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Who Has it Better Than We Do? Illinois, DC, and New York

There are plenty of perks that come with living in California. Gorgeous landscapes. Fantastic weather. Generally progressive work environments. But when it comes to the highest concentration of the best law firms for women, Illinois has California beat.

This week, Flex-Time Lawyers and Working Mother released their latest list of the 50 Best Law Firms for Women. Nine Illinois firms made the cut. Eight firms in Washington D.C. were recognized. Six New York firms were honored.

There are only five California firms on the list.

The five California honorees are:

Clearly, the Bay Area is the place to be.

Flexibility seems to be a critical component of the best law firm determination. All of this year's best firms offer flex-time to lawyers, 76 percent offer backup child care, and 9 percent offer reduced work hours. Notably, 84 percent of the firms either maintain contact with -- or recruit -- mothers who have taken time off from the legal profession.

So how do firms get on the list? Working Mother explains that the application includes more than 300 questions about workforce representation, time off and leaves, child care, flexibility, leadership, compensation and advancement of women, and development and retention of women. It surveys female presence, roles, policies, programs and usage rates. The Working Mother Research Institute creates a scoring algorithm based on the previous year's benchmark results, which then determines the winners. Law firms are eligible to apply if they have at least 50 lawyers in the U.S.

The publications did not indicate how many law firms applied for recognition.

If you think your firm should be on next year's 50 Best Law Firms for Women list, registration for 2013 recognition is now live at wmmsurveys.com. All applicants receive feedback showing how they compare to other applicants, but the names of applicants that do not make the list will be kept confidential.

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