Baker Donelson was named by Working Mother magazine to its 11th annual "Best Law Firms for Women" list, recognizing firms that utilize best practices in retaining and promoting women lawyers. Baker Donelson was among 60 firms to earn a spot on this year's list.
The 2018 Working Mother "Best Law Firms for Women" list highlights law firms where on average almost half of associates and more than a third of partners are women, while one-fifth of equity partners are women.
These firms also increasingly offer extended parental leave benefits and encourage more lawyers to work remotely and use flexible hours.
Through its Women's Initiative, Baker Donelson has implemented numerous key initiatives designed to create an environment where female attorneys thrive, including an industry-leading parental leave policy, a firm-wide mentoring program for women, a program that awards business development grants to women attorneys, and a training program designed to help women attorneys achieve equity shareholder status.
Women serve in key leadership roles across Baker Donelson. Currently, women serve as president and COO, on the board of directors, as office managing shareholders, as department chairs, and as practice group leaders. This year's class of new shareholders at the Firm was comprised of more than 50 percent women, making it the fourth consecutive year women have made up nearly or more than half of the Firm's newly elected shareholders. Additionally, nearly half of the new shareholders, including men and women, have taken advantage of Baker Donelson's parental leave policy during their time at the Firm.
Christy Tosh Crider, chair of Baker Donelson's Women's Initiative and a shareholder in the firm's Nashville office, said, "It is an honor to once again be recognized by Working Mother as a law firm that is making a real difference in improving the inclusion and advancement of women in the legal profession. Baker Donelson is very proud of what we've accomplished through the energy, dedication and innovative ideas that the members of our Women's Initiative have brought to addressing the challenges that face women attorneys. Our goal is to continue to be a leading force in developing and implementing policies that help ensure gender diversity in our industry."
Baker Donelson's culture as an exceptional workplace for women has earned the firm numerous other recognitions, including being ranked 53rd on FORTUNE's list of the "100 Best Workplaces for Women®" and being ranked third nationally in diversity for women in the 2018 edition of Vault, Inc.'s "Best Law Firms for Diversity." The firm was recently recognized by the Chambers Women in Law Awards: USA as a finalist in the category of Outstanding Firm in Advancing Gender Diversity and Inclusion. Baker Donelson also has been certified by the Women in Law Empowerment Forum (WILEF) as a Gold Standard Firm for five consecutive years.
"The law firms that make Working Mother's list are remarkable for their long-term commitment to retaining and promoting women lawyers," said Meredith Bodgas, editor-in-chief of Working Mother. "One hundred percent of these firms provide flexible work arrangements and 57 percent of them offer sponsorship programs for high-potential women lawyers. That's resulted in a jump in the number of women equity partners to 21 percent."
For the second year, Working Mother collaborated with the ABA Journal as a knowledge partner.
"The ABA Journal has been exploring diversity issues in the profession for decades and is continually surprised to see how little progress women have made with pay equity and at top positions in law firms," said Molly McDonough, editor and publisher of the ABA Journal. "Collaborating with Working Mother gives us another way to explore what firms can do to bring gender parity to firm leadership."