Women in the Law

Top 10 Family Friendly Law Firms Named; Survey Finds More On and Off Ramp Programs

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Yale Law Women has released its annual list of the top 10 family friendly law firms.

Debevoise & Plimpton and Steptoe & Johnson made the list last year, but they are off this year. In their place are Covington & Burling, which made the 2009 list, and Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman.

Carly Zubrycki, chairman of the top 10 list committee, cautioned against overemphasizing the changes in an interview with the Careerist. It’s “possible for a firm that made the list last year to have submitted similar numbers, or even improved numbers, this year but to have nonetheless been beaten by a firm who improved more,” she said.

This year’s top 10, in alphabetical order, are:

• Arnold & Porter

• Covington & Burling

• Dorsey & Whitney

• Kirkland & Ellis

• Mayer Brown

• Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo

• Perkins Coie

• Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman

• Sidley Austin

• Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr

Above the Law says some firms on the list are not market leaders in terms of total compensation. “In fact, most of the firms on this list had to be dragged kicking and screaming to the spring bonus party, if they are paying bonuses at all,” ATL says.

The list is based on the group’s survey of Vault’s top 100 law firms. One positive finding: Thirty-six percent of the firms that responded to the survey offer formal “off-ramp/on-ramp programs” that allow lawyers to take time off and then return, a substantial increase from last year’s survey. All of the firms offer a a part-time option, and 98 percent offer flex-time.

Still, Yale Law Women has some concerns, according to a summary of its findings. The problems include “the low rates of retention for women, the dearth of women in leadership positions, the gender gap in those who take advantage of family friendly policies, and the possibility that part-time work can derail an otherwise successful career.”

On average, women made up 45 percent of associates at the responding firms, but only 17 percent of equity partners and 18 percent of firm executive management committees. They made up just 27 percent of newly promoted partners in 2010.

Women accounted for 81 percent of the 7 percent of lawyers who are working part-time.

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