CARLTON FIELDS TOPS DIVERSITY RANKINGS FOR WOMEN AND MINORITIES - REIGNS AS TOP FIRM FOR OVERALL DIVERSITY has released its 2012 Law Firm Diversity Rankings, and the more things change, the more they stay the same.  For the third straight year, Carlton Fields has claimed the No. 1 spot for its "Overall Diversity" initiatives.  Ropes & Gray jumped up one spot to No. 3 and cemented its status as the only firm to rank in the Top 3 in all four diversity categories. Significant gains were made by Littler Mendelson, which jumped from No. 10 last year to No. 2 for Overall Diversity and Jenner & Block, which jumped four spots from No. 8 to No. 4 in this year's Overall Diversity Rankings.  

Earlier this year, close to 16,000 law firm associates rated their employers on a variety of issues, including diversity initiatives and recruitment efforts with respect to minority, women and GLBT attorneys.  The results were released during the Vault/MCCA Legal Diversity Career Fair on Friday, July 29, 2011, in Washington, D.C. The career fair offered minority, female, and GLBT candidates, as well as candidates with disabilities, an opportunity to meet and present their resumes to hiring partners and recruiters from top law firms, government agencies, and corporate law departments.  During the event, Vault honored the Top 25 law firms which were the most highly rated by their own associates for their overall commitments to hiring, retaining and promoting diverse attorneys.

The Top 25 law firms honored for their overall commitments to diversity are:

1.    Carlton Fields
2.    Littler Mendelson
3.    Ropes & Gray
4.    Jenner & Block
5.    Weil, Gotshal & Manges
6.    Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton
7.    Shook, Hardy & Bacon   
8.    Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison
9.    Foley Hoag
10.  Debevoise & Plimpton
11.  Alston & Bird
12.  Morrison & Foerster
13.  Munger, Tolles & Olson
14.  Arent Fox
15.  Sullivan & Cromwell
16.  Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel
17.  Nixon Peabody
18.  Haynes and Boone
19.  Vinson & Elkins
20.  Robins, Kaplan, Miller & Ciresi
21.  Dewey & LeBoeuf
22.  Skadden
23.  Sutherland Asbill & Brennan
24.  Fenwick & West
25.  Schiff Hardin

"Vault's diversity rankings are unique because they are based on the perspectives of insider associates. These insiders view the firms' commitments to diversity first-hand and actually experience the firms' diversity initiatives and programs," said Mary Kate Sheridan, Vault's law editor. "The associates' insights and ratings are invaluable to law students and laterals in determining how focused a firm is on diversity in practice.  This year, and for the past three years, Carlton Fields has shown that unparalleled commitment to diversity."

In addition to earning the distinction as the top firm for Overall Diversity, Carlton Fields was also ranked No. 1 in Diversity for Women and in Diversity for Minorities.  Associates were proud of Carlton Fields' efforts to promote diversity, stating that "Carlton Fields treats diversity as a priority... The firm has a very strong tradition, and is simply not following the trend."

When it came to the Diversity for GLBT Rankings, Jenner & Block repeated as the No. 1 firm.  Jenner & Block insiders noted, "We are one of the more diverse firms that I am aware of, both in Chicago and nationally. I think we really succeed at GLBT recruitment, and do a great job at recruiting women as well."

In other news, Littler Mendelson realized dramatic improvements in this year's rankings, jumping up eight spots from last year's ranking to take the No. 2 spot in "Overall Diversity."  According to one Littler associate, "Littler has an excellent diversity program. They go above and beyond to recruit individuals from all walks of life. There are many examples of minority, female and GLBT partners within the firm and committees to foster the success of minorities, females and GLBTs."

Ropes & Gray was the only firm to rank in the Top 3 in all four categories.  One Ropes & Gray associate stated, "My impression is that the hiring team at Ropes is putting a very good effort into recruiting minorities of all kinds, including with new initiatives aimed at recruiting 1Ls."

View the entire 2012 Vault Law Firm Diversity Rankings on is the source of employer and education ratings, rankings and insight for highly credentialed, in-demand candidates. Vault's editorial mission is to empower candidates with unbiased research needed to evaluate the professions, industries and companies they aspire to join.  


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