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2013 top ten family friendly firms Yale Law Women (YLW) is pleased to announce its eighth annual Top Ten Family Friendly Firms List. The 2013 Top Ten Firms, in alphabetical order, are: ARNOLD & PORTER FULBRIGHT & JAWORSKI GOODWIN PROCTER HUNTON & WILLIAMS ORRICK, HERRINGTON & SUTCLIFFE PERKINS COIE REED SMITH SHEARMAN & STERLING SIDLEY AUSTIN SQUIRE SANDERS YLW congratulates these Top Ten Firms for their leadership in developing and implementing family friendly practices and policies. The Top Ten Family Friendly Firms Initiative is an annual policy survey of law firms that rank in the Vault 100. The survey – which explores important family friendliness indicators such as the billable hour requirement, part-time and flex-time options, parental leave policies, and childcare availability – collects data to capture both the policies at these law firms and their utilization by male and female attorneys. This year, our concurrent survey of Yale Law School alumni currently working at the Vault 100 firms revealed that part-time and flex-time policies were by far the most important factors to attorneys when evaluating a firm’s overall family friendliness. These lawyers felt that firms best advanced family friendliness when they allowed attorneys to tailor their schedules to meet commitments to their clients, colleagues, and families. Notably, YLW found that billable hours policies were not as important to alumni: just over half of alumni surveyed named billable hours policies as one of the three most important family friendly factors, compared with 80% of alumni who selected part-time and flex-time policies. This suggests that for lawyers at the Vault 100 firms, when and where they work – and not necessarily how much they work – had the greatest impact on their work-life balance. YLW applauds those firms that are working to make their


workplaces more family friendly and is hopeful that these best practices will foster even more progress in the coming year.

Part-­‐time/Flex-­‐time All participating firms provided a part-time option to their attorneys, and the vast majority of participating firms also made flex-time arrangements available. Consistent with last year’s findings, women availed themselves of part-time and flex-time options at a much higher rate than their male counterparts. On average across all participating law firms, 78% of the “A major issue is being willing to work attorneys who utilized part-time options were on flexible part-time schedules. Many women. With respect to part-time schedules, great professionals leave when these five law firms reported that at least 40% of arrangements aren’t available.” the attorneys utilizing this option were male: Dorsey & Whitney, Hunton & Williams, Morrison & Foerster, Perkins Coie, and Squire Sanders. Five firms approached gender parity in both part-time and flex-time utilization. At Hunton & Williams, Kirkland & Ellis, Munger, Tolles & Olson, Perkins Coie, and Squire Sanders, men accounted for 45% or more of all attorneys working part-time or flex-time schedules. On average, an attorney working part-time billed 1,112 hours in 2012, compared to 1,883 hours for full-time associates and 1,682 hours for full-time partners. These figures show that, consistent with the results from last year’s survey, part-time associates worked 60% of the hours of full-time associates on average. At least one firm required part-time associates to work a minimum of 80% of the billable hour requirement for full-time associates. Notably, Allen & Overy and Squire Sanders reported the ratio of part-time to full-time billable hours worked by their associates at 50% or less. Reed Smith reported that part-time partners worked half or less than half the hours of full-time partners. At these law firms, part-time work was meaningfully parttime.

“In my view, granting attorneys the ability to tailor their own schedules, consistent with their commitments to their clients and their colleagues, is one of the best ways to further family friendliness.”

Part-time attorneys were eligible for bonus compensation in all firms surveyed, and all but two firms reported that part-time attorneys were eligible for partnership promotion. A majority of 2

firms (87%) noted that part-time attorneys who worked more hours than expected received compensation for their additional hours, either as part of their base compensation or in their bonus. Many firms emphasized a commitment to flex-time options, defined as flexible working arrangements that provide attorneys with freedom to “To me, the key to a family-friendly atmosphere—and work their full-time hours the reason I think my firm does very well in that area—is on a non-traditional to allow people to ‘scale down’ their hours when they’re schedule, remotely or more needed at home, with a corresponding reduction in otherwise. All but one pay but no other adverse consequences.” participating firm reported that they offered flex-time options. Several of these firms noted that their priority was delivering high-quality legal work to clients rather than requiring attorney face time at the office. A handful of firms reported that they offered mentorship programs specifically aimed at supporting part-time and flex-time attorneys.

