Harrity #1 on Vault.com’s Best Midsize Firm To Work For Rankings

Vault ‘Quality Of Life’ Rankings: The Best Midsize Law Firms To Work For (2021)

Did your law firm make the cut this time around?

(Above the Law, September 17, 2020) Vault recently published the 2021 edition of all manner of its closely watched rankings for the largest law firms in the country, proving that money — in the form of Cravath’s perennially competitive pay scale — can buy prestige and happiness.

But what about the nation’s midsized and regional firms? Which ones are the best to work for, and will young associates be happy there as associates Today, Vault released the latest edition of its list of the 25 Best Midsize Law Firms to Work For.

Associates at firms with 200 attorneys or fewer were asked to rank their own law firms based on categories most relevant to their overall quality of life, including overall satisfaction; firm culture; hours; compensation; quality of work; informal training, mentorship, and sponsorship; business outlook; career outlook; associate/partner relations; leadership transparency; and formal training.

There was a huge amount of movement in the Top 10 this year. Which firms made the cut? Without any further ado, here are the Top 10 Best Midsize Law Firms to Work For based on Vault’s Annual Associate Survey for 2021:

  1. Harrity & Harrity (not ranked; first time in Top 10)
  2. Lightfoot, Franklin & White (+20)
  3. Bookoff McAndrews (-2)
  4. Smyser Kaplan & Veselka (not ranked; first time in Top 10)
  5. Farella Braun + Martel (+7)
  6. Susman Godfrey (-4)
  7. Greenberg Glusker Fields Claman & Machtinger (-4)
  8. Robinson, Bradshaw & Hinson (not ranked; first time in Top 10)
  9. Stotler Hayes Group (not ranked; first time in Top 10)
  10. Fitch, Even, Tabin & Flannery (not ranked; first time in Top 10)

That’s a whole lot of firms that have never been ranked before, but if you scroll further down the list, you’ll see a lot of more familiar names. Harrity & Harrity shared the spotlight with Susman Godfrey (Vault’s best litigation boutique) this year in terms of claiming No. 1 spots in the rankings. That said, here are the No. 1 firms in each Quality of Life category for 2021:

Congratulations to each of the firms that made the latest edition of the Vault Best Midsize Firms to Work For rankings, and a huge congratulations to Harrity & Harrity and Susman Godfrey for sweeping the rankings.

Best Midsize Law Firms to Work For (2021) [Vault]

About Harrity & Harrity, LLP

Harrity & Harrity is a leading patent preparation and prosecution firm specializing in the electrical and mechanical technology areas, and is considered a Go-To Firm for the Patent 300™.  Their clients trust in their high-quality work, experienced people, industry leading innovation, and outstanding service.


Harrity & Harrity Named Best Midsize Firm To Work For

Law360 (September 18, 2020, 10:43 PM EDT) — Virginia-based patent prosecution firm Harrity & Harrity LLP is this year’s best midsize law firm to work for, according to Vault.com’s annual rankings released Thursday.

Harrity & Harrity claimed the top spot on Vault’s Best Midsize Law Firms to Work For list, based on a survey of thousands of associates. Harrity & Harrity — which didn’t even make the Top 10 list last year — usurped Bookoff McAndrews LLP, which went down two slots to third on the list.

Harrity & Harrity topped the categories of associate and partner relations, diversity, firm culture, hours, satisfaction, and technology and innovation, while sharing the top spot for quality of work.

Managing Partner John E. Harrity told Law360 on Friday that the firm strives to foster a creative and hard-working environment in which employees are encouraged to communicate openly and where feedback and ideas are taken very seriously.

“Our firm’s success is owed to our employees, and we owe it to them to provide a supportive and collaborative environment for them to grow and succeed,” Harrity said. “With that said, this recognition is a huge honor and achievement, reflective of the quality of life that we strive to provide to every member of our team.”

Alabama-based litigation firm Lightfoot Franklin & White LLC was ranked second on the list. Vault noted that Lightfoot — along with Franklin & White and Smyser Kaplan & Veselka — “stood out from the rest” as it placed on all 13 categories, such as transparency and wellness.

“We embrace a ‘learn by doing’ approach with our associates, giving them early and consistent opportunities to gain experience and expand their skills through high-level work both inside and outside of the courtroom,” Lightfoot managing partner Melody Eagan said in a statement on Friday.

Washington, D.C.-based patent prosecution firm Bookoff McAndrews shared the top spot for quality of work with Lightfoot Franklin and Harrity & Harrity.

