2011 NAFE_and Flex-Time Lawyers Best LawFirms for Women Executive Summary

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Congratulations to the 2011 Best Law Firms for Women

  • Arent Fox LLP
  • Baker & McKenzie LLP
  • Ballard Spahr LLP
  • Benesch, Friedlander, Coplan & Aronoff LLP
  • Chapman and Cutler LLP
  • Covington & Burling LLP
  • Debevoise & Plimpton LLP
  • Dorsey & Whitney LLP
  • Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP
  • Faegre & Benson LLP
  • Farella Braun + Martel LLP
  • Finnegan, Henderson, Farabow, Garrett & Dunner, L.L.P.
  • Fox Rothschild LLP
  • Fredrikson & Byron, P.A.
  • Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson LLP
  • Fulbright & Jaworski L.L.P.
  • Gibbons P.C.
  • Godfrey & Kahn, S.C.
  • Goodwin Procter LLP
  • Gray Plant Mooty Law Firm
  • Hanson Bridgett LLP
  • Holland & Hart LLP
  • Holland & Knight LLP
  • Honigman Miller Schwartz and Cohn LLP
  • Hunton & Williams LLP
  • Jenner & Block LLP
  • Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP
  • Kramer Levin
  • Latham & Watkins LLP
  • Lindquist & Vennum
  • Littler Mendelson
  • Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, LLP
  • McGuireWoods LLp
  • Morrison & Foerster, LLP
  • Neal, Gerber & Eisenberg LLP
  • Nilan Johnson Lewis
  • Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP
  • Paul Hastings
  • Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison, LLP
  • Perkins Coie LLP
  • Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP
  • Quarles & Brady LLP
  • Seyfarth Shaw LLP
  • Shook, Hardy & Bacon LLP
  • Sidley Austin LLP
  • Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom LLP
  • Steptoe & Johnson LLP
  • Thompson Hine LLP
  • Vinson & Elkins LLP
  • Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr LLP



Summary of Findings: Areas of Achievement

100% of Best Law Firms have written Reduced Hour policies, 44% have written Full-Time Flex-Time policies and 78% offer Full-Time Telecommuting.

Best Law Firms continue to provide generous parental leave to their Lawyers, offering 14 weeks of paid leave to mother Lawyers, 6 weeks of paid leave to father Lawyers, and 11 weeks of paid leave to adoptive parent Lawyers.

Partnership structure directly impacts women’s success. Women’s Equity Partner representation and promotion rates are notably higher at Firms with one-tier tracks, rather than two.

Over the past five years of this initiative, Best Law Firms have increased support for programs that encourage networking, training and mentoring, with 80% of Best Law Firms offering mentoring circles for women and 90% offering management / leadership training.

Summary of Findings: Areas for Improvement

Representation of women remains weak at higher levels, although averages at Best Law Firms (e.g. Equity Partners, 19%) exceed national ones (e.g. Equity Partners, 15%).

Women continue to show low representation at the leadership level, although five Best Law Firms have female Chairpersons, up from one in 2007.

Usage rates for alternative work arrangements remain low (e.g. Reduced Hours, 10%), although our Best Law Firms’ averages continue to exceed national averages (e.g. Reduced Hours, 6%).

• Not enough women are using CPA courses to study for the CPA exam after taking the BAR exam. This is crucial for women to succeed in a law firm around business transactions.

Promotion rates of women Partners, although steady, should increase at a higher rate.

Source: National Association of Women Lawyers (NAWL) 2010 Survey Report; National Association of Law Placement 2009

Women’s Representation Declines at Higher Levels

Best Law Firms employ more female Equity Partners (19%) than the national average (15%).

Representation of Lawyers at Seniority Level



Non-Equity Partners

Equity Partners


Female Representation: 2007 v. 2011

Compared to five years ago, when the Best Law Firms initiative launched, female representation of Lawyers has increased at the Counsel, Non-Equity Partner and Equity Partners levels.

Representation of Lawyers at Seniority Level

2007 Best Law Firms (Female Lawyers)

2011 Best Law Firms (Female Lawyers)



Female Promotion Rates Remain Stronger at One-Tier Firms

Promotion rates for Newly-Admitted female Equity Partners is stronger at Firms with one track, as compared to data at Firms with two tracks.

Promotion of Newly-Admitted Female

Promotion of Newly-Admitted Female

Promotion of Newly-Admitted Female

Equity Partners

Equity Partners

Non-Equity Partners

Firms with one-tier

Firms with two-tiers

Partnership Structure’s Impact on Women

At the 2011 Best Law Firms, women are more successful in one-tier partnership Firms. Women Lawyers represent 21% of Equity Partners v. 17% at two-tier Firms.

By comparison, in the 2010 National Association of Women Lawyers’ national survey, women represented 18% of Equity Partners in one-tier Firms and 14% of Equity Partners in two-tier Firms nationwide.

Representation of Equity Partners at One-Tier v. Two-Tier Best Law Firms

Female Equity Partners

Male Equity Partners





One-Tier Firms

Two-Tier Firms

Source: National Association of Women Lawyers (NAWL) 2010 Survey Report

Representation of Women on Influential Committees

At the 2011 Best Law Firms, women hold 18% of compensation,19% of executive, and 23% of equity partner promotion committee seats.

