Bright Spots - Diversity & Flexibility Alliance

Bright Spots can be small or large successes that impact your organization in a positive way. When you’ve worked hard to create an important diversity or flexibility initiative that truly impacts your organization’s bottom line, recruitment and retention capabilities or employee satisfaction, you should celebrate your Bright Spots.  When you share your Bright Spots you are building momentum for future initiatives and building support from your colleagues. Additionally, the simple act of compiling your successes can help you self-reflect, take stock and plan your future goals.

As a community of organizations dedicated to the evolution of diversity and flexibility in the workplace, we at the Alliance want to share your successes. We also hope to encourage a “Ripple Effect” so that organizations will see positive results elsewhere and implement the same strategies at home.

We encourage you to take a moment now to reflect on your diversity and flexibility successes and celebrate your Bright Spots. Please share your Diversity & Flexibility Bright Spots with us by downloading and filling out THIS SHORT FORM and emailing it to Jane Caldeira at (Please make sure you give your form a new “save as” name.) You’ll even have the chance to win a $50 Starbucks gift card!


2019 Bright Spots


BRIGHT SPOT – Winston & Strawn’s Gender Neutral Parental Leave Policy

One of international law firm Winston & Strawn’s Bright Spots is its Gender-Neutral Parental Leave Policy. After working with the Alliance to clearly identify employee needs and firm goals, Winston & Strawn was able to expand its parental leave policy to better support the demands of today’s families. Implemented in 2016, the policy allows 20 weeks of paid leave for attorneys regardless of gender to care for and bond with a new baby or child. Additionally, parents are not required to designate themselves as “primary” or “secondary” caregivers. The parental leave can be taken at one time or in two increments within a year of the birth or adoption of a child.

Winston also developed a Parental Leave Transition Support Program that includes a Parental Leave Liaison, an external, confidential career coach, and “ramp down” and “ramp up” periods during which billable hours are adjusted to aid in the transition for new parents. The policy applies to all US-based Associates and Of Counsel attorneys. Improvements also were made to the policies for practice attorneys and staff.


By removing the primary and secondary caregiver designations, Winston & Strawn has been able to shift the focus of parental leave from one that focuses on just women to one that focuses on all parents. Since the implementation of the policy, the firm has seen a consistent year-over-year increase in the percentage of men taking parental leave, as well as the length of leave time taken by men. For example, the average length of parental leave taken by men in 2018 was more than double the average length of time taken prior to the implementation of the policy. In addition, in 2018, over 20% of men taking parental leave took 18-20 weeks, in either one or two increments.

The Parental Leave Liaison and coach have been instrumental in helping attorneys maintain their connection to the firm and feel supported before, during and after their leave, with many associates choosing to participate in the firm-provided coaching. The policy has allowed parents at Winston & Strawn to find long-term career success while also caring for their families. Winston received Family Leave category honors in Yale Law Women’s “Top Family Friendly Firms of 2017,” an honor that will undoubtedly impact recruitment.

Since receiving the Diversity & Flexibility Alliance’s 2017 Flex Impact Award, Winston & Strawn has been seen as a trailblazer in the field. The firm is helping to drive innovation and inspire other firms to reevaluate their policies to better meet the needs of today’s families. The Alliance has seen an increase in these types of Gender-Neutral policies which can have a significant impact on the culture of flexibility and can clearly impact recruitment and retention.


Wilson Elser's WAVE Subcommittee


A Bright Spot at national law firm, Wilson Elser is its WAVE (Women Attorneys Valued & Empowered) subcommittee within its Diversity & Inclusion Committee. The WAVE subcommittee focuses on the needs of and issues facing women attorneys by overseeing programming at the national and regional levels, including:

– WAVE Makers, which highlights and celebrates the many professional achievements of the firm’s women attorneys;

– Pathway to Success, which provides a forum for committee members and others to share information with women attorneys on compensation and advancement within the firm;

– Leadership Development, which includes a speaker series with subject-matter experts discussing challenges women face in the work place;

– A Mentoring Program that matches women associates with senior attorneys who can provide valuable information and insights on strengthening client service and enhancing their practices. To date, 89 matches have been made in the mentoring program.


The Diversity & Inclusion Committee and its WAVE subcommittee have empowered the women at Wilson Elser and have led to more women taking leadership roles within the firm — in the Chair’s Office, on the Executive Committee, as Practice Group leaders, and as Regional Managing Partners of offices. Attorneys at all levels are participating in the Diversity & Inclusion Committee and its WAVE subcommittee and the programming, addressing issues such as racial and gender bias and wage discrimination, has been very well received.

Additionally, the firm’s most recent class of partner promotions speaks to the strength of its diversity & inclusion efforts and to the strength of the women within the firm. In January of this year, the firm promoted 10 attorneys to equity partner, seven of whom were women, and 19 attorneys to non-equity partner, eight of whom were women. These strong numbers of women promoted outweigh the industry averages of women who occupy these ranks in the top 200 US law firms.

Law Firms with 50% or Greater in their 2018 New Partner Class


For our inaugural 2019 Bright Spots, we’re celebrating these 42 law firms who had 50% or greater women in their 2018 New Partner Class. (Check out our 2018 New Partner Report Executive Summary for more details.)

  1. Arent Fox
  2. Arnold & Porter
  3. Baker Donelson
  4. Boies Schiller & Flexner
  5. Brown Rudnick
  6. Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner
  7. Cahill Gordon & Reindel
  8. Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton
  9. Cozen O’Connor
  10. Debevoise & Plimpton
  11. Dechert
  12. Dentons
  13. Epstein Becker & Green
  14. Farella Braun + Martel
  15. Foley Hoag
  16. Fox Rothschild
  17. Fragomen, Del Rey, Bernsen & Loewy
  18. Gibbons
  19. Goldberg Kohn
  20. Holland & Hart
  21. Jenner & Block
  22. Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel
  23. LeClairRyan
  24. Littler Mendelson
  25. McDermott Will & Emery
  26. Miles & Stockbridge
  27. Morgan, Lewis & Bockius
  28. Morrison & Foerster
  29. Norton Rose Fulbright
  30. Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart
  31. O’Melveny & Myers
  32. Parker Poe Adams & Bernstein
  33. Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman
  34. Saul Ewing
  35. Schiff Hardin
  36. Shutts & Bowen
  37. Sidley Austin
  38. Squire Patton Boggs
  39. Steptoe & Johnson
  40. Thompson Hine
  41. Wiley Rein
  42. Zuckerman Spaeder

Kudos to these firms for their commitment to the advancement of women and taking the legal industry one step closer to balancing the gender diversity scale!