Family Care   More than three-quarters of firms (78%) provided 16 or more weeks of paid parental leave to primary caregivers. This represents an improvement over last year’s results, which showed a smaller percentage of firms providing 16 or more weeks of paid leave to primary caregivers. On average across all participating firms, primary caregivers were offered 16 weeks of leave, while secondary caregivers were offered 5.5 weeks of leave. With respect to utilization, 8.5% of female attorneys and 5% of male attorneys took some form of parental leave in 2012. At two firms – Hogan Lovells and Kirkland & Ellis – more than 10% of all attorneys utilized parental leave. In addition, at six firms, men were equally as likely as women to take advantage of parental leave policies. These firms included Katten Muchin Rosenman, Kirkland & Ellis, Mintz Levin, Munger, Tolles & Olson, Paul Weiss, and Skadden. Despite these advances toward gender parity, the data showed that women were more likely than men to take parental leave. Furthermore, women who did take leave were more likely to use the maximum amount available: in 2012, almost 90% of women who took leave utilized the maximum amount, as compared with 55% of men.


This year, one-third of participating firms offered “off-ramp/on-ramp” programs to their attorneys. These firms described the purpose of their ramp programs as keeping firm alumni connected to the firm; providing opportunities for contract and pro bono work while off-ramp; supporting off-ramp attorneys by paying bar dues, providing mentorship, and creating continuing learning opportunities; and easing the transition back to work through alternative work arrangements and progressive return schedules. A small number of firms also have established communities and networks for young parents to share information and advice about balancing personal and professional obligations. There has been a trend toward “An in-house child care center is wonderful. It’s providing support beyond parental convenient. It shows that the firm management leave for attorneys with family (who dedicates the time and resources to manage responsibilities. For example, 93% the center) prioritizes families.” of firms offered on-site or back-up childcare – a significant increase over the 70% of firms that reported these options last year. In addition, several firms have expanded their back-up emergency care services to encompass adult care and elder care. Finally, some firms have moved away from gendered leave policies to provide “primary caregiver leave” and “secondary caregiver leave,” rather than maternity or paternity leave.

Leadership and  Promotions   In 2012, women comprised 46% of the associate pool but only 31% of partnership promotions. Of the attorneys promoted to partnership last year, only 11% had previously utilized part-time options or utilized “The real test is whether a firm them at the time of their promotion. Notably, 9 firms will make partner someone participating in the survey achieved gender parity in who is on a balanced or part partner promotions last year. These firms are Allen & time schedule. I believe my Overy, Cleary Gottlieb, Fulbright & Jaworski, Goodwin Procter, Munger, Tolles & Olson, Paul Weiss, Reed firm does so and thereby sends Smith, Skadden, and Wilson Sonsini. In addition to the right signals.” reaching gender parity in partner promotions, many of these firms had a greater percentage of attorneys, on average, promoted to partner who were working or had worked a part-time schedule at the time of their partnership promotion.


The percentage of women equity partners and executive or management committee partners remained low: only 17% of equity partners at participating law firms were women, and only 20% of their executive or management committee members were women.

Looking Beyond the Vault 100... This year, YLW added a “Beyond the Vault 100” component to broaden the scope of the Top Ten project. This new initiative surveys legal employers outside the Vault 100 to learn more about their family friendly policies and practices. YLW sent a short survey to a variety of legal employers – including offices in government, nonprofit organizations, and boutique law firms – to learn about their approach to part-time and flex-time schedules, parental leave, childcare options, and more. Survey responses highlighted innovative strategies for making legal practice more family friendly. For example, one non-profit public interest law firm provided its attorneys the opportunity to take a one-month “mini-sabbatical” to avoid burnout and sustain longer and more fulfilling careers. Multiple employers provided flexibility to attorneys returning from parental leave. Some allowed attorneys to bring newborn children to work following leave, and others allowed progressive return schedules or flex-time options to ease the transition back to work. Survey responses also underscored the importance of office management and leadership to an organization’s policies and culture around family friendliness. One litigation boutique responded that its partnership specifically set aside time at annual meetings to discuss work-life balance. Those discussions spanned leave policies and attorney work distribution. This firm also reported that it used anonymous surveys to solicit attorney feedback on the organization’s culture, which then informs decisions by the partnership with respect to family friendly policies and practices.


