(August 14, 2007) – LAWFUEL – The Law Firm Newswire – Reed Smith, one of the 15 largest law firms in the world, today announced it has been selected as one of America’s top law firms for working women by Working Mother magazine and Flex-Time Lawyers LLC, a national consulting firm advising law firms, corporations and lawyers on work/life balance, and the retention and promotion of women attorneys.
This is the first year law firms have been singled out for special workplace recognition by Working Mother and Flex-Time Lawyers.
“It is an honor to be among the first group of law firms chosen for the prestigious ‘best law firm’ recognition,” said Gregory B. Jordan, Reed Smith’s firmwide Managing Partner. “We know that retaining and promoting women is not only the right thing to do, but it also makes for a better, more balanced workplace with diverse ideas. We have long been committed to creating a work environment that supports the unique needs of working mothers and will continue to be vigilant in making sure women have an opportunity at Reed Smith to have both fulfilling professional and personal lives.”
Firms selected for the award were evaluated in six areas of work/life balance in their workplaces, including workforce profiles; benefits and compensation packages; parental leave and related benefits and policies; processes and initiatives for the retention and advancement of women; child care policies; and workplace flexibility options.
Reed Smith, which has 21 offices worldwide – including 14 in the United States, earned top marks for its benefits and compensation for women employees, particularly its health benefits, compensation for female top earners, and compensation for female lawyers on flexible and reduced schedules. The firm scored in the top 3.3 percent of all firms ranked on the benefits and compensation criteria.
“It is gratifying to receive national recognition for the efforts the firm has made to ensure that Reed Smith is a place where women can and do succeed, and where women are rewarded for their successes,” said Anne M. Devens, head of Reed Smith’s Women’s Career Advancement Initiative and a partner in the firm’s Falls Church, Va., office. “At Reed Smith, we recognize that outstanding family-friendly programs not only improve employees’ lives but also help us attract and retain top talent, and that is a priority for the firm. Inclusion on Working Mother’s and Flex-Time Lawyers’ inaugural list is evidence that we are doing the right thing.”
“We are delighted to celebrate Reed Smith for its efforts and successes in retaining and promoting women,” said Deborah Epstein Henry, Founder and President of Flex-Time Lawyers LLC. “We hope its standing on the list of Best Law Firms for Women will further inspire Reed Smith to use the national benchmarking data now available to it through participation in this initiative to improve the status of women in the profession and raise the bar on what makes a best law firm for women,” Ms. Henry added.
According to Ms. Devens, the firm’s Women’s Career Advancement Initiative, which focuses on career advancement issues and opportunities for women lawyers, is an important element of Reed Smith’s approach to promoting a balanced workplace for its female employees. The Initiative’s mission is to promote the recruitment and retention of female lawyers, provide career and business development skills to the firm’s female lawyers, and help advance female lawyers to partnership and management roles within the firm, through education, training, mentoring and the creation of networking opportunities. “This Initiative provides opportunities for the exchange of information and expertise among women, both internally among our colleagues as well as externally within our business communities,” she said.
Reed Smith has partnered with Catalyst, Inc., a leading research and advisory firm working with businesses and law firms to help build inclusive environments and to expand opportunities for women at work. Together, Reed Smith and Catalyst designed career advancement training programs for the firm’s women attorneys, and Catalyst conducts the programs through Reed Smith’s Women’s Career Advancement Initiative.
Christine E. Bloomquist, a partner in Reed Smith’s Washington, D.C., office, is a female attorney whose experience affirms that Reed Smith’s selection as a “Best Law Firm” for working women is well-deserved. Ms. Bloomquist has three children – a 13-month-old, a 6-year-old and a 7-year-old – and she works a flexible, reduced hours schedule at Reed Smith that allows her to spend significant time with her children, while at the same time providing high-quality legal services to her clients.
“There are no hang-ups at Reed Smith about having to be physically present in an office to do a good job,” Ms. Bloomquist explains. “I work on a schedule that’s about 80 percent of a full time schedule, and two days – typically Wednesdays and Fridays – I work from my home. On days that I am in the office, I leave by 4 p.m. to reach home in time to manage family responsibilities. Reed Smith has been completely supportive. In sharp contrast to other law firms where lawyers are required to be physically present in an office to be considered ‘at work,’ Reed Smith is highly evolved in terms of understanding and supporting employees’ needs. The firm recognizes that substantial and high-quality work can be done in a variety of settings, not just in the office.”
