Gold Standard News

WILEF Announces First Round of Firms Awarded 2019 US Gold Standard Certification and UK Gold Standard Certification

Jun 17, 2019, By WILEF

New York, NY, June 17, 2019 – Forty-five (45) US law firms and nine (9) UK firms have been awarded 2019 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 3, 2019, are listed below.

“Although the number of US firms increased by three from this time last year, given baby boomers retiring and law firms making fewer equity partners, I think it is becoming more difficult to attain the Gold Standard said Elizabeth “Betiayn” Tursi, WILEF’s Global Chair.  That said, I am pleased to see three new firms attain the US Gold Standard and nine firms achieve the first year of the UK Gold Standard.”

“Particularly noteworthy is the increasing number of firms that met the standard of 20% of the equity partners in the US are women explained Nancy Bertoglio, Chair of WILEF’s Certification Committee.”

For 2019 USGold 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 2019 US Certification by meeting the mandatory first criterion plus an additional three criteria:

Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld

Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz

Ballard Spahr

Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner

Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney

Cooley

Davis Wright Tremaine

Dorsey & Whitney

Faegre Baker Daniels

Frost Brown Todd

Hogan Lovells US

Holland & Hart

Hughes Hubbard & Reed

Ice Miller

Jackson Lewis

Jenner & Block

K&L Gates

Katten Muchin Rosenman

Kutak Rock

Littler

Loeb & Loeb

Manatt. Phelps & Phillips

McCarter & English

Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky & Popeo

Morgan, Lewis & Bockius

Morrison & Foerster

Norton Rose Fulbright

Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart

O’Melveny & Myers

Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe

Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison

Proskauer Rose

Quarles & Brady

Reed Smith

Shook, Hardy & Bacon

Sidley Austin

Simpson Thacher & Bartlett

Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom

Steptoe & Johnson LLP

Stoel Rives

Taft Stettinius & Hollister

Thompson Coburn

Venable

Vorys

WilmerHale

Fourteen of these firms met all six criteria:  Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz, Ballard Spahr, Cooley, Jackson Lewis, Jenner & Block, Kutak Rock, Littler, Morgan Lewis & Bockius, Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart, Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe, Paul Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison, Reed Smith, , Shook, Hardy & Bacon, Sidley Austin, Stoel Rives and WilmerHale.

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

Three firms are new to the list: Loeb & Loeb, Taft Stettinius & Hollister and Vorys.

Eight firms who met the Gold Standard last year do not appear on this initial round:

Baker & McKenzie, Davis Polk & Wardwell, Eversheds Sutherland US, Haynes and Boone, Holland & Knight, Seyfarth Shaw, Shearman & Sterling and Stinson Leonard Street.

Among the certified firms:

  • 40 met the criterion of 20% women among U.S. equity partners
  • the average percentage of women U.S. equity partners was 22.9%
  • women constituted, on average, 30.8of the members of the firms’ governance committees and 31.1of their compensation committees
  • 5of firms met the criterion of 15women 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 17.1%

With respect to the criterion for diversity among U.S. women equity partners, added in 2017, 11.4of certified firms met or exceeded the 7% threshold for women of color and 4.2met or exceeded the 3.5% threshold for LGBT women.

For the first year of WILEF UK Gold Standard, firms needed to meet three of the five following criteria:

  • 20% of equity partners or, alternatively, 33% of the attorneys becoming equity partners during the past twelve months 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 non-white or 3.5% of women equity partners are LGBT

The following firms qualified for 2019 UK Certification:

Allen & Overy

Herbert Smith Freehills

Hogan Lovells

Latham & Watkins

Mayer Brown

Reed Smith

Sidley Austin

Watson Farley & Williams

Womble Bond Dickinson

Four of these firms met all five criteria: Allen & Overy, Hogan Lovells, Reed Smith and Watson Farley & Williams.

Among the certified firms:

  • 5 met the criterion of 20% women among UK equity partners
  • the average percentage of women UK equity partners was 17.7%
  • women constituted, on average, 30.1of the members of the firms’ governance committees and 29.4of their compensation committees
  • 4of 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 UK equity partners in terms of compensation was 14.9%

With respect to the criterion for diversity among UK women equity partners, 9.5% of certified firms met or exceeded the 7% threshold for women of color, 0.0met or exceeded the 3.5% threshold for LGBT women.

Finally, three firms have met both the US and UK Gold Standard—Hogan Lovells, Reed Smith and Sidley Austin.

Firms with 300 or more lawyers in the U.S. and 100 or more attorneys in the UK may submit applications for 2019 Gold Standard Certification until December 16. Application forms may be obtained from Ms. Tursi.

All certified firms will be named on the WILEF website and will receive a 2019 US or UK or both Gold Standard Certification seal(s) for use in their communication material.