Hot on the heels of the layoffs at Fried Frank, we’ve got the details on yet another Biglaw firm that’s tightening its belt. Perhaps Fried Frank’s layoffs can be excused by the fact that its profits per partner dropped by 16.8 percent year over year, according to the latest Am Law 100 rankings. The latest firm has no such excuse — its profits per partner increased by 7.8 percent from 2011 to 2012.
But apparently that increase was a little too modest, because the firm is now opting to kick its older employees to the curb in favor of the latest technological advances (just like every other firm).
Which one is offering voluntary buyouts to its employees in order to welcome our new computer overlords?
We’ve heard reports of a voluntary retirement program at Katten Muchin Rosenman. Based on what we’ve been told, it seems the firm is offering members of its support staff — but only the ones who are age 55 and up — an early retirement incentive that must be accepted by January 2014. The departure date for these employees is scheduled for sometime in March 2014.
We reached out to the firm, which provided this statement through a spokesperson:
Given the advances in technology and attorney work habits, the demand for administrative support is not what it once was. Based on our research, Katten’s lawyer-to-secretary ratio is among the lowest in the nation. The demands of our attorneys no longer support the number of legal secretaries we employ. Out of respect for the loyalty and dedication of our legal secretaries, we have offered a generous early retirement package that will help ease the transition to retirement or other work.
We’ve not yet heard what will happen to these people if they don’t accept. If we were to speculate, we’d imagine that the firm is trying to stave off a round of layoffs by offering early retirement packages to its employees. But query how many buyout acceptances it would take to ward off such a dismal event, and how attractive the “generous” package currently being offered actually is.
Is it better to walk out or be thrown out? Obviously the former, if you’re lucky enough to be in a position to do so, like this former legal secretary we interviewed. If you need your job badly, you can rely on those who self-select out of the firm, and pray that you’ll be able to out-perform the technology your firm acquires.
Whatever the case may be, we wish those affected at Katten Muchin the best of luck, whether they choose to remain at the firm or choose to enter the unemployment line.
If your firm is reducing the ranks of its lawyers or staff, whether through open layoffs or stealth layoffs or voluntary buyouts, let us know. You can email us or text us (646-820-8477). Thanks.
When the merger of Edwards Angell and Wildman Harrold was announced back in August 2011, some observers, such as our beloved commenters here at Above the Law, viewed the move as an act of desperation. Because both firms had a tough time during the recession, the notion of their combining with each other reminded some people of… well, this.
Now, as we approach the two-year anniversary of the merger’s announcement, how are things going over at Edwards Wildman? Are Angells flapping their wings with joy and Wildmen hoisting glasses of grog?
Not exactly, say some….
Here’s what one source reported to us, in an email with the subject line “Edwards Wildman – trouble in paradise” (query whether the firm was ever “paradise,” despite the presence of Angells):
I’m hearing tales of lateral movement through the partnership ranks. Seven attorneys in Florida office left for two firms (Cozen and another firm), plus IP just lost another partner, Peter Lauro. It seems like almost all of life science IP based out of Boston has left.
Actually, the number of lawyers leaving in Florida appears to be closer to nine, headed to three different firms. Six partners left for Cozen O’Connor: D. Scott Elliott, Michael Botos, Harvey Feintuch, A. Kenneth Levine, Simeon Brier, and John David Dickenson. Two more left for Duane Morris, including corporate partner Leslie Croland. Finally, real estate lawyer Gregory Young just joined Squire Sanders as a partner. As reported by the Daily Business Review, as a result of these defections, “Edwards Wildman will close its Fort Lauderdale office and relocate to Miami as it finds [its] footing.”
As noted above, IP partner Peter Lauro is no longer at the firm. He jumped over to Saul Ewing along with another patent lawyer, Melissa Hunter-Ensor. We also hear that another IP partner, the Chambers-ranked John Ottaviani, left Edwards Wildman to start his own firm.
The departures are not just an East Coast phenomenon. Out in California, entertainment lawyer Fred Bernstein joined Katten Muchin Rosenman earlier this year.
And even though many of these departing lawyers held the title of “partner,” it’s not clear how many of them were equity partners (read: heavy hitters with big books of business). According to the American Lawyer’s survey of non-equity partner compensation from last fall, Edwards Wildman has the second-highest figure for non-equity partners as a percentage of the total partnership. Almost 80 percent of Edwards Wildman “partners” are non-equity.
