(CHICAGO) Katten announced today that the firm earned a spot on this year's list of “100 Best Companies” by Working Mother magazine for the firm's efforts to implement progressive programs that support families, including parental leave policies, flexible work arrangements and career advancement programs.

As part of that distinction, Katten partner Kimberly T. Smith was honored as a 2019 Working Mother of the Year, not only for her career achievements as national co-chair of the firm's Private Equity practice, but also for her commitment to mentoring female attorneys as part of the National Mentoring Panel of Katten's Women's Leadership Forum.

“We are elated to be recognized for our continuing efforts to support working parents at the firm,” said Katten Chairman Roger P. Furey. “It is of paramount importance that we regularly solicit feedback from our attorneys and business professionals on how we can better accommodate their needs and address their concerns. We want to help them advance in their professional and personal lives. Doing so helps us retain talent, maintain a supportive and inclusive environment, and ultimately better serve our clients.”

The “100 Best Companies” list highlighted Katten's paid four-week sabbatical extended to eligible associates with at least five years of tenure, rewarding them for their hard work and loyalty while enhancing a work-life balance.

In addition to offering a remote work policy and phase-back program to transition from parental leave to a regular schedule, Katten counts its Women's Leadership Forum (WLF) among its successful programs that help ensure its attorneys can have fulfilling careers and rich personal lives. The WLF supports the retention and advancement of women attorneys at every level at Katten through various initiatives, mentoring and professional development programs, and social and networking events.

In her involvement with the WLF, Smith mentors female lawyers, advising them on outlining their career goals, developing skills to be an invaluable member of client teams, and utilizing strategies to develop new business.

“It's a way of giving back, with the understanding that everything we do to mentor women and help them feel supported is a smart investment in our talent,” Smith said. “At each stage of my career, Katten made sure I was getting the right training and opportunities to advance. Now I have the good fortune to be able to pay it forward.”

Smith began her career at Katten, first as a summer associate, and now co-leads Katten's Private Equity practice as a partner and as a mother of two daughters while also devoting time as a member of the Corporate board of directors of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Chicago.

“Kim is an excellent role model, a valued leader at Katten and in her community, supportive advocate and mentor for female attorneys at the firm, and a dedicated mother, and as such is very deserving of this recognition,” said Katten partner Laura Keidan Martin, national chair of the firm's Women's Leadership Forum.

The 2019 Working Mother 100 Best Companies application included more than 400 questions on leave policies, workforce representation, benefits, childcare, advancement programs, flexibility policies and more. It surveyed the availability and usage of these programs, as well as the accountability of the many managers who oversee them.

“Our 100 Best Companies are the standard of excellence and continue to pave the way with the work they are doing on behalf of working parents and caregivers in the US,” says Subha Barry, president of Working Mother Media. “We celebrate their efforts and applaud them for addressing the needs of this important and ever-growing sector of talent.”

This recognition marks the 13th year the firm has appeared on the “Best Companies” list. In July, Katten was named one of three law firms that has earned a place on Working Mother's “Best Law Firms for Women” list for 12 consecutive years, every year since the list's inception.