice group" because of the number of women working part time.) On the other hand, I'd be very surprised if any men at BYU-Idaho were to take advantage of our Paternity leave benefit, which I believe is similar to the one we had at our law firm. Obviously, BYU-Idaho is a much more traditional culture where the expectation is that women are the ones who need family time. I believe companies and firms ought to really be thinking about ways to help men and women attend to family needs. The long-term benefits to employers have been proved repeatedly.

  4. For what it's worth, I'm a partner a national law firm, and we offer 4 weeks paid paternity leave. Stats show that nearly all new fathers take the leave. Sometimes in chunks rather than all at once, but they are taking it. This is a big change even in the 15 plus years I have been in practice. Completely agree it's only truly going to be better when flex time/part time is more gender neutral, but that's going to require a sea change that will take time. The professional women I know are forced to be superwomen, but I do think it's better for my generation than my mother's generation, and it will be even better yet for my daughters' generation.