Partner departures happen at all firms, especially in this age of increasing lateral movement. But do recent defections reflect larger issues at Edwards Wildman? A second source told us the following:
1. Partner profits in 2012 fell 17 percent short of budget.
2. Firm leaders, notwithstanding this result, awarded themselves six figure discretionary “bonuses” for their work.
3. “They are hemorrhaging lawyers, from various offices around the country. The biggest reason mentioned is….. not enough work.”
We reached out to the firm for comment. Here’s what an Edwards Wildman spokesperson shared:
Despite a persistently challenging environment for our clients and the legal industry, our firm has maintained its size and experienced only a modest drop in profitability. In 2012, we increased our partnership by two and had a net loss of just one associate. Excluding a small group of lawyers who recently left our office in West Palm Beach, seven partners and three counsel have joined the firm in 2013, while nine partners and one counsel have left. We are also in advanced discussions with a number of additional lateral hires. Furthermore, as reported to The American Lawyer, our profits per partner have declined six percent from 2011 to 2012, while revenue per lawyer in that period is flat. Finally, under a new firm-wide system rolled out in 2012, compensation for the firm’s leadership team was determined and approved by the firm’s Executive Board.
Readers, we’ll leave it to you to parse that statement. Some parts of it are what a litigator would call non-responsive, but other parts are worth noting.
In further defense of Edwards Wildman, we hear that investments in new technology and merger-related costs dragged down the firm’s financial results for 2012. And the firm is gaining lawyers as well as losing them. For example, in January it added John Yiu to its Hong Kong litigation practice. In February, it snagged John Fusco from Shipman & Goodwin. Last month, the L.A. office of Edwards Wildman picked up David Anderson, a videogame lawyer (yes, gamers turned lawyers, there’s your dream job). Additional hires are collected on the firm website.
So maybe 2013 will be a stronger year for Edwards Wildman. As the firm does some post-merger right-sizing, completes the integration of the two legacy firms, and adds partners in strategic offices and practice areas, its fortunes should improve. Right?
What are your thoughts on the past, present, and future of the post-merger Edwards Wildman? Will Mr. Edwards’s Wildman Ride end with laughter and joy, or with a crash? Drop us a line, by email or by text message (646-820-8477), if you have info to share.
When it comes to the employee benefit known as “tax equalization for same-sex health benefits” (aka the “gay gross-up”), maybe the pertinent question should be which firms don’t offer it. Since our recent write-up, we’ve heard about more leading law firms that offer this perk, taking the total number of firms that have it to more than 40. (The new firms are mentioned below.)
So let’s move on to the next front, which we also alluded to in our prior post: adoption and surrogacy-related benefits. They’re not nearly as common as tax equalization for same-sex health benefits, but a handful of firms appear to offer them.
Let’s find out which ones, shall we?
UPDATE (2/8/2013, 1:00 AM): A noteworthy update about the legal status of surrogacy, after the jump.
Here’s how this subject appeared on our radar screen. A reader emailed us:
I am a young gay lawyer completing a clerkship and have decided that for various reasons, I would like to go to a large firm for a few years. A main reason is that I am planning on having a child with my partner and cannot afford the enormous expense of surrogacy (or even associated costs with adoption). I have heard rumors of firms that cover surrogacy for gay couples, but have been unable to find a comprehensive resource listing the most supportive firms for “same-sex families.” Do you know of any such resource or of the firms that are known to provide this benefit?
We know of a handful of top law firms that offer such benefits. We’ve mentioned one of them before in these pages: Bingham McCutchen. A firm spokesperson confirmed to us that this benefit remains in effect and applies to associates, counsel, of counsel, staff attorneys, and staff. It allows for full-time employees to be reimbursed for up to $7,500 in adoption- or surrogacy-related fees, with no lifetime limit. You can read the full memo over here.
Through the grapevine, we also heard that Sullivan & Cromwell offers adoption-related benefits. We contacted the firm, and a representative directed us to this portion of the S&C website, which notes that the firm provides, “[a]fter one year of service, eligibility for reimbursement of $7,500 of adoption-related expenses, including travel.” The firm also offers up to eighteen weeks of adoption leave with full salary for primary caregivers. In addition, the Dave Thomas Foundation has named S&C to its list of “Best Adoption-Friendly Workplaces” each year since 2008.
Two other law firms appear on the Dave Thomas Foundation list. One is Alston & Bird, which touts its “generous fertility coverage and adoption reimbursement program” on its website.
