A magazine for career-oriented women recently announced the top 13 companies to work for, and Heller Ehrman made the cut.
Atlanta-based Pink came up with the list after asking leading companies nearly 100 questions on “power, pipeline and pay” (you know, stuff like “do you think sexual harassment is necessary for the survival of the human race?”).
Heller was the only law firm on the list this year and last, so we figured we’d call someone there and chat about something other than merger rumors, both out of genuine interest and to throw off firm lawyers and PR folk with questions they want to answer.
Seattle partner Lori Lynn Phillips, a former co-chairwoman of the firm’s gender diversity committee, told us the magazine does not seem to put the list together lightly.
“They asked for pretty specific information on compensation and positions of leadership on a gender basis,” she said, “they also have been impressed with the particular programs and steps we have taken over the past several years.”
One thing the firm did this year was to make existing parental leave policies official: primary caregivers get 20 weeks off, 10 paid (plus eight if you're the birth mother). Heller also started collecting better numbers on gender diversity, so practice heads can measure how they’re doing, Phillips said.
And while it’s important to collect better numbers and have progressive policies, culture is the key, she added.
“Mindset is the game. If your leaders have the right mindset and if the partners in each location and each practice group have the right mindset that has the most significant effect on retention of women.”
According to Pink, women make up slightly more than half of the employees at Heller. Women comprise nearly a fourth of “corporate executives” and make up just over 40 percent of the top fifth of the payroll.
— Niraj Chokshi