Law 360 on Monday of this week announced the results of its inaugural Social Impact Study of law firms. The study was designed to rank firms based on socially responsible business practices. In particular, the study attempted to evaluate firms across four pillars: racial and ethnic diversity, gender equality, employee engagement, and pro bono service. Law 360 only released the scores of those firms which scored in the top 100.
The top 5 firms overall (out of 100 firms) were, in order from the top:
- Morrison & Forrester
- Arnold & Porter
The bottom five firms (again out of 100 firms), in order from the bottom:
- Moore & Van Allen
- Fish & Richardson
- Sterne Kessler
Here are the top firms in each category:
- Racial and ethnic diversity: Zuber Lawler (41 total attorneys)
- Gender equality: Wilson Turner (46 total attorneys)
- Employee engagement: Blank Rome (614), Butler Snow (376), and Hamilton Brook (32) tied for high scores.
- Pro bono service: Jenner & Block (475).
Note that the highest-scoring firms in the racial and ethnic diversity and gender equality categories were relatively small. Among larger firms, Morrison & Forrester and Wilson Sonsini scored high in racial and ethnic diversity. The Littler firm scored high in gender equality.
Internally, the score for pillars for which Law360 did not receive data are considered zeroes. Note that many firms did not submit data on pro bono work; at the average firm, only 27.1% met the ABA benchmark of 50 hours of pro bono per year.
I’m not quite sure what to make of this data since it’s the first such survey Law360 has done in this area. So there’s nothing to compare it to yet.
I’m not quite sure what to make of this data since it’s the first such survey Law360 has done in this area. So there’s nothing to compare it to yet. (I hope Law360 will make this an annual study for just this reason).
The averages for pro bono seem low, although several firms, some very large, not only met the 50-hour benchmark, but exceeded it. So that’s promising. The fact that many firms did not submit data makes me think that the overall average may be lower than the 27% reported.
But it’s good to have this data and snapshot. It will be interesting to see what next year brings.