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by Mary Kate Sheridan | August 07, 2018


Mom and child on computer

Working Mother has released its annual Best Law Firms for Women. Now in its 11th year, the 2018 results include 60 U.S. law firms “that utilize best practices to retain and promote women lawyers.” The firms that made the cut are not merely paying lip service to diversity efforts: “At these 60 law firms, almost half of associates and more than a third of partners are women, on average, while one-fifth of equity partners are women.”

More than ever, law firms are innovating when it comes to diversity. Some of the initiatives implemented by firms on Working Mother’s 2018 list are:

  • Gender-neutral parental leave,
  • Breast-milk shipments for traveling mothers,
  • Formal sponsorship, and
  • Mentoring resources for attorneys working reduced hours.

Among the 60 firms on the Working Mother Best Law Firms for Women list were eight of Vault’s top ten Best Law Firms for Women (2019):

The 60 firms on Working Mother’s 2018 list boast impressive stats on female attorney representation as well as progressive benefits and development offerings. Below are a few examples of strides some of Working Mother’s Best Law Firms for Women are making (you can find more here):

Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer: “Fifty percent of attorneys promoted to partner were women, a 12 percent increase over the previous year.”

Constangy, Brooks, Smith & Prophete: “Thirty percent of equity partners and 49 percent of attorneys are women.”

Debevoise & Plimpton: “The Women’s Task Force commissioned a survey of women alum to examine their experiences to improve retention of high-performing women associates.”

Dentons US: “The gender-neutral parental-leave policy gives all lawyers and professionals 26 weeks off, with up to 18 weeks at full pay.”

DLA Piper: “A Parent Career Coaching program was introduced for all employees, providing one-on-one coaching before, during or after parental leave.”

Holland & Hart: “The Women’s Forum developed a Diversity and Inclusion plan that adopts a diversity goal to consider diverse attorneys—at least 30 percent of the candidate pool—for recruitment, promotion to partnership, business development opportunities and succession planning."

Kirkland & Ellis: “Women held 27 percent of committee-leadership positions and a growing number of committee-membership positions.”

Latham & Watkins: “The Pace Reduction Option for Ramping Associates to Adjust Program gives associates the automatic option of working reduced hours for up to six months before and after a parental leave.”

O’Melveny & Myers: “The firm subsidizes one-on-one consultations with vetted experts on a range of parenting issues (discipline, achieving milestones, starting solids, sleep training and more).”

Schiff Hardin: “In the Advice to My Younger Self program in 2017, experienced women attorneys shared candid stories with associates.”

Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton: “Women partners have 40 percent of the elected seats on the executive committee and 50 percent of the elected seats on the compensation committee.”

Steptoe: “The billable-hour requirement for full-time attorneys returning from parental leave was reduced to 80 percent for the first 12 weeks, without a salary reduction.”

Firms who want to be considered for the Working Mother Best Law Firms for Women must complete a 300+ question application. The questions focus on “attorney representation, schedule flexibility, paid time off and parental leaves, and development and retention of women.” Working Mother worked in collaboration with the ABA Journal this year in recruiting firms for the application and in publicizing results.

Read more about Working Mother Best Law Firms for Women 2018 here, and see this year’s full list and aggregated data here.