For the fourth year in a row Carlton Fields topped the list on Vault’s 2013 Best Firms for Diversity ranking. The Tampa-based firm had the best marks for overall diversity quality, which was broken into three categories related to: women, minorities and LGBT.
Vault surveyed nearly 17,000 associates who ranked their own firms for diversity quality based on the three categories. The firms were then given a score for each diversity group, as well as an overall average.
“[Associates] are actually voting on their own firm’s commitment to diversity,” said Rachel Marx, law editor of Vault. “So associates rate their own firm’s commitment to diversity with respect to women, minorities and LBGT. Those each form the basis for that score, and then the average of those three scores determines the best overall firms for diversity.”
Unlike some of the other rankings, where the top contenders are clustered within one region of the country, the best firms for diversity spread fairly even across the board.
“There are definitely firms that are showing a great commitment to diversity across the board in all the different legal markets, so that’s good news,” Marx said.
The feeling of inclusion has become an increasingly important job quality for employees. Marx said the ranking can help young attorneys find a firm with a work environment is suitable for them.
“I think people are looking for places not only where they can have great work and training, but also where they can be part of an inclusive work place,” she said. “These rankings speak for themselves, because they reflect the firm’s overall commitment to diversity with respect to each of those categories.”
Marx said a firm’s overall commitment pertains to many areas, such as affinity groups, social events and mentorship initiatives that the firm offers, as well as less tangible things like a culture of inclusion.
“It matters to people from all different cultures, different racial and ethnic backgrounds and different sexual orientations that they feel completely welcomed and comfortable at their firm,” she said.
Overall rankings for 2013 Best Law Firms for Diversity (top 10)
1 Carlton Fields, Tampa, FL
2 Ropes & Gray LLP, Boston, MA
3 Littler Mendelson P.C., San Francisco, CA
4 Debevoise & Plimpton LLP, New York, NY
5 Jenner & Block LLP, Chicago, IL
6 Shook, Hardy & Bacon L.L.P., Kansas City, MO
7 Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP, New York, NY
8 Fenwick & West LLP, Mountain View, CA
9 Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz, PC, Memphis, TN
10 Foley Hoag LLP, Boston, MA
For the full list and individual categories go to www.vault.com