Percentage of female Lawyers at the 2011 Best Law Firms

Compensation / Finance

Executive / Management

Equity Partner Promotion




Representation of Women as Firm Leaders: 2007 v. 2011

At the 2011 Best Law Firms, women represent 10% of firm chairpersons and 12% of managing partners.

Representation of Women in Leadership Roles

2007 Best Law Firms

2011 Best Law Firms

1 Best Law Firm

Female Chairpersons

Female Managing Partners

Female Leadership: 2007 v. 2011

Female representation on the Compensation and Executive Committees has increased since 2007 at the Best Law Firms.

Representation of Women on Committees

2007 Best Law Firms

2011 Best Law Firms






Females on

Females on

Executive / Management Committee

Compensation / Finance Committee

Top Ten Rainmakers

Women at the Best Law Firms* represent the following among the top ten rainmakers:

Zero women at 28% of Best Law Firms

One woman at 47% of Best Law Firms

Two women at 14% of Best Law Firms

Three women at 11% of Best Law Firms

By comparison, the 2010 National Association of Women Lawyers’ national survey reported that 46% of firms credited zero women among the top ten rainmakers. In addition, 33% of firms responded one woman is in the top ten rainmakers, and 17% of firms said two women.

Representation of Female Lawyers among the Top Ten Rainmakers

2011 Best Law Firms*

NAWL 2010 Survey Report

Source: National Association of Women Lawyers (NAWL) 2010 Survey Report

Source*: The data for the 2011 Best Law Firms is based upon 36 Best Law Firms answering these questions

Access to Flexible Work Arrangements Varies

Access to most flexible work arrangements is generous, other than for Annualized Hours and Job Sharing.

Flexible Work Arrangement Offerings for Lawyers

Percentage of Best Law Firms with Flexible

Work Arrangement Offerings

(Number of Best Law Firms that said yes)


Reduced Hours


(50 Firms)



(46 Firms)

Full-Time Telecommuting


(39 Firms)

Annualized Hours


(27 Firms)

Job Sharing


(5 Firms)

 Usage Rates for Flexible Work Arrangements Remain Low

The Best Law Firms have more Lawyers working Reduced Hours (10%) than the national average (6%).

Flexible Work Arrangement

Percentage of Lawyers working Flexible Work

Usage Rates for Lawyers

Arrangements at Best Law Firms

Reduced Hours




Full-Time Telecommuting


Annualized Hours


Job Sharing


Source: National Association of Law Placement 2009

Flexible Work Arrangements: 2007 v. 2011

Written Policies and Usage Rates of Reduced Hours and Flex-Time

Promotion Rates for Reduced Hour Lawyers

At 47 of the 50 Best Law Firms (94%), Reduced Hour Lawyers are eligible for Equity partnership.

An average of one Lawyer, per Firm, was promoted to Non-Equity Partner while working a Reduced-Hour schedule at the 2011 Best Law Firms.

An average of zero Lawyers, per Firm, was promoted to Equity Partner while working a Reduced-Hour schedule at the 2011 Best Law Firms.

Variation in Vacation Day Offerings & Usage Rates

Number of Days

Average Number of Vacation Days Offered

Average Number of Vacation Days Taken




Non-Equity Partners

Equity Partners


Firms Offer Generous Access to Parental Leave; However, Usage Rates Vary Considerably

Number of Weeks

Average Number of Weeks Offered

Average Number of Weeks Taken

Weeks of Fully-Paid Maternity Leave

Weeks of Paid Paternity Leave

Weeks of Paid Adoption Leave

(primary caregivers)

Number of weeks offered and taken represents the average across Associates, Counsel, Non-Equity Partners, and Equity Partners

Childcare Offerings

Percentage of Best Law Firms that offer these

Childcare programs

(Number of Best Law Firms that said yes)

Leadership Training, Networking & Mentoring: 2007 v. 2011

2007 Best Law Firms

2011 Best Law Firms

(responded yes)

(responded yes)

Firm holds networking events with the female



Lawyers of the firm and the firm’s female clients

Firm offers management or leadership training



for Lawyers

Firm offers mentoring circles for women to



provide support and guidance

Firm offers mentoring targeted for senior women



Associates or new women Partners to facilitate

advancement or help with transition

Affinity Groups Offerings

Percentage of Best Law Firms that offer

Affinity Groups

(Number of Best Law Firms that said yes)



(42 Firms)

Multicultural Women


(39 Firms)

Multicultural Men


(37 Firms)

Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT)


(35 Firms)

Work/Life or Parenting


(26 Firms)

Reduced Hour Lawyers


(16 Firms)

Application Methodology

Each firm completed a detailed application covering the following sections:

 Workforce Profile

   Time Off and Leaves



   Leadership, Compensation and Advancement of Women

  Development and Retention of Women

Completed applications were collected online from November 12, 2010 to January 21, 2011.

All data for the 2011 survey was collected from the full year of 2010. Some comparative data from the 2007 survey is shown and this data was collected for the full year of 2006.

Best Law Firms were selected from a pool of self-selected applicant Firms with 50 lawyers or more.

Statistics reported are aggregate based on the data from the 50 Best Law Firms.

Answers reported are based on responses provided by applicant Firms. Not all Firms answered all questions.

The capitalized words are defined terms from the survey.