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Top 10 Gender Equity Firms: And the Winner Is...

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By William Vogeler, Esq. on April 24, 2019 11:00 AM

If the legal profession had an Academy Awards, there would be a movie up for Best Gender Equity Firm. It would be about a law firm that had a perfect record for giving women equal pay, more partnerships, and leadership positions. It would be about a firm that ended the era of gender discrimination and sexual harassment in the profession.

It would be nice, but of course no one has made that movie. The good news is, there are at least 10 firms really trying.

Top 10 Gender Equity

Yale Law Women, a gender equity academy of sorts, released its rankings of Top 10 Firms for Gender Equity. Without further ado (or don't), they are:

  • Bryan Cave
  • Fish & Richardson
  • Hogan Lovells
  • Littler Mendelson
  • McDermott Will & Emery
  • Morrison & Foerster
  • Perkins Coie
  • Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton
  • Squire Patton Boggs
  • Steptoe & Johnson

To be clear, these are only the nominees in alphabetical order. As Big Law Business reported, even the best firms can improve ranks. Just three of the top firms have at least 25 percent of women in equity partnerships. "One really important thing we've seen is the immense need for improvement overall," said Elizabeth Levin, co-chair of the Top 10 committee. "We have a Top 10 list of firms making strides, but there was no perfect gender equitable firm."

No Perfect Gender Equitable Firm

Votes also went to firms with above-average parental leave policies, flexible work options, and mentorship offerings. The Yale women ranked the top family friendly firms, including:

  • Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld
  • Fish & Richardson
  • Goodwin Protcer
  • Morrison & Foerster
  • Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe

Again, it is not a perfect list. Some of the best firms also face sex discrimination lawsuits.

So it's a work in progress. The Yale group names the top firms annually, and there's always next year. They've been doing it for 14 years, but at least it's not just an awards show.

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