Dinesh N. Melwani, a partner at Bookoff McAndrews, told Law360 on Friday that the firm places a large emphasis on cultivating a friendly atmosphere that fosters teamwork, collaboration and a sense of community.

“Our inclusive workplace culture has been and will continue to be paramount to our success as an organization,” Melwani said. “We believe that when our attorneys enjoy work that is valued, we will be able to consistently provide high levels of quality work product and client service.”

Rounding out the Top 10 were Smyser Kaplan, Farella Braun & Martel LLPSusman Godfrey LLPGreenberg Glusker Fields Claman & Machtinger LLPRobinson Bradshaw & Hinson PA, Stotler Hayes Group LLC and Fitch Even Tabin & Flannery LLP.

Diversity Lab announced Tuesday that 23 midsize firms will participate in a new iteration of the Mansfield Rule specifically for firms with fewer than 100 lawyers in the U.S. The rule means the firms have shown that candidates they considered for key positions — such as governance roles and equity partner promotions — included at least 30% women, LGBTQ attorneys, racial and ethnic minorities, and lawyers with disabilities.

The 18-month pilot of the Midsize Mansfield Rule “has been fine-tuned to boost diversity in leadership for firms with smaller lawyer populations, single office locations and leaner firm leadership structures,” according to Diversity Lab.

–Additional reporting by Michele Gorman and Hailey Konnath. Editing by Michael Watanabe.

About Harrity & Harrity, LLP

Harrity & Harrity is a leading patent preparation and prosecution firm specializing in the electrical and mechanical technology areas, and is considered a Go-To Firm for the Patent 300™.  Their clients trust in their high-quality work, experienced people, industry leading innovation, and outstanding service.


Harrity Implements Optional 3PM Start for Support Staff Due to Virtual School

Harrity & Harrity, the Go-To Firm for the Patent 300™, has adjusted its flexible start time to accommodate distance learning.  With schools across the country implementing virtual classes this fall, Harrity leadership announced that employees have the option begin their workday as late as 3:00 pm, allowing working parents and caretakers to focus on both the education of their children and their careers.

The firm already offers schedule flexibility, remote options, and a 7.5-hour workday, and recently implemented a four-day work week trial period for support staff.  The 3 pm start-time is just one more way Harrity is improving life/work balance in the legal field.

“At Harrity, we understand the predicament that virtual learning can create for working parents who are trying to balance their child’s schoolwork and their own career.  We don’t believe in making our team choose between their family and their success, and recognize that with schools across the country practicing e-learning this fall, that is the unfortunate reality for many,” said John Harrity, Managing Partner.

“Effective immediately, we have modified our flexible hours to allow staff to start their workday as late as 3 pm, when most school days end.  This will allow parents to assist with classwork and childcare during normal school hours, without using PTO or falling behind at work.”

The new policy has been well-received by staff, as it offers relief to the firm’s working parents struggling to find a balance.

Back in March, Autumn Vanatta, a Patent Prosecution Specialist at Harrity, began sharing her remote office with her two children.

At the time, her husband was also home and able to assist with helping their two children, in 1st and 4th grades, complete their online assignments.  “We were one of the few schools that continued actual grading, classes were not just pass/fail, so sometimes it required teaching new material to the kids.  Some days this took a lot of time and effort because we are not trained to be school teachers, so we put forth the extra effort to learn how to teach our children the lessons so they would not fall behind.”

However, as school starts back this fall Autumn’s husband will not be home to assist with school.  Her children will be in a school district holding virtual classes so she jumped at the opportunity to start her workday later.

“I really wasn’t sure how I was going to balance two kids “in” school and working during the same hours, knowing how much time and effort my husband and I put into the last few months of the last school year.  The 3pm start time will keep me from feeling pulled in three directions – responding to work in a timely manner and assisting two kids (in different grades) with school,” she said.

Docketing Specialist Julie Swartz added how appreciative she is of the firm’s consideration and support of its staff.

“Not only does Harrity & Harrity encourage their employees to innovate and excel while on the job, but also in life.  In addition to the benefit of working remotely, having a flexible schedule empowers me to focus my attention on my child’s online schooling during typical working hours,” stated Julie. “The firm has alleviated the problem so many parents are facing during these difficult times- to be an educator, a role model, and a dedicated employee – all within the confines of 9 to 5.”


About Harrity & Harrity, LLP

Harrity & Harrity is a leading patent preparation and prosecution firm specializing in the electrical and mechanical technology areas, and is considered a Go-To Firm for the Patent 300™.  Their clients trust in their high-quality work, experienced people, industry leading innovation, and outstanding service.

