Four large California law firms have dropped off the list of 50 best firms for working women this year. The list, published by Working Mother magazine in correlation with consultants at Flex-Time Lawyers, came out today.
Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe; Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman; DLA Piper and Reed Smith — who made the list last year — were not named again this year.(Sure, DLA is technically not a "California firm," but with 400 attorneys in the state, it came in No. 2 on the Cal Law 25 this year).
(Quick 8/13 update: We neglected yesterday to mention Bingham McCutchen, also on the list, and a firm whose San Francisco McCutchen legacy helped it make No. 9 on the Cal Law 25.)
The new list doesn't mean those four firms have become tougher places for women to work, according to Deborah Epstein Henry, Flex-Time Lawyers president. The list, in its second year running, has in fact seen a 52 percent turnover among the winners, she said. Orrick, Pillsbury, Reed Smith and DLA may not have entered the contest this year. Henry said that she’s not at liberty to say whether the firms reapplied.
“Not every winning firm from last year has reapplied,” Henry said. “We’re not trying to shame any firms that have fallen off the list.”
On the plus side, four other California firms joined the list this year, and five made their second appearances.
The new arrivals are Latham & Watkins, Littler Mendelson, Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, and Fenwick & West. Returning to the list for a second year are Farella Braun & Martel, Folger Levin & Kahn, Heller Ehrman and Morrison & Foerster, all of San Francisco, plus L.A.'s Manatt, Phelps & Phillips.
As in the past, the results were culled from information volunteered by the firms. More than 200 firms registered to participate both last year and this, though fewer actually complete the survey: about 85 in 2007, and about 115 this year, a growth of nearly 30 percent, Henry noted.
The methodology has remained the same, except there are fewer questions, pared from 500 to 400 on five main topics, including workforce profile (including the representation of mothers and fathers); family-friendly benefits and policies; compensation, leadership and advancement; retention of women; and flexible schedules. The list of honored firms is presented alphabetically, meaning there's no "top firm" named.
Henry shared a preview of some interesting aggregate statistics about the firms. This year, the portion of female equity partners on average was 19 percent, up from 16 percent in 2007. Average fully paid maternity leave is 14 weeks this year, up from 12 last year, and average paid paternity leave is 5.77 weeks this year, compared to last year’s 4.6 weeks. “The applicant pool is more competitive,” Henry surmised. “We anticipate these numbers will grow considerably in the next year.”
The magazine is being sent to select GCs around the nation, and to the country’s top 100 law schools in time for on-campus interviews.
— Petra Pasternak