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‘Gold Standard’ Law Firms Named for Placing Women in Leadership; List Could Shrink Next Year

Posted Jun 14, 2012 6:51 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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Fifty law firms have earned a “Gold Standard” award from Women in Law Empowerment Forum for placing women in leadership positions.

Last year, only 32 firms made the list, the Careerist reports. Firms new to the list this year include Davis Polk & Wardwell; Goodwin Procter; Nixon Peabody; Ropes & Gray; Sutherland Asbill & Brennan; and Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr.

To get on the list, firms have to have 100 or more lawyers and have to satisfy at least three of six criteria. They include: women account for at least 20 percent of equity partners, and women have to represent at least 10 percent of the top half of the most highly compensated partners. Other standards set percentages for women in top leadership positions.

The organization is considering making it more difficult to get on the list in future years, according to Ida Abbott, head of WILEF's certification committee. One possibility is to require all firms to meet the 20 percent women-equity-partner standard. "We don't want to be drastic, but we do want to move the needle," Abbott told the Careerist.

Only 40 percent of the firms on this year’s list had equity partnerships made up of at least 20 percent women. The Careerist published the complete list of winners.

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