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The Top Ten Family Friendly Firms According to Yale Law Women

Yale Law Women has released its 2014 list of top ten family friendly law firms, the ninth of this annual list. The list recognizes law firms for their leadership in developing and implementing family friendly policies and practices. The top ten firms this year, alphabetically, are Arnold & Porter, Baker Botts, Hogal Lovells US, Hunton & Williams, Kirkland & Ellis, Morrison & Foerster; Munger, Tolles & Olson; Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe; Paul Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison; and Vinson & Elkins. The selections are made based on different indicators like part/flex-time options and billable hour requirements.

The survey introduced a new approach this year, a student component, where current students at the Yale Law School were asked about the indicators they took to be most important when determining the family-friendliness of a law firm. Traditionally, only Yale Law School alumni working at large firms were asked for their opinions on what should be the indicators for judging a family friendly law firm.

Some significant observations from the list include the following:
  • While a majority of the law firms surveyed counted pro bono work as fully billable, there were only a few firms that also considered as billable work like committee participation, mentoring, or professional development activities. For those that did so, the activities were typically subject to a cap.
  • While female attorneys billed about 70 hours less than male attorneys on an average, the average full-time billable hours for associates was 1,828.
  • Women made up to 80.5% of population of attorneys who utilized part-time working options
  • Part-time associates, on an average, worked 60% of the hours put in by full-time associates
  • In 2013, participating law firms reported 44% of their associates to be women, though only 18% of equity partners were female.
  • While 40% of Hiring Committees and 50% of Diversity Committees were comprised of women, the percentages of female representation were decidedly low when it came to Executive or Management Committees (21%) and Compensation Committees (22%).
The results, especially women representation in even the most family-friendly law firms are not surprising, as the patterns of women's work-life responsibilities continue to differ from that of men. This is also the reason why part-time associates continue to largely comprise of women.
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