Another is Arnold & Porter. According to the A&P website, the firm provides “[f]inancial assistance with the cost of adoption and fertility treatments.”
So that’s four firms. Surely there most be more law firms out there with similar policies. If you can add to our list, or share additional details about (or even personal experience with) the adoption or surrogacy benefits at one of the four firms mentioned above, please email us, subject line “Adoption or Surrogacy Benefits.”
UPDATE (2/8/2013, 1:00 AM): From a reader who has worked on surrogacy-related legal issues:
I’m surprised to hear that firms are reimbursing for surrogacy. From my experience representing a gay couple in a surrogacy matter, I know that surrogacy is of uncertain legal status in many states and in New York it is still [punishable by civil penalties in certain cases].
In the meantime, here are four five major law firms (i.e., Am Law 100 or Vault 100) that now offer tax equalization for same-sex health benefits:
Some of these firms have actually had the benefit for a while; we’re just a bit late in giving them props. By our count, more than 40 leading law firms now offer this benefit. For the complete list, with the four newcomers added, flip to the next page.
(Baugh gives more explanation of his #firstworldproblems, after the jump…)
Here is Baugh’s more detailed explanation of why he quit his job at Katten. Namely, fast cars! From the Washington Post:
Stefan Baugh already drives a Jaguar, but he dreams of being able to afford any car he wants.
“It would be great if I could drive by the Ferrari store and say, ‘I want that red one,’ and just buy it,” he said.
Stefan Baugh recently left his job as a partner in a large law firm to start a private equity company with two colleagues. He was motivated, he said, by a desire to create something as a legacy for his family — and to boost his earnings.
“If this goes the way I want it to, I could literally be a billionaire someday,” he said. “If I continue practicing law, there is zero chance of becoming what I consider wealthy.”
Elie would probably agree with Baugh that rich is as rich does, but from where I’m sitting, might I kindly suggest that Mr. Baugh stop complaining about the fact that he has more money than nearly every other human being who has ever lived in history. I’m just sayin’…
We hope you’ve enjoyed following the Career Center’s Top Partners series through which we’ve recognized Biglaw partners from around the country who exemplify what it means to be an exceptional partner who associates are actually happy to work for. Thanks to all the readers who took the time to submit such glowing nominations and give some well-deserved recognition to the 60 partners highlighted in this series.
Cab Morris. An associate commends Morris, a Winston & Strawn corporate partner, for being “a great partner to work for” because “[h]e takes time to teach and includes associates in almost everything,” and “he is respectful of an associate’s schedule and time.”
Robert Verigan. A Sidley Austin corporate partner, Verigan “[e]xemplifies the Sidley way” by being “a really nice, down-to-earth, and incredibly intelligent partner.”
Sheldon Zenner. Zenner, a Katten Muchin litigation partner, is known to be “considerate to young associates’ time” and for giving “interesting work assignments.”
Bobby Majumder. Biglaw would be a better place with more partners like Majumder, a K&L Gates corporate partner. One associate explains: “I have worked for many partners over the last seven years and I have to say that Bobby is the exemplar of how a partner should act toward associates. He trains, mentors, and actually cares about the lives of the associates he works with. In addition to being a rainmaker, he has always been a great mentor, a good friend to those he works with, and has paid out of his own pocket to help associates. I’ve met a lot of lawyers and he is without equal. I give high grades rarely, but he deserves the best marks available.” Another associate adds: “Bobby’s philosophy is that he wants to ‘train associates to be partners and leaders,’ and he makes it clear in the way that he interacts with each associate that works for him. He has no interest in his associates being fungible drones; he actually is proactive in helping them with their careers. He consistently sets the bar for respect, courtesy, professionalism, mentoring, and training. Associates have been known to turn down offers at other top firms to stay with Bobby at K&L. If more partners were like him, Biglaw wouldn’t have such abysmal associate retention rates.”
Mike Moore. Although Moore, an SNR Denton litigation partner, may have a “docket [that] contains only bet the company litigation for brand name clients,” “Mike routinely asks associates to play key roles on all his trial teams, and provides a ton of opportunity and experience for any associate willing to take on the challenge.”