For more information on Harrity’s life/work balance and other factors that contribute to their high employee satisfaction and great team culture, and to apply to current openings, please visit harrityllp.com/careers.


Harrity Allows Staff to Choose Own Work Schedule Due to Virtual School

As working parents try to figure out how they will help their children with virtual learning this fall, one local law firm is trying to set an example.

The firm Harrity and Harrity is based in Fairfax, Virginia, but has employees nationwide and just announced its staff can now choose their own schedule with the ability to start the day as late as three o’clock in the afternoon.


Managing partner John Harrity tells FOX 5: “Is someone supposed to quit their job just so they can sit with their kids to make sure that they’re learning all day? That’s a devastating situation.”

Harrity says many of his employees are taking him up on the 3 p.m. start time and his firm is hoping others take notice and consider offering their staff the same flexibility.

For more information on Harrity’s life/work balance and other factors that contribute to their high employee satisfaction and great team culture, and to apply to current openings, please visit harrityllp.com/careers.


Harrity Implements Four-Day Work Week

Harrity & Harrity, the Go-To Firm for the Patent 300 ™, has implemented a four-day work week for support staff.  This summer, each support team has selected one month to test out the shortened work week, splitting up who takes which day off in rotation.

The firm already offers schedule flexibility, remote options, and a 7.5-hour workday.  The ultimate goal of the four-day work week is to maintain this, allowing staff to work just 30 hours per week without taking any cuts in pay.

“Obviously, we have deadlines, and timeliness is an extremely important part of the services we provide our clients,” says John Harrity, Managing Partner.  “Support staff will work a longer day if they have to in order to ensure all work is completed on time, but the intention of the four-day work week is not to work four 10-hour days.  The goal is to continue with our normal 7.5-hour day, with a 30-hour work week.”

The idea came about in 2019, with the goal of attaining true life/work balance- a significant component of Harrity’s firm culture.  Although many things still need to be achieved before the firm can implement this full-time, shortened summer weeks are a step in the right direction.

“The future of the firm,” says John, “will be permanent four-day work weeks.”

And, it seems to be going well so far.

“I’ve done a four-day work week before and I love doing it; I think our team really likes it too. Who doesn’t want to cut their work week down to four days?” says Sara Stesney, Manager of the New Applications Support Team.

Another advantage, she adds, is the fact that the benefit is shared by the whole team.

“The individuals on my team are incredibly hardworking and responsible.  Despite the firm’s ample PTO policy, they are hesitant to take any paid time off, because they know their absence will increase the workload of their other team members and they just don’t want to create more work for anyone else. With the four-day work week, everyone contributes to the extra workload, and everyone enjoys the extra time off.   I’ve already seen the benefits of the shortened week reflected in the mindsets of my team members.  They come back from their day off truly refreshed and ready to tackle their work, without the feeling of guilt for putting a burden on their colleagues.”

For more information on Harrity’s life/work balance and other factors that contribute to their high employee satisfaction and great team culture, and to apply to current openings, please visit harrityllp.com/careers.

Responding to Coronavirus in the Workplace

As the coronavirus, or COVID-19 outbreak continues to spread across the nation, companies small and large are beginning to express concern over the potential effects the virus will have on business operations. Many communities have begun closing schools and public centers, postponing social events, and encouraging citizens to stay home. This inevitably is causing disruptions in the workforce as businesses decide what precautions to take and how to prepare for emergency responses in the event their own employees are diagnosed.

John Harrity, Managing Partner of IP boutique Harrity & Harrity, LLP, sat down for an interview for Law Practice Today, the webzine of the American Bar Association’s Law Practice Management Division, regarding how his firm is responding to the outbreak.

Q: What kind of relevant preparedness plans did the firm already have in place prior to the outbreak of the coronavirus?

A: We have previously thought about disaster recovery preparedness and what that would entail. In recent years, we have implemented an optional remote policy for all attorneys and allow in-office employees to work from home once a week. This allows us to ensure that everyone in the firm is equipped and fully able and accustomed to remote work. If the building closes, if there is an emergency incident, if there is a health concern, we are fully prepared to have both attorneys and staff telework.

Q: Has the firm implemented any policies yet regarding traveling or working from home?

