NEW YORK (November 12, 2007) – Citing the firm’s long commitment to the advancement of women in the legal profession, the National Association of Women Judges named Morrison & Foerster LLP this year’s recipient of the Florence K. Murray award. It is the first time the award has been given to a law firm. The award was presented at the NAWJ’s annual gala dinner held November 10th in Philadelphia.
The award, named after former Rhode Island Supreme Court Associate Justice Florence K. Murray, is presented to a non-judge who has influenced women to pursue legal careers, opened doors for women attorneys, or advanced opportunities for women within the legal profession.
Morrison & Foerster was honored for its longstanding equity policies that have led to the advancement of women within the firm, including the promotion of women to prominent management roles. The firm is the NAWJ’s first “Landmark Sponsor,” providing office space and support services for the organization’s New York-based Executive Director, Drucilla Ramey. Several Morrison & Foerster attorneys also hold leadership roles at the NAWJ, including New York partner Jamie Levitt, who serves as co-chair of the NAWJ’s Resource Board.
The NAWJ noted that a number of Morrison & Foerster women partners hold leadership positions throughout the firm, including New York office Managing Partner Karen Hagberg and two of the Managing Partners for operations, Pamela Reedand Anna Erickson White. A number of major firmwide practice groups – including intellectual property and litigation – have been chaired or co-chaired by women. Currently, 19% percent of the firm’s partners are women.
“As a firm, we have instilled policies and maintain a culture that help women develop as leaders, and we wholeheartedly share the NAWJ’s commitment to advancing women at all levels in the profession. It’s a great honor to be recognized for these efforts through the Florence Murray Award,” said Ms. Hagberg, who accepted the award for the firm. “For the next generation of women judges and lawyers to thrive, all of us need to continue creating opportunities and building leadership roles for young women attorneys.”
Morrison & Foerster has regularly been listed as one of the top-ranking firms nationwide for gender equity, including women’s leadership, advancement opportunities, work/life balance, mentoring, and diversity. In 2006, the firm launched its Women’s Initiative to promote recruitment of women at lateral partner levels, retention of women, and the advancement of women into the partnership. The firm has also been a leader in the use of flex-time and part-time working arrangements for attorneys. Since 2000, nine women have been elected to the partnership while working part-time hours, including four in 2007 alone. A number of women attorneys – including Ms. Levitt and Ms. Hagberg – were actually elevated to partner while on maternity leave.
The NAWJ is the latest organization to honor the firm for its efforts in advancing women’s equity. Morrison & Foerster was the first law firm to receive the prestigious Catalyst Award, honoring companies nationally that promote the leadership development of female employees. Earlier this year, Morrison & Foerster was named jointly by Working Mother magazine and Flex-Time Lawyers as one of the country’s best law firms for women for its commitment to the retention and advancement of women lawyers. The firm has also been honored 13 times by Working Mother magazine as one of the “100 Best Companies” in the U.S.