Fortune magazine has put out its list of best places to work in 2009. In recognition of economic realities, it’s a one-item list:
1. Wherever they’ll give you a check, bro.
Kidding. Fortune is way too high-tone to call anyone “bro.” It was the usual list of companies with shiny initiatives like getting your feet professionally washed in the tears of Wall Street titans, comfy massage chairs stuffed with shredded 401(k) statements and the dreams of America’s youth. Or whatever other perks impress the editorial staff of Fortune mag.
Law firms were sparsely represented, but given the deservedly cutthroat reputation of BigLaw, the fact that any jumbo lawyering shops showed up is an annual surprise.
The law firms in the employment firmament, up next:
21. Arnold & Porter
30. Bingham McCutchen
36. Alston & Bird
82. Perkins Coie
87. Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe
Sure, the magazine and Orrick will take some crap for the firm making the list right after laying off a bunch of attorneys and staff while still delivering big bonuses to the survivors, but hey, Microsoft made the list, and those guys are cutting 5,000 jobs. Maybe the list should be titled, “Best places to work, in theory.” Checking out the mag's entry for Orrick, it seems like the firm made the list for having an onsite gym. In fact, the one perk every firm on the list has (it's not onsite child care, it ain't paid sabbaticals, it sure as hell ain't a "compressed work week") is an onsite fitness center. Woo hoo. So there's the upside to the downturn: Attorneys can finally find the time to use the Nautilus machine and StairMaster.
Silicon Valley firms, a great haven for local lawyers, also made the list. Sunnyvale’s Netapp topped the whole list as the single loveliest place to clock in, while Google came in fourth, and the likes of Cisco, Genentech, Adobe, Intuit, San Francisco’s Salesforce.com and Juniper Networks. So laid-off or otherwise nervous attorneys looking for an in-house haven, start with these joints. If you gotta have a job, you might as well get the one with the personal chef in every cubicle.
And for those of you toiling at any of these firms or companies (or anywhere else, for that matter, feel free to weigh in on the perks, pleasures and pretensions of those Fortune favors.
— Brian McDonough