For the second year in a row, national firm Polsinelli received “Gold Standard Certification” from the Women in Law Empowerment Forum (WILEF) for incorporating women into the highest levels of firm leadership.

With eligibility limited to U.S. firms with 300 or more attorneys, only 31 firms nationwide achieved this recognition, down from 44 in 2015 and 49 in 2014. WILEF’s Gold Standard Certification has increasingly become harder to obtain following the decision to tighten some of the criteria that firms must meet to demonstrate their commitment to promoting and fairly compensating women, according to the organization.

“Achieving the gold standard for the second year in a row is a testament to our firm’s culture of supporting women as leaders” said Shareholder Karen Dickinson of the firm’s Phoenix office. “Ensuring that women are able to achieve positions of leadership is important to our firm, our clients and the community at large. We are honored to be recognized for the consistent efforts our firm makes across 19 offices nationwide to promote the professional development and advancement of women in the firm.”

To receive the 2016 Gold Standard Certification, firms must have met four or more of six criteria. Those criteria are that women constitute a minimum of:

  • 20 percent of U.S. equity partners or, alternatively, one-third of non-lateral attorneys that became U.S. equity partners within the previous 12 months
  • 15 percent of firm and U.S. branch office heads combined
  • 20 percent of the primary governance committee
  • 20 percent of the compensation committee or its equivalent
  • 25 percent of U.S. practice group leaders/department heads
  • 15 percent of the top half of U.S. equity partners in terms of compensation

“Receiving this WILEF designation again reinforces our commitment to continue to support women’s advancement into leadership roles at the firm,” said Polsinelli Chairman Russ Welsh. “Without a doubt the many women leaders at Polsinelli positively impact our business and our clients’ businesses day in and day out.”

The Gold Standard Certification is the only program of its kind directed toward certifying, publicly recognizing and broadly publicizing eligible law firms that have integrated women into the highest leadership positions.

“We need to keep raising the bar in order to encourage firms to continue making progress,” said Elizabeth “Betiayn” Tursi, WILEF’s Global Chair.

Polsinelli has female leadership spread among its offices, as well as various practice areas. The firm’s Atlanta and Denver offices are led by female office managing partners. Women serve as practice chairs of large national practice groups, including Health Care Litigation, Labor and Employment, Commercial Litigation and EB-5 Foreign Investment. Additionally, women make up 25 percent of Polsinelli’s Board of Directors.

Earlier this year, Law360 ranked Polsinelli among its 100 best U.S. law firms for women, also for the second year in a row. The firm was recognized for its female representation from partner to associate levels and the total number of female attorneys.