I am not a Wal-Mart Dad.
In fact, I hate Wal-Mart. With some modest qualifications.
I admire their selection of "over-under shotguns" and their environmentally sound support of low-energy light bulbs. I respect the recent success of their PR machine in neutralizing the flood of negative publicity they received for locking their workers in their stores at night. I also cannot deny it - there is no moment quite so heart-warming as the sight of a Wal-Mart Greeter. Be that as it may, we all know that Wal-Mart epitomizes the evisceration of the American soul.
However, Wal-Mart and my company do have one thing in common besides the incredible vastness of our revenues. We both retain law firms that meet our "diversity standards", and we both have moved "millions of dollars" away from law firms that do not meet those standards.
While our global headquarters is in Seattle, we have retained Folger Levin & Kahn, a California law firm, as our outside counsel. In a recent issue, Working Mother Magazine named FLK one of the top-50 law firms for female attorneys, based on "workforce profile, family-friendly benefits and policies, flexibility, leadership, compensation, advancement of women and retention of women." (Fact Sheet here)
The selection process occurs by application, so of course it is possible that only 52 law firms applied. Nonetheless. We are proud that FLK represents us because they have committed themselves as a firm to values of respect, equality, and fairness that also are important to Knowledge Mosaic.
Much smaller than the average firm on this "female-friendly" list, FLK employs about 60 attorneys, half of whom are women (the average firm size on this list is closer to 600). And while only 16 percent of the partners in firms nationwide are female - only 19 percent even on this female-friendly list - at FLK, nearly 50 percent of the partners are women! I do believe this is far and away the highest percentage of any of the law firms on the Working Woman list.
Here are some other fun facts. More than 85 percent of attorneys promoted to equity partner in the past five years at FLK were women. Two of the four practice heads are women. So is the managing partner. FLK also offers an astounding 24 weeks of maternity leave, no minimum floor for billable hours, and the option to work reduced hours. Pretty good stuff.
Folger Levin & Kahn offers proof that the traditional law firm mantra of "Bill, Baby, Bill" may properly belong to a different century. Perhaps now, we just might hear law firms chanting, "Jill, Baby, Jill!"
And what of Wal-Mart? Dare we don a blue vest to mark our solidarity with them in this commitment to gender equality in the legal community? Perhaps we should. Wal-Mart's commitment appears to be real. Of the 52 Wal-Mart attorneys listed on Martindale.com, 25 are women. Soulless and eviscerated though it may be, one cannot deny the equality.