Jocelyn Seitzman. It’s easy to see why one associate absolutely loves working for Seitzman, a Latham & Watkins corporate partner: “Jocelyn has all of the usual qualities of partners at Latham — brilliant, uber-friendly, dedicated, etc. — but those aren’t what sets her apart. What sets Jocelyn apart is that she is absolutely hilarious. I mean *seriously* funny. Her humor can make even the crappiest of situations enjoyable, which I unfortunately know all too well as she and I have done one or two 100-hour weeks together in my time here. She’s a great mentor and friend to all, and I honestly just feel sort of sad for my Biglaw friends at other firms who don’t get to work with partners who rock like Jocelyn Seitzman.”
If you’re stuck at a firm where the partners just don’t measure up, Lateral Link’s experienced team of recruiters can help you make a lateral move.
Being a summer associate isn't a day at the beach, but it's still pretty awesome.
A summer associate program at a top law firm is like sex or pizza: even when it’s bad, it’s still pretty good.
That seems to be the conclusion of the American Lawyer’s 2011 summer associate survey. Am Law polled 3,656 students at 138 law firms about their summer experiences and used the results to rank 108 summer programs. The lowest-ranked program — that of Chadbourne & Parke, in case you’re wondering — still emerged with a healthy overall satisfaction score of 4.142 (on a 5.0 scale).
If you’re a law student trying to figure out where to spend your summer, you’re probably asking: Which law firms came out with the highest scores?
Here are the top 10 summer programs, as ranked by the American Lawyer:
I’m not surprised to see Gibson Dunn & Crutcher in the top spot. It’s a superb law firm, and when I visited the firm’s New York office a few months ago to speak to their summer associates, I was impressed by their collegiality and esprit de corps.
Rounding out the top five: Dickstein Shapiro, Bingham McCutchen, Foley Hoag (outside counsel to Above the Law / Breaking Media), and Katten Muchin. Congratulations to these fine firms — and congrats, in fact, to all of the firms in the survey. As noted, all did well, with no firm scoring below a 4 out of 5 in overall satisfaction. You can see how all 108 firms ranked over at Am Law.
In fairness, one could question how discriminating this year’s summer associates were as survey respondents, based on their collected gushy responses over at Am Law Daily:
“[E]very single person I have met is down to earth, friendly, and genuinely interested in making the summers feel like they are part of the family.”
“Attorneys like their jobs.”
“The people are very friendly and most of the big-firm horror stories don’t seem to apply to this firm.”
This comment from a summer made me sad:
“This has been the best summer of my life.”
No offense to Paul Weiss — which is where this person summered, and which is certainly a great firm — but what kind of childhood did this individual have? “This one time, at band camp… we assisted in drafting indentures!”
And the naïveté of this summer associate just blew my mind:
“It’s the American Dream: work hard and work smart and you will succeed.”
Since our initial call for information about summer associate offer rates at major law firms, a number of people have contacted us with reports. As it turns out, there’s a lot of good news floating around out there for summer associates.
This leads us to two conclusions:
Biglaw firms only brought in people they could actually hire.
You class of 2011 people are some boring individuals.
Honestly, listening to your summer stories is like looking at the Facebook photos of a Mormon school group’s vacation to Amish country. We know that people are worried about getting offers in this tough market, but the risk-aversion of the summers this year borders on cowardice.
Live a little, have a drink, ask her for her number. It’s a job interview, not an audience with the Pope.
In any event, 100% offer rates abound. Let’s round them up….
Here’s what we know, so far. The following offices of the following firms boast 100 percent offer rates (note that we’ve removed some firms that appeared on our earlier list due to a lack of information as to which of their offices had 100 percent offer rates):
Dechert (New York, Philadelphia)
Jones Day (Dallas)
K&L Gates (Boston, Chicago)
Latham & Watkins (D.C., New York, Orange County, San Francisco)
O’Melveny & Myers (New York)
Proskauer (New York)
Quinn Emanuel (Los Angeles, San Francisco, Silicon Valley)
Ropes & Gray (New York, San Francisco, Silicon Valley)
Schulte Roth & Zabel (New York)
Weil Gotshal (New York)
White & Case (Los Angeles)
UPDATE (4 PM): Please note that this list has been updated a bit since it was originally published (and we will continue to tweak it as we receive more information).
Some color commentary on selected firms with 100 percent offer rates:
Proskauer Rose: “Proskauer gave offers to all in the New York office. They told everyone during exit interviews last Friday.”