A: In addition to the optional remote policy we already have in place, we have implemented further policies and recommendations in response to the outbreak. The first occurred within a few days of the virus reaching the US. We were monitoring the situation and released a memo to the firm that recommended not travelling via plane or attending a conference, if avoidable. If someone were to do either, they were instructed to not come into the office for the subsequent fourteen days to ensure no signs of symptoms- which typically arise within a two-week frame of contact with the virus. If someone were to show signs of symptoms, whether they traveled or not, they were also instructed to stay home. As the virus continued to spread, we distributed a second memo, in which we highly recommended that everyone work from home. The next step, if the virus continues to worsen in our area, would be a mandatory work from home policy.

Q: What steps have you taken (technological or otherwise) to make it easier for attorneys and other employees to work remotely, assuming that may eventually be necessary?

A: As mentioned, all of our employees are fully equipped to work from home with the same set-up we have in the office, including dual monitors and webcams. We are already paperless and cloud-based, allowing everyone to access necessary documents and systems whether or not they are in the office. With 60% of our firm already remote, we rely on video conferencing on a daily basis to conduct face-to-face meetings and utilize an instant messaging system for easy contact. Operationally, there is zero difference between how we were running two months ago to how we run today.

Q: What action will be taken if an employee is diagnosed with the coronavirus?

A: Currently, everyone is encouraged to work remotely to decrease the likelihood of the virus spreading if any employee were to be diagnosed. We additionally have an unlimited time off policy for attorneys and ample time off for staff, which can be utilized should they become sick. If sickness extends to a lengthy period of time, all employees have access to short term and long term disability through the firm, and fully paid medical benefits to receive proper treatment.

Q: What do you anticipate will be the biggest challenges for the firm in the days ahead as more people nationwide (and potentially at your firm) contract the virus?

A: Logistically, the spread of the coronavirus will have zero impact on our firm as a whole. If someone in the firm actually gets it, they of course would be impacted, but dependent upon the severity of their symptoms, are able to continue working remotely. However, there’s a possibility that, as companies require employees to work from home, schools close, and people become sick, there will be less innovation, which equals less filing. While we are prepared to continue operations as normal, our biggest anticipated challenge and what we have to prepare for is the impact from a workload standpoint. This may require attorneys to take some time off or become more involved in other aspects of the firm’s operations, such as business development, diversity initiatives, and charity until patent services pick back up.

Q: Have you announced any changes to HR/benefits policies to address potential scenarios that could arise, such as an employee becoming ill for an extended period of time or having to care for a family member?

A: Our benefits package, including medical care, ample PTO and disability, is already accommodating to a scenario like this. In addition to our remote policies, we allow employees to work flexible schedules, working whichever hours fit best within their personal schedule.

Q: What is your plan if numerous employees are unable to work due to having the coronavirus or caring for afflicted family members, or school closures?

A: With employees working from home and allowing them the flexibility to work whatever hours they need to, their production should not be affected. However, if they become sick, or need to prioritize the well-being of their family, they are welcome to utilize paid time off. From an attorney’s perspective, they have unlimited leave and can focus on the health of themselves and their families without repercussions. Staff starts at 23 paid days off, plus holidays, or can use disability if it comes to it.

Q: What are attorneys and staff expressing the most concern about?

A: With everyone already prepared and accustomed to working remotely, being aware of their benefits, and able to decide their own hours, we have not had anyone express concern about the virus.

Q: Is there anything else you’d like to share on this topic?

A: I just want to reiterate how beneficial our remote policy and flexibility have been during this scare. We have not had to worry about what our firm will do to keep things running, change our technology, train our employees on teleworking, or modify our operations, because we have already implemented all of these changes and were fully prepared.

Research shows that providing employees with flexible schedules and remote options is beneficial for morale, production, employee satisfaction, and business growth- all factors Harrity took into account when establishing these policies in recent years. A worldwide health crisis was not something on the radar while making these decisions but has proven to be a driving reason to support teleworking and flex hours in the current climate. By already having implemented these policies, Harrity employees were not only prepared, but generally unaffected by the firm’s recommendation to telework. While many other companies are dealing with the chaos of how to respond to the outbreak while keeping their operations running smoothly, it’s business as usual at Harrity. If possible, we encourage all businesses to implement a work-from-home policy in order to decrease the likelihood of the virus spreading and hope a resolution is near.


About John Harrity

John Harrity is the co-founder and managing partner of Harrity & Harrity, LLP, a boutique IP law firm focused on patent preparation and prosecution. John’s practice highlights his ample experience in the patent field, which includes client counseling, business management, and drafting and prosecuting hundreds of patent applications. In addition, John serves as the co-chair of the American Heart Association’s Lawyers Have Heart Race, one of the Washington, DC area’s largest philanthropic events.