According to Ms. Bloomquist, balancing work and family responsibilities was never an issue at Reed Smith. “I was promoted to partner on the merits of my work while I was working a part-time schedule,” she says. “The firm is fully committed to the concept that lawyers have lives that involve many facets, and work and family are two of them.”
Cindy Schmitt Minniti, a partner in Reed Smith’s New York office, concurs in her colleague’s assessment. “I was promoted to partner while I was pregnant,” Ms. Minniti explains. “There has never been an issue about prioritizing my work responsibilities over my family responsibilities. This firm recognizes that both are important in a professional woman’s life.”
“Since its founding, Working Mother magazine has been the champion of progressive, women-friendly changes in the workplace,” said Carol Evans, CEO, Working Mother Media. “Every year we see substantive advances in companies’ policies across the country, and we are so excited to be able to pair with Flex-Time Lawyers to celebrate change in a field that has historically struggled to support women and their life choices. I commend Reed Smith for taking the lead for women lawyers.”
Methodology: The application and evaluation process for the 2007 Working Mother & Flex-Time Lawyers Best Law Firms for Women initiative was developed in a partnership by Working Mother magazine and Flex-Time Lawyers LLC and based on Working Mother’s annual 100 Best Companies, a groundbreaking initiative that was first introduced in 1986, that continues to set the standard for family-friendly workplaces. To apply for the Best Law Firms for Women, Reed Smith provided detailed information on the issues that are most important to the retention and promotion of women lawyers in six measured areas: workforce profile, benefits and compensation, parental leave, childcare, flexibility, and retention and advancement of women.
The complete list of the 2007 Working Mother & Flex-Time Lawyers Best Law Firms for Women can be found in the August/September issue of Working Mother magazine, on newsstands August 14, and at www.workingmother.com and www.flextimelawyers.com.
About Reed Smith
Reed Smith is one of the 15 largest law firms in the world, with more than 1,500 lawyers in 21 offices throughout the United States, Europe and the Middle East. Founded in 1877, the firm represents leading international businesses from Fortune 100 corporations to mid-market and emerging enterprises. Its attorneys provide litigation services in multi-jurisdictional matters and other high stake disputes, deliver regulatory counsel, and execute the full range of strategic domestic and cross-border transactions. Reed Smith is a preeminent advisor to industries including financial services, life sciences, health care, advertising and media, shipping, international trade and commodities, real estate, manufacturing, and education. For more information, visit reedsmith.com
U.S.: New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Washington, San Francisco, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Oakland, Princeton, Northern Virginia, Wilmington, Century City, Richmond
Europe: London, Paris, Munich, Birmingham, Greece
Middle East: Abu Dhabi, Dubai
About Working Mother
Founded in 1979, Working Mother magazine reaches nearly 3 million readers and is the only national magazine for career mothers. Its 21-year signature initiative, Working Mother 100 Best Companies, is the most important benchmark for work/life practices in corporate America. The publication also releases the annual list of the Best Companies for Multicultural Women in the June issue. Working Mother is published by Working Mother Media (WMM), which also owns the National Association for Female Executives (NAFE), NAFE Magazine, the annual 100 Best Companies WorkLife Congress, as well as the Best Companies for Multicultural Women Conference and regional Town Halls. In 2006, WMM acquired Diversity Best Practices and the Business Women’s Network, making Working Mother Media the largest media company in the country focused on diversity and the advancement of women. For more information, please visit www.workingmother.com.
About Flex-Time Lawyers LLC
Flex-Time Lawyers LLC® is a national consulting firm advising lawyers, law firms, bar associations, law schools and corporations on work/life balance, business development, women’s initiatives, re-entry of professionals and the retention and advancement of women. It hosts a membership organization with chapters in New York and Philadelphia, offering networking opportunities, support, career guidance, education and information sharing to effect change. Flex-Time Lawyers LLC is a resource to the press and legal community at large on work/life balance and women’s issues and also provides recruiting services. It has been covered extensively in the national and legal press, including The New York Times, NBC Nightly News with Brian