Two firms headed by Vanderbilt Law alumni among Fortune’s “100 Best Companies to Work For”

Jan 17, 2014

Two law firms headed by Vanderbilt Law alumni—Baker Donelson, headed by CEO Ben C. Adams ‘81, and Alston & Bird, headed by Managing Partner Richard Hays ’86—were recognized among Fortune Magazine’s 2014 list of the “100 Best Companies to Work For.” Baker Donelson ranked 31st and Alston & Bird 40th, and both firms were among the top five in the “professional services” category.

Baker Donelson was cited for its “warm, caring environment that’s infused with elements of fun” as well as its culture of communication and collaboration. “Employees describe a well-run organization where people get strong training and development support, as well as the support to take time off when they require it,” the firm’s “Great-Rated” report stated. “You never have to guess about what is going on at the firm, nor do you have to wonder upon what information is management basing decisions,” said one employee. This was the fifth consecutive year Baker Donelson was listed among the “Best Companies to Work For.”

“Private practice is incredibly demanding and requires a lot of hard work and great teamwork to provide outstanding service to and results for our clients,” said Adams. “We believe that creating a very positive work environment helps our people better support our clients, our communities and each other.”

Alston & Bird was listed among Fortune’s “Best Companies to Work For” for the fifteenth consecutive year. The firm was cited for its “friendly” and “supportive” work environment at all firm offices. “The office environment, regardless of city, is congenial, collaborative, and unusually friendly,” stated one employee. “I truly believe this is the best law firm to work for if you want to do big law,” stated another, citing the fact that the firm encourages work-life balance. Noting that some firms are cutting back on perks and activities that encourage collegiality and camaraderie, a third employee said, “Working at a law firm is hard work. A&B does everything it can to make that hard work enjoyable.”

“It’s all about outcomes–building a positive, collaborative workplace where people feel supported and valued,” Hays said. “That, in turn, inspires people to come to work, do great things, and provide great client service. Going back over 100 years, our core values have focused on bringing together the best people, working hard toward the same goals, and doing it in an environment that values respect, creativity, camaraderie and leadership. At the end of the day, we think all of that comes together in the form of a stronger law firm and a great place to work.”

Adams and Hays were among 13 Vanderbilt Law alumni profiled in an article highlighting law firm CEOs in the Winter 2013 edition of Vanderbilt Law School’s alumni magazine, the Vanderbilt Lawyer.


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