The West Coast law firm ranked seventh among U.S. law firms for women
West Coast law firm Miller Nash Graham & Dunn LLP has been ranked number one nationally in the “Ceiling Smasher” ranking of equity partner-level gender equality among similar size law firms (150 - 299 lawyers) by Law360. The firm also ranked seventh as best law firm for female attorneys at all levels in the nation.
Law360, a media outlet owned by LexisNexis, surveys law firms each year to determine national rankings based on a firm’s female representation at the partner and nonpartner levels. This is the third year Miller Nash Graham & Dunn has appeared near the top of the "Ceiling Smasher" and "Best Law Firm for Female Attorneys" lists.
According to Law360, women make up 34.8 percent of all attorneys and 20 percent of partners in law firms across the country. Miller Nash Graham & Dunn nearly doubles the national average, with women making up 37.7 percent of the firms equity partnership. The firm has an active diversity and inclusion committee advising on hiring, professional development, and retention efforts to increase gender and racial equality throughout the firm.
Law360 highlighted Miller Nash Graham & Dunn LLP female partners Jeanne Sinnott and Naomi Haslitt in their article accompanying the release of the lists, "Best Law Firms for Female Partners."
When Jeanne Sinnott, a Portland-based litigator, returned to the firm after having the first of her two children, she worked an 80 percent schedule for eight or nine months. But the firm didn't change her track. The firm leadership was similarly supportive after she went on leave for her second child, she said, and its leaders never took an opportunity away from Sinnott.
In many firms, the reduced hours and two maternity leaves — six months after having her first child, five months after her second — could have set Sinnott back for several years.
"Obviously, my hours weren't great," Sinnott said. "I had two kids in the past six years."
But instead of docking Sinnott, Miller Nash annualized her numbers. If she worked six months, the firm assumed she would have worked the same amount in the six months she was on leave.
"There is a long-term view that's taken," said Sinnott, who is now an equity partner. "If you have a bad year, it's not that you're not worthy of being there; you have other obligations to tend to. It's a marathon, not a sprint."
Regarding creating firm leadership programs aiming to promote women, Law360 went on to state,
At Miller Nash, there are both formal and informal efforts to push top female attorneys into committees and other positions of leadership. This can help female attorneys obtain equity partnership while also creating more gender parity at the top for the firm.
"I do think there has been intentionality in how we have addressed the practicalities of working moms and female attorneys in our firm, which are some of those low-hanging fruit to address," said Naomi Haslitt, a Miller Nash equity partner who co-chairs the firm's diversity and inclusion committee. "I think there are also some issues and initiatives around the longer runway of culture and culture shifts that we have also tried to address."