Kutak Rock Among “Ceiling Smasher” Law Firms for Women PartnersNews | July 25, 2017
Law360 has named Kutak Rock among the best law firms for women partners in its 2017 Glass Ceiling Report. The firm ranked second among Biglaw firms with 300-599 attorneys nationally, and has the highest percentage of women equity partners in all but two of the nation’s law firms with 300 attorneys or more. A national benchmark for gender parity, the Law360 report highlights U.S. firms that excel at supporting women attorneys and promoting them to equity partnership.
With women making up 32% of the partnership and 35% of attorneys overall, Kutak Rock’s ongoing support of diversity and inclusiveness is paying off. The national average for female equity partnership in U.S. firms with 300-599 attorneys is 19%; the average percentage of female attorneys overall is 33.7. This year, 57% of the firm’s new partners are women.
“A commitment to diversity is in the lifeblood of this firm and is why we have so many women throughout the firm in leadership positions,” said Deborah Froling, head of the firm’s Women’s Affinity Group and a partner in the firm’s Washington, D.C. office. “It is a visible signal to all lawyers and clients that the firm doesn’t just ‘talk the talk’ but ‘walks the walk’, allowing the recruitment, retention and promotion of women lawyers nationwide.”
Since Kutak Rock opened its doors in 1965, the firm’s culture has embraced diversity and equality in the legal profession, making strategic efforts to hire women attorneys long before laws required it. While Law360 reports that the national average for women equity partners is not growing as rapidly as they’d hope, they attribute the “Ceiling Smashers’” success to specific kinds of efforts—ones that Kutak Rock has been making for most of its existence. Firm efforts include flexibility in work arrangements, Women’s Affinity Group educational and networking meetings and gatherings of small groups of women lawyers across the firm for cross-office collaboration and discussion.
“I’m happy to see Kutak Rock receiving the recognition it deserves, but I’m not surprised,” said Leslie Powell, a partner in the firm’s Atlanta office. “Through the firm’s focus on diversity initiatives, I now have regular opportunities to network with female attorneys in Kutak Rock offices across the country, all from the comfort of my desk. As a new mother, the firm’s generous parental leave policy allowed me to take the time I needed to care for my family and return to my practice on my own terms. Whether I’m growing my practice or growing my family, Kutak Rock supports me.”