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Best Law Firms for Women: What Are They Doing Right?

By Gabriella Khorasanee, JD on August 15, 2013 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Between "leaning in," "opting out" and opting back in, women are getting conflicting advice about their careers. One thing is for certain -- each year, Flex Time Lawyers and Working Mother magazine release their annual survey on the 50 Best Law Firms for Women.

Though working at one of these firms won't guarantee you'll make partner, the survey highlights law firms with "best practices in retaining and promoting women lawyers." Unsurprisingly, many of these law firms have many things in common.

Here's a quick look at some of the similarities that make these law firms excel at retaining female talent:

Flex Time and Reduced Hours

  • All the 2013 "Best Firms for Women" offer Flex Time and Reduced Hours.
  • Reduced-hour lawyers are eligible for partnership in 48 of the 50 firms.

Career Development

  • All the 2013 firms offer networking groups for women lawyers and clients.
  • 96% offer leadership or management training.
  • 96% offer women-focused initiatives and business development training.
  • 92% offer mentoring programs that are women-specific.

Parental Leave and Child Care

  • All the 2013 firms offer generous parental leave, though most lawyers don't take full advantage of their allotted time.
  • Of the 2013 firms, 80% off backup child care at the facility, 74% subsidize in-home backup child care and 20% offer business travel child care reimbursement.

Numbers at the Top

  • Up from previous years, women hold 24% of Equity Partner Promotion Committee positions, 23% of Compensation positions and 22% of Executive positions at the "50 Best" firms.
  • Up from the national average (15%), more equity partners at 2013 firms are women (19%).
  • 78% of 2013 firms count at least one woman among their top rainmakers, up from 69% in last year's furvey.

Beyond the Firm

Based on this survey, one thing is clear: Firms that make an effort to promote and retain their female talent are successful.

If you think your firm should make it on to next year's list, you can register your firm online. There's nothing like a little competition to steer your firm in the right direction when it comes to implementing more family-friendly policies so women can get one step closer to actually making work-life balance a reality, and not just a dream.

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