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April 12, 2021 Law Firms

This firm takes top spot for its COVID-19 response, Yale Law Women says; which others took top honors?

By Debra Cassens Weiss
Yale Law Women has named the top 2021 law firms for gender equity, inclusion and family-friendly practices in a number of categories.

Yale Law Women has named the top 2021 law firms for gender equity, inclusion and family-friendly practices in a number of categories.

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Yale Law Women has named the top 2021 law firms for gender equity, inclusion and family-friendly practices in a number of categories, including the best law firm for a COVID-19 response and the best law firm for racial justice contributions.

The law firm taking top honors in the COVID-19 category is Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz, while the top law firm in the racial justice contribution category is Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman, according to Yale Law Women’s 16th Annual Top Firms for Gender Equity and Family Friendliness Report.

The report didn’t explain why Wachtell stood out in the COVID-19 category, but it does include these survey findings: 97% of firms gave paid time off to workers who contracted COVID-19, without a test as proof; 80.5% of firms include at-home child benefits; 78% of firms did not require any employees to work in person; and 14.6% of firms did not shorten or decrease pay for the summer program.

In the statistics on racial justice contributions, Yale Law Women reported that 95% of firms made donations to racial justice organizations; 61% of firms have implicit bias training for all attorneys that has been updated since 2020; 22% of firm attorneys are people of color; and 12% of equity partners are people of color.

Yale Law Women’s report is based on a survey of Vault 100 law firms and a survey of alumni working at those firms. More than 40% of the Vault 100 firms responded to survey questions about 2020 data at U.S. offices. More than 250 alumni responded to the other survey.

The legal industry has a long history of sexual discrimination and harassment, a problem that persists in many ways today, the report said.

Only 37% of the surveyed firms have fully eliminated mandatory arbitration clauses and nondisclosure agreements covering sexual harassment claims and other employment disputes across all job titles. And while entering associate classes have been made up of 45% women for decades, women make up only 30% of nonequity partners and 20% of equity partners.

The report included several recommendations for law firms, including prioritizing mental health resources, providing on-site day care, soliciting associate feedback for large managerial decisions, using a lockstep compensation model for associates, striving for transparency in regard to compensation, and eliminating mandatory arbitration agreements.

Here is the full list of law firms that took top category honors, along with honorable mentions:

1. Top firm for hiring practices: Morgan, Lewis & Bockius, with honorable mentions to Ballard Spahr; Reed Smith; and Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr.

2. Top firm for diverse leadership: Morrison & Foerster, with honorable mentions to Littler Mendelson; Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison; and WilmerHale.

3. Top firm for training and mentorship: Jenner & Block, with honorable mentions to Cahill Gordon & Reindel; Paul Weiss; and Wachtell.

4. Top firm for part-time options: Jenner & Block, with honorable mentions to Blank Rome; Foley Hoag; and Littler.

5. Top firm for LGBTQ+ representation: Latham & Watkins, with honorable mentions to Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld and Reed Smith.

6. Top firm for promotion practices: WilmerHale, with honorable mentions to Simpson Thacher & Bartlett; Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati; and Winston & Strawn.

7. Top firm for support for new parents: Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe, with honorable mentions to Proskauer Rose and Winston & Strawn.

8. Top firm for health and wellness: Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton, with honorable mentions to Akin Gump and Orrick.

9. Top firm for racial justice contributions: Pillsbury, with honorable mentions to Morgan Lewis; Reed Smith and Simpson Thacher.

10. Top Firm for COVID-19 response: Wachtell, with honorable mentions to Morgan Lewis, Simpson Thacher and Winston & Strawn.

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