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Women in the Law

Yale Law Women List Top 10 Family-Friendly Law Firms

Posted Sep 8, 2008 6:21 PM CDT
By Martha Neil

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Updated: Last year, Quarles & Brady was No. 1. But this year, the Milwaukee, Wisc.-based law firm didn't even make it on a list of the nation's 10 most family-friendly law firms compiled by Yale Law Women.

It wasn't alone in being left out, however: Only three law firms—Arnold & Porter (based in Washington, D.C.); Covington & Burling (also in D.C.); and Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris Glovsky and Popeo (Boston)—were on the list both last year and this year. And this year the group listed the law firms alphabetically on its website.

The other seven firms ranked in the top 10 this year are: Dorsey & Whitney (Minneapolis); Debevoise & Plimpton (New York City); Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher (Los Angeles); Kirkland & Ellis (Chicago); Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel (New York City); Perkins Coie (Seattle); and WilmerHale (Boston).

Quarles partner Nancy Peterson, who chairs the firm's diversity committee, says the firm wasn't included in the Yale Law Women survey this year because its scope narrowed. Last year, its survey looked at the top 200 law firms based on data provided by NALP, but this year it considered only firms from the 2007 Vault Top 100 Law Firms list, and Quarles isn't on it, she points out.

"Family-friendly policies remain very important to our firm," she tells ABAJournal.com. "Many attorneys who aspire to be great lawyers also aspire to be great parents. Our firm is committed to providing the support to be both."

In addition to recognizing the achievement of law firms that provide a superior working environment for women, Yale Law Women also hopes the top 10 list will be a catalyst for change, the group says in a press release.

The list helps to highlight a continuing problem, the group writes: "While the average percentage of female associates was more than 40 percent, the average percentage of female partners was less than 20 percent. Across the profession, the percentage of female associates becoming partners has not increased in more than 20 years."

Last year's Yale Law Women list is discussed in a prior ABAJournal.com post.

Related coverage:

ABAJournal.com: "Is Your Firm on Working Mother’s Best of 2008 List?"

Updated at 10:50 a.m. on Sept. 12, 2008 to include comments by Nancy Peterson. Corrected at 1:10 p.m. on Sept. 15, 2008, to include law firm's correct headquarters city.

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