Quinn Emanuel: “QE has 100% offer rate for all three of its California offices (LA, SF, SV). That’s a lot of future associates, [but the] firm is doing amazingly well and everyone is so busy billing more than 2700, so there is no shortage of work for these associates. Thank goodness for that!”
Weil Gotshal: “100% in NY. Champagne, etc.”
And some complaints regarding firms that are keeping their summers in limbo:
Katten Muchin Rosenman: “In the Chicago office we finish this Friday. They told us it might be a while until we hear something but won’t be specific. Maybe a little public pressure would help?”
Paul Hastings: “PH won’t be giving offers until mid to late August, i.e., after I have to do 3L OCI again (for which I got a grand total of two interviews). F**k this s**t.”
If you have corrections or additional information about offer rates, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or text us at 646-820-TIPS (646-820-8477). [FN1]
Congratulations to all of you who have already received offers (which hopefully won’t be rescinded, even if the economy enters a double-dip recession). We’re disappointed in how boring you are, but we understand your desire for gainful employment after graduation.
[FN1] More specifically, we are hearing conflicting reports about offer rates in the Los Angeles office of Latham & Watkins and also about various offices of Gibson Dunn. If you have info you can share, please email. Thanks.
And just like that, it’s December. Flurries fill the sky, Wham’s “Last Christmas” saturates the airwaves, and the list of weddings in the New York Times shortens dramatically. Quality tends to decline along with quantity, but we’ve been pleasantly surprised to find plenty of comment-worthy nuptials (and attractive brides!) over the past couple of weeks.
Here are the three weddings that most caught caught our eye:
- This appealing-looking couple met at and graduated from Tufts. They both have JDs from New York law schools: Hers is from Brooklyn, his from Cardozo (magna).
- She’s a real estate associate in Katten Muchin Rosenman’s New York office. He clerked for a federal magistrate judge in SDNY and will soon be an associate at Fried Frank.
The Case Against:
- Other than the obvious (Brooklyn + Cardozo), these two aren’t giving us much to nitpick about. They both have nice smiles, and her teeth are gleamingly white. Kudos.
- This bride is weirdly similar to the bride above: Both are native Floridians with real estate developer fathers and interior designer mothers, and both attended middling law schools in New York. This one has an undergraduate degree from the University of Miami and a JD from Cardozo. The write-up is ominously silent regarding her current employment status.
- The groom was cum laude at UPenn and has a JD, also cum laude, from American University. According to the NYT, “[h]e was an Internet marketing consultant during the presidential campaigns of John Kerry and Hillary Rodham Clinton,” which sounds like tricky wording to us. LEWW spoke during the 2008 Republican convention and skied during the 2010 Winter Olympics. And the word “during” is doing a lot of work in that last sentence.
The Case Against:
- This may set the ATL record for wedding-registry avarice. By our calculation, the grand total of this couple’s demands amounts to $78,022.35 on three registries (thesetwo are the big ones), including six $425 picture frames, a $1,590.00 coffeepot, and a $700 “Dom Perignon pitcher.” LEWW is delighted to live in a society where people are free to spend their legally acquired wealth in any lawful way they desire, but that doesn’t mean we can’t call this what it is: pretty damn tacky. North Korean mothers are watching their babies literally starve to death in their arms, and this bride thinks she deserves $1,760 in sterling silver fish forks. And for what — graduating jobless from Cardozo? Bleh. But hey, if you disagree, you can buy her that $660 baking dish she wants. It’s still available.
- This beauteous brunette has an undergraduate degree, cum laude, from the University of Florida and a MBA from UPenn. Her groom graduated from Holy Cross and received a JD from Catholic University and an MBA from Georgetown.
- She works in philanthropic fund-raising; he’s the founder and managing director of a private investment firm in Chevy Chase.
- They were married at St. Patrick’s Old Cathedral in New York by none other than the Rev. Paul Scalia, a Roman Catholic priest and the son of Justice Antonin Scalia. We hear that Rev. Scalia and the groom were friends at Holy Cross and that Kevin O’Scannlain — also a college friend and a son of a noted jurist — was a groomsman.
The Case Against:
- Catholic University’s law school is only the fourth-best in DC. But the Catholic thing seems to be a strong theme here, so they get a bit of a pass. (We also tend not to ding Mormons for going to BYU.)
- Team Martinez-Sullivan wins because both the bride and the groom seem like classy people and the name “Scalia” appears in their write-up. End of story.
