5 Law Firms make 'Best Places To Work' list

Fortune_logo Law firms Alston & Bird, Arnold & Porter, Nixon Peabody, Perkins Coie and Bingham McCutchen made the Fortune magazine "Best Places to Work for 2007" list.  This is a major marketing accomplishment that will draw top talent, which will draw top clients.

Law firms can be notoriously difficult places to work, with the classic lawyer/non-lawyer divide, the pressure to bill time or be considered "overhead," and the imperious nature of many management committees.  Therefore, making a list of desirable places to work is a highly notable achievement.  Here's how they ranked:

No. 19   Alston & Bird      Employees: 1,598
No. 25   Arnold & Porter  Employees: 1,292
No. 49   Nixon Peabody    Employees: 1,511
No. 64   Perkins Coie       Employees: 1,519
No. 94   Bingham McCutchen  Employees: 1,618

Law firms topped the list for highest average compensation for salaries employees.  Associates earn:

Nixon Peabody          $181,099
Bingham McCutchen  $180,050
Alston & Bird            $166,300

What makes them so great?

Alston & Bird: At this 113-year-old Atlanta law firm, hourly employees get annual bonuses up to 9% of salary, an onsite center cares for 130 children, and a few years back the executive dining room was opened to the whole staff.

Arnold & Porter: Ever hear of onsite child care at a law firm? This Washington, D.C., partnership has a center caring for 44 enrolled children and also provides backup care for employees whose regular arrangements fall through.

Nixon Peabody: The 600 lawyers at Nixon Peabody--a leader in diversity, pro bono work, pay, and benefits--actually seem to like one another, saying, "People sincerely care about each other" and "Politicking is virtually nonexistent."

Perkins Coie: The Seattle law firm, with clients such as Microsoft, Amazon, and Starbucks, has anonymous happiness committees that roam through the office spreading cheer (often in the form of small gifts left on desks).

Bingham McCutchen: The Boston law firm has tripled in size in five years thanks to mergers. Women outnumber men two to one at Bingham, and make up 23% of partner ranks, believed to be the highest percentage in the industry.

Congratulations to the firms! They set a standard for all law firms to aspire to.

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Charles H. Green - January 8, 2007 9:41 PM

Larry, that really is a big accomplishment for a law firm to make. Those firms are justly proud.

In Canada, a law firm actually made #4 in the Top 100 best Canadian companies to work--up from #6 last year. They beat out perennial employee favorites like Johnson and Johnson, Procter & Gamble, and Enterprise RentaCar.

The firm is Bennett Jones LLP, and I blogged about them at http://trustedadvisor.com/trackback.php?id=10

The common theme I hear in all of them is a focus on the employees qua employees, rather than as cannon fodder for partner profits.

Should be an obvious concept, but common sense isn't common.

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