Gold Standard News

The Women in Law Empowerment Forum (WILEF) Announces First Round of Firms Awarded 2018 Gold Standard Certification

Jun 15, 2018, By WILEF

New York, NY – Forty-two (42) law firms have been awarded 2018 Gold Standard Certification by the Women in Law Empowerment Forum (www.wilef.com). WILEF grants Gold Standard status to major firms that meet objective criteria concerning the number of women among equity partners, in firm leadership positions, and in the ranks of their most highly compensated partners. The firms certified as of June 1, 2018, are listed below.

“With the requirement of meeting the first criteria, I am particularly pleased with the number of firms attaining the Gold Standard,” said Elizabeth “Betiayn” Tursi, WILEF’s Global Chair.  Ms. Tursi is also pleased to see five new firms achieving the WILEF Gold Standard. “It demonstrates that law firms are making a concerted effort to effect change by meeting our standards,” she stated.

“Particularly noteworthy is the number of firms that met the standard of at least thirty three percent of the new equity partners in the past twelve month period were women noting that thirty-two firms met or exceeded this standard,”  explained Nancy Bertoglio Chair of WILEF’s Certification Committee.

For 2018 Gold Standard Certification, a meaningful percentage means that the firm satisfies

both the mandatory criterion that:

  • 20% of equity partners or, alternatively, 33% of the attorneys becoming equity partners during the past twelve months are women

and at least three of the following five criteria:

  • 15% of firm and U.S. branch office heads are women
  • 20% of the firm’s primary governance committee are women
  • 20% of the firm’s compensation committee or its equivalent are women
  • 15% of the top half of the firm’s equity partners in terms of compensation are women
  • 7% of women equity partners are women of color or 3.5% of women equity partners are LGBT

The following firms qualified for 2018 Certification by meeting the mandatory first criterion plus an additional three criteria:

Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld

Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz

Baker & McKenzie

Ballard Spahr

Cooley

Davis Polk & Wardwell

Dorsey & Whitney

Eversheds Sutherland US

Faegre Baker Daniels

Fish & Richardson

Frost Brown Todd

Haynes and Boone

Hogan Lovells

Holland & Hart

Holland & Knight

Hughes Hubbard & Reed

Jackson Lewis

Jenner & Block

K&L Gates

Katten Muchin Rosenman

Kutak Rock

Littler

Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky & Popeo

Morgan, Lewis & Bockius

 Morrison & Foerster

O’Melveny & Myers

Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe

Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison

Quarles & Brady

Reed Smith

Seyfarth Shaw

Shearman & Sterling

Shook, Hardy & Bacon

Sidley Austin

Simpson Thacher & Bartlett

Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom

Steptoe & Johnson LLP

Stinson Leonard Street

Stoel Rives

Thompson Coburn

WilmerHale

Womble Bond Dickinson

Sixteen of these firms met all six criteria:  Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz, Ballard Spahr, Haynes and Boone, Hogan Lovells, Jenner & Block, Kutak Rock, Littler, Morgan Lewis & Bockius, Reed Smith, Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe, Quarles & Brady, Shook, Hardy & Bacon, Sidley Austin, Stoel Rives, Thompson Coburn and WilmerHale.

Twelve of the firms have been awarded Gold Standard Certification every year since WILEF began the award in 2011: Ballard Spahr, Holland & Hart, Holland & Knight, Hughes Hubbard & Reed, Littler, Morrison & Foerster, Quarles & Brady, Reed Smith,  Shook, Hardy & Bacon, Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, Stinson Leonard Street and Stoel Rives.

The five new to the list are:  Akin Gump Stauss Hauer & Feld, Baker & McKenzie, Katten Muchin Rosenman, Seyfarth Shaw and Fish & Richardson.

Eight firms who met the Gold Standard last year do not appear on this initial round:  Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer, Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney, DLA Piper, Latham & Watkins, Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, McCarter & English, Polsinelli and Venable.

Among the certified firms:

 

  • 35 met the criterion of 20% women among U.S. equity partners

 

  • the average percentage of women U.S. equity partners was 23%

 

  • women constituted, on average, 28% of the members of the firms’ governance committees and 32% of their compensation committees

 

  • 75% of firms met the criterion of 15% women in the top half of equity partners, in terms of compensation

 

  • the average percentage of women within the top half of U.S. equity partners in terms of compensation was 18%

With respect to the criterion for diversity among U.S. women equity partners, added in 2017, 80% of certified firms met or exceeded the 7% threshold for women of color, 36% met or exceeded the 3.5% threshold for LGBT women, and 30% met or exceeded both thresholds. The average percentage of women equity partners of color and LGBT women equity partners was 12% and 3.5%, respectively.

Firms with 300 or more lawyers in the U.S. may submit applications for 2018 Gold Standard Certification until December 12. Application forms may be obtained from Ms. Tursi.

All certified firms will be named on the WILEF website and will receive a 2018 Gold Standard Certification seal for use in their communication material.