Each year in January, Fortune releases its list of the 100 Best Companies to Work For. As in years past, a few law firms have managed to sneak their way onto a list that includes companies like Google, DreamWorks Animation, and Goldman Sachs. With companies like that on the list, you’ve got to wonder (Elie did last year) — do the people at Fortune who make this list have any idea what they’re talking about?
But which four firms? Which four firms had pay that was high enough, perks that were good enough, and environments that were nurturing enough to make the cut?
The four law firms on this year’s list are… the same four firms that made last year’s list. That’s not very exciting. In fact, we’d congratulate these four firms a little more if each of them hadn’t dropped in rank. Let’s check out their new rankings (links go to Fortune’s write-up for each firm):
- Alston & Bird: ranked #24, down from #13 last year
- Bingham McCutchen: ranked #30, down from #28 last year
- Baker Donelson: ranked #54, down from #50 last year
- Perkins Coie: ranked #58, down from #55 last year
Given that all the law firms dropped, the safest conclusion is that somebody at Fortune met an actual practicing attorney — who undoubtedly started crying when asked about job satisfaction.
Although they’ve dropped in rank, here’s what Fortune says makes working at these places better than at “regular” law firms (those hapless firms that didn’t make the list because their PR people had better things to do the day the Fortune “be on our list” email showed up):
At Baker Donelson, the firm appreciates its staff so much that if they “were on the Titanic, managers would have dived in to save [them].” After all, lawyers masochistic enough to work Biglaw hours are hard to find these days! Over at Perkins Coie, they have “happiness committees” that throw frequent parties (presumably to alleviate the sadness that comes with a Cravath-scale bonus).
Speaking of happiness, Bingham is apparently short on “prima donnas and malicious jerks” — are their partners kept behind closed doors? Last, but not least, Alston & Bird doesn’t need a fun fact to corroborate the firm’s awesomeness. At number three on Fortune’s list of top-paying companies, they’re too busy rolling around in money to be bothered.
So, readers, have these rankings actually been earned? Can you think of a law firm that deserves to be recognized, but hasn’t been? Please give us your thoughts.
100 Best Companies to Work For – 2012 [Fortune]
Four Law Firms Are Back on Fortune’s List of 100 Top Workplaces [ABA Journal]