Working Mother just released its annual list of the top 100 companies to work for. As we are (hopefully) coming out of the recession, it is possible that people might actually start caring again about family issues and work/life balance issues.
This year, four law firms made the list. Before we get to the “winners,” let’s take a look at the process required to be up for consideration. To be on the list, first you have to fill out an application with 600 questions.
What is the magazine looking for? Here’s the explanation from their methodology section:
Eight areas are scored: workforce profile; benefits; women’s issues and advancement; child care; flexible work; paid time off and leaves; company culture; and work-life programs. An essay regarding best practices to support working mothers is also evaluated…
Working Mother considers not only the programs, benefits and opportunities offered by companies but also recently settled, decided or still-pending gender discrimination lawsuits.
An essay, do you say? Well, so much for rigid objectivity in list making.
Still, the four law firm winners should be proud. Let’s highlight them from out of the other top 100 companies…
Because so many people seem to resist the obvious brilliance of U.S. News giving institutions a strict numerical rank, Working Mother gives us all of its top 100 companies in alphabetical order. Here are the four law firms:
For our in-house lawyers, let’s also take a look at the big financial institutions that made the list of top 100 companies:
Bank of America
The Principal Financial Group
Wow, Goldman, and Citi, and BoA, but no JPMorgan. Sorry, Jamie Dimon, but don’t worry — women still want you, men still want to be you.
Back to the law firms — there’s an interestingly wrinkle with one of the four chosen. Just last year, Working Mother released a list of the 50 best law firms to work for, and Arnold & Porter didn’t even make the list. What happened in the past year to catapult A&P into this year’s rankings? Working Mother doesn’t talk about it, but here’s A&P’s little blurb:
In 1997, this law firm opened a child-care center at its headquarters, making it one of the first in its industry to do so. Today, that facility serves 55 kids ages 3 months to 6 years, who stay anywhere from a few hours to a whole day. If they like, parents can also use the center for 15 free days of backup care each year. Mothers in other locations have priority access to a national day-care network that offers full-time and backup care. If women give birth or adopt, they can take 24 job-guaranteed weeks off, with 18 fully paid. (There’s also $5,000 to help cover adoption costs.) Attorneys becoming parents for the first time can join the New Parent Mentor program, which pairs them with colleagues who have more experience. Growing support for part-time and compressed schedules means moms can avoid burnout while raising kids.
Lines like “growing support for part-time and compressed schedules” are usually the ones some men (a.k.a. sexist assholes) seize upon when they make their nonsensical justifications for gender inequality in lawyer pay.
But today… today these fellas can shove their 1950s logic right back up the orifice they are so fond of speaking out of. Because today there is another report banging around the blogosphere which shows that family concerns are not the reason women lawyers make less than their male counterparts. The National Law Journal summarizes a study conducted by researchers at Temple and UT-Pan American:
The result is what Temple law professor Marina Angel considers the largest and most detailed research sample regarding gender and pay at large U.S. firms.
Angel had been analyzing similar data for Pennsylvania firms in conjunction with the Pennsylvania Bar Association, and thought that the subject was ripe for a national study.
“It has been sold for such a long time that women aren’t as productive as men,” she said. “We didn’t know how totally unjustified that was, and it isn’t getting any better.”
The researchers’ regression models indicated that firm productivity — measured by revenue per lawyer — remained largely the same at firms with a high percentage of women attorneys compared to firms with a lower percentage. This finding refuted the often-proffered idea that women earn less because they work fewer hours or are not rainmakers, Angel said.
“Even if women do not devote as much time to their careers due to caretaking duties, there is no evidence of it adversely impacting their revenue generating ability,” the researchers wrote. “By discrediting the idea that women are paid less because they are not as productive as men, discrimination is left as an explanation.”
There is no evidence of caretaking duties adversely impacting the revenue-generating ability of women.
Which brings us back to the fundamental weakness of lists like the one Working Mother has put together. It’s all well and good to look at the number of women hired, flex-time, and child care options. But the thing the vast majority of working women (mothers, potential mothers, “all the single ladies,” whatever) want to know is whether or not they will be paid fairly by their employer. That’s the ballgame. The firm could resurrect Jane Austen and make her do a private reading for the ladies at the firm on Friday nights, but if the firm doesn’t practice fundamental equality when it comes time to cut the check, then none of it matters.
So, again, congratulations to the four law firms recognized by Working Mother magazine. Here’s hoping you remember your commitment to gender equality when it comes to your bottom line.