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 employers like Google, the Mayo Clinic, and Goldman Sachs. With companies like that on the list, we still wonder if the people at Fortune have any idea what they’re talking about, because there’s just no way a law firm could be on a similar level.
We try to cover this list every year (click here for our posts in 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008, and 2007). In 2013, only five law firms made the list: Alston & Bird (#23), Perkins Coie (#33), Baker Donelson (#45), Arnold & Porter (#62), and Bingham McCutchen (#82).
This year, six law firms made the list. Which six firms had pay that was high enough, perks that were good enough, and environments that were nurturing enough to make the cut? Let’s take a look…
The six law firms on this year’s list are… the same five firms that made last year’s list, plus one more. That’s not exactly thrilling. But it’s worth noting that while three of those five firms sank like stones in the Fortune ranking, two of them rose to the top. Congratulations to the following six firms on being fun enough for Fortune:
- Baker Donelson: ranked #31, up from #45 last year
- Alston & Bird: ranked #40, down from #23 last year
- Perkins Coie: ranked #41, down from #33 last year
- Bingham McCutchen: ranked #60, up from #82 last year
- Arnold & Porter: ranked #81, down from #62 last year
- Cooley: ranked #100, new to the list
Given that most firms dropped, maybe a recently laid-off secretary in search of sweet revenge sent in a nasty review of her former firm. On the bright side, four of these firms landed on the Fortune list of the 10 top-paying companies: Bingham (average base pay for associates of $222,231), Cooley ($215,861), Perkins Coie ($175,787), and Arnold & Porter ($160,000).
Baker, Bingham McCutchen, and Cooley are on the rise; what’s so great about them? Baker has an attorney dedicated solely to doing pro bono work without an hours requirement — be jealous. People apparently loved Bingham’s commitment to LBGT equality; the firm filed an amicus brief in the Windsor case. Cooley appreciates women, with the fairer sex accounting for more than half of staff and more than 20 percent of partners.
When employees at the Palo Alto-based law firm do a good job, they’re rewarded with ‘Snooze or Cruise’ certificates, which allow them to come in two hours late or leave two hours early on a day of their choosing.
It’s a “Get Out of Biglaw Jail Free” card! On the flip side, your reward for a job well done at Cooley is that you get to leave… so that you can stay two hours later the next day. It’s no Perkins Coie changing table, but being allowed to come in late or leave early without all of the associated shame must be fantastic.
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, in the comments or via email.
P.S. We noticed that Bingham and Alston & Bird shed 72 and 19 jobs, respectively, since 2013. If you have info to share about the turnover at these firms, feel free to email us or text us (646-820-8477). Thanks.