Executive Summary

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Executive Summary

2012 Top Ten Family Friendly Firms Executive Summary

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Yale Law Women (YLW) is pleased to announce its seventh annual Top Ten Family Friendly Firms List. YLW congratulates these Top Ten Firms for their leadership in developing and implementing family friendly practices and policies.


Arnold & Porter

Crowell & Moring

Hunton & Williams

Latham & Watkins

Littler Mendelson

Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky & Popeo

Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe

Perkins Coie

Reed Smith



YLW has highlighted challenges and areas of progress from this year’s survey results. We hope that these findings will enhance awareness and spark discussion. For the full report, please visit www.yale.edu/ylw.


Part-time and flex-time policies: advantages and drawbacks

  • All surveyed firms offer part-time options, and the majority of surveyed firms provide flex-time options. However, only 20% of attorneys who utilize these options are men.
  • Part-time schedules can be nearly as demanding as full-time schedules: some firms require that part-time attorneys bill at least 75% of the hours worked by full-time attorneys.
  • Only 7% of last year’s newly-promoted partners had ever worked part-time.
  • Many but not all firms provide additional compensation for part-time attorneys who log more hours than originally planned.
  • Flex-time options and technological advances may create significant changes: a few firms reported compensation systems based on number of assignments rather than hours billed.

Balancing work and family: gender disparities persist

  • On average, firms offered mothers 16 weeks of maternity leave, while fathers – even those who were primary caregivers – were offered 7.5 weeks of leave. Women were more likely than men both to take any leave at all and to take the maximum leave available.
  • Most firms offer emergency back-up childcare but few provide on-site daycare.
  • Some firms have established innovative “off-ramp/on-ramp” programs to reintegrate attorneys who have left the workplace. Notable offerings include payment of bar fees, mentorship and career coaching, and progressive return schedules.

Firm leadership: women remain underrepresented in the upper echelons of law firms

  • Gender equity in leadership serves as both a proxy and a mechanism for family-friendliness. While women comprise 43% of the associate pool, they make up only 30% of newly-promoted partners.


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