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ANALYSIS: Yes, Some Firms Are Actually Measuring DEI Well

Oct. 26, 2021, 9:00 AM

Today, Bloomberg Law releases the results of our inaugural DEI Framework, a listing of law firms that meet or exceed an established threshold of diversity, equity, and inclusion in their firm. Join us at 1:00 p.m. EDT on LinkedIn to see a live-broadcast reveal of the firms that made the list, and a discussion of overall results.

More than 30 law firms submitted data for potential inclusion on our DEI Framework list. Many of them have already adopted better-than-average diversity practices (based on publicly available industry data) and have the overall demographics to show for it. However, we know that having diversity within the organization is not quite enough—especially if all of the attorneys from traditionally underrepresented groups are hanging out only at the associate level.

It’s important to have policies in place—and reliable metrics to enforce them—that help diverse attorneys make partner, lead practice groups, and ultimately influence the direction of the firm.

In the DEI Framework questionnaire, we asked if firms mandate that minority and women attorneys have equal access to clients, quality work assignments, committee appointments, marketing efforts, and firm events—and whether they monitor their progress on these fronts. Of firms that made the DEI Framework list, two-thirds mandate and monitor in this way, compared with only half of firms who didn’t make the list.

We also asked whether firms track several specific metrics impacting matter diversity. Firms that made the list reported tracking these metrics overwhelmingly more often than firms who did not make the list.

That’s not to say that the firms on our list can guarantee that their DEI initiatives are 100% successful. But they are at least measuring their progress—and things that get measured get attention, and things that get attention tend to improve.

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