Yale Law Women produces its annual Top Ten Family Friendly Firms List to monitor trends in family friendliness in the Vault 100, raise awareness of gender disparities within the legal profession, highlight progress and innovative solutions, and identify areas for improvement. We believe that the legal profession should allow all attorneys to cultivate their best selves in their work and balance a challenging and engaging career with personal interests and obligations. Please visit the Yale Law Women website at for additional information regarding the Top Ten Family Friendly Firms Initiative and our other efforts to advance the status of women in the legal profession. We would like to thank the entire Top Ten Committee for their outstanding work designing, executing, and analyzing this year’s survey to produce our eighth annual Top Ten List.  


The YLW Top Ten Family Friendly Firms Committee Chair: Amanda El-Dakhakhni Chair of Yale Law Women: Lauren Hartz Firm Communications Chairs: Alyson Cohen, Anna Diakun, and Allison Turbiville Survey Design Chairs: Jessi Samuels and Luci Yang External Publicity Chairs: Maya Hodis and Sopen Shah Statisticians: Claudia Kraft and Amanda Parsons Student Education Chairs: Selin Akkan and Chelsea Kelly Beyond the Vault 100 Chair: Courtney Dixon Committee Members: Irina Anta, Young-Hee Kim, Ginny McCalmont, Steven Seigel, and Brianna van Kan Please direct all inquiries to Lauren Hartz at


Survey Methodology Consistent with previous years, Yale Law Women invited firms listed in the 2013 Vault Law 100 to participate in this survey. All data collected reflect statistics from the 2012 calendar year.1 Survey questions fell into several broad categories: •

Scheduling and Hours o Part-Time and Flex-Time Policies (including Compensation) o Billable Hours

Career Development o Partner Promotions o Leadership Committees

Leave Policies and Alternative Career Programs o Childcare and Leave Policies o Sick Days and Vacation Days o Extended Leave Opportunities

Additional Family Friendliness Indicators o Benefits o Innovative Practices

In addition to examining formal policies available at these law firms, the survey investigated how firms implemented those policies and whether attorneys utilized them. Survey questions focused on three inquiries: whether attorneys utilized these policies; which attorneys availed themselves of these policies by gender; and how attorneys utilized these policies. Firm responses were weighted based on a concurrent survey of Yale Law School alumni (both men and women) currently working at the Vault 100 firms. These alumni were asked about the relative importance of each category of family friendly policies and practices. Firm responses are reported in the aggregate, and responses from individual firms are kept strictly confidential. 1

The survey included one question that invited firms to provide data collected between January 1, 2010 and December 31, 2012. 7

Category Honors Yale Law Women recognizes firms that have demonstrated superior performance in specific categories of the Top Ten survey. These categories are ones that Yale Law School alumni have identified as particularly important for evaluating family friendliness. YLW applauds the following firms for their achievement in these categories: Gender Equitable Use of Part/Flex-Time • Hunton & Williams* • Kirkland & Ellis • Munger, Tolles & Olson Overall Support of Part/Flex-Time • Arnold & Porter* • Crowell & Moring • Dorsey & Whitney • Hunton & Williams* Gender Parity in Partner Promotions • Allen & Overy • Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton • Fulbright & Jaworski* • Goodwin Procter* • Munger, Tolles & Olson • Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison Gender Equitable Use of Parental Leave Policies • Katten Muchin Rosenman • Kirkland & Ellis • Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo • Munger, Tolles & Olson Overall Utilization of Parental Leave Policies • Hogan Lovells

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Perkins Coie* Squire Sanders*

Kirkland & Ellis Morrison & Foerster O’Melveny & Myers Perkins Coie*

Reed Smith* Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom Steptoe & Johnson Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati

Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom

Kirkland & Ellis

*denotes that a firm is also in the Overall Top Ten 8

Profile for Yale Law Women

2013 YLW Top Ten Family Friendly Firms  

Yale Law Women (YLW) is pleased to announce its eighth annual Top Ten Family Friendly Firms List. YLW congratulates the winners for their le...

2013 YLW Top Ten Family Friendly Firms  

Yale Law Women (YLW) is pleased to announce its eighth annual Top Ten Family Friendly Firms List. YLW congratulates the winners for their le...