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Work It, TriCities

Three law firms with offices in Richmond have been named among the “50 Best Law Firms for Women” by Working Mother magazine and the consulting firm Flex-Time Lawyers.

Richmond-based McGuireWoods and Hunton & Williams along with Reed Smith, which has an office in Richmond, appear on the list in the August/September issue of the magazine.

The top 50 recognizes law firms with family-friendly policies and business development initiatives that help retain women and advance them into leadership positions.

The results are based on such criteria as a law firm’s policies on maternity leave, compensation, reduced-hour and flex-time policies, leadership, and development and advancement of women.

McGuireWoods was recognized for such policies as offering 18 weeks of paid maternity leave. New parents also may return to work on a reduced-hours schedule. The firm also offers adoption aid, subsidized backup care for families and flex schedules.

The leave also is available for men, said Vishwa Link, a partner at McGuireWoods who has been with the firm for seven years.

“I think all these things provide an atmosphere that helps ease the burden and eliminate any kind of perception that having a child inhibits your growth as a lawyer,” Link said.

The magazine also noted the firm’s active role in a local women lawyers network that holds regular meetings and events and helps women lawyers network with one another and other businesses.

Hunton & Williams was given kudos for its customized schedules that allow attorneys to scale back their hours, telecommute, work on a project-to-project basis or even take up to five years off.

Those programs “have been an integral part of our recruitment and retention activities over the course of time,” said John D. O’Neill Jr., the managing partner at Hunton & Williams. “It has proven to be very successful for us.”

At Reed Smith, women make up 36 percent of this firm’s leaders and 43 percent of its executive committee. To help more female associates and partners move into equity roles, two pilot programs provide them with sponsorship, training, coaching and business development grants.