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Big Law Firms Meet Diversity Program Requirements, Group Says

Sept. 14, 2021, 7:43 PM

All 118 Big Law firms participating in a diversity effort have met the program’s certification requirements, according to a non-profit group leading the push.

The firms spent a year collaborating with the group, Diversity Lab, to measure progress in adding diversity to their ranks.

“We are thrilled to celebrate these firms,” said Diversity Lab’s Natalia Marulanda in a statement. The firms are working to “create inclusive workplaces where every lawyer has the ability to thrive and the opportunity to lead,” she said.

Diversity Lab is an incubator for solutions to boost diversity and inclusion in the law. The effort grew out of frustration with the slow pace with which law firms were hiring minorities, and the glacial progress firms recorded in including minorities and women in leadership and partnership roles.

Diversity Lab works with firms to determine if they meet the requirements of the so-called Mansfield Rule. The rule measures whether law firms have considered at least 30 percent women, underrepresented racial/ethnic groups, LGBTQ+ lawyers, and lawyers with disabilities for leadership and governance roles, equity partner promotions, formal client pitch opportunities, and senior lateral positions.

The group said more than 70 firms will participate in a second phase of a separate program designed for smaller lawyer populations, single office locations, and leaner leadership structures. The 70 firms will join an original 25-plus mid-size firms that began tracking Mansfield Rule requrements in 2020.

Diversity Lab also shared results of the program for law firms that have participated for three years. It found that:

  • 96% of firms said that after adopting the Mansfield Rule, teams of lawyers participating in formal pitch meetings have become more diverse.
  • 65% of firms reported that more underrepresented lawyers were appointed or elected to management/executive committees.
  • 63% of firms said they have increased the percentage of underrepresented lawyers promoted to equity partnership.
  • 58% of firms reported that their lateral hiring pool was more diverse.

To contact the reporter on this story: Elizabeth Olson at egolson1@gmail.com
To contact the editor on this story: Chris Opfer at copfer@bloombergindustry.com;
John Hughes at jhughes@bloombergindustry.com

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