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Four Dozen Firms to Start Pro-Diversity Mansfield Rule for Hires

June 28, 2021, 6:41 PM

Four dozen U.S. and Canadian firms will participate in the Mansfield Rule starting July 15, meaning more than 160 law operations will ensure they consider diversified pools when hiring, Diversity Lab said.

“A significant reason for the increase in participating is due to a strong push from clients,” said Lisa Kirby, Diversity Lab’s chief intelligence and knowledge sharing officer.

The larger firms that are new signers include Alston & Bird; Baker Hostetler; Barnes & Thornburg; Davis Polk; Debevoise & Plimpton; Epstein Becker & Green; Foley & Lardner; Fox Rothchild; Greenspoon Marder; Manatt, Phelps & Phillips; Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison; Shook Hardy & Bacon; Squire Patton Boggs; and Sullivan & Cromwell.

Just over 2% of law firm equity partners are Black, according to legal industry data. But Law firms that have adopted the Mansfield Rule have expanded the racial and ethnic diversity of their leadership ranks, including diversifying their management committees more than 30 times the rate of non-participating firms.

The Mansfield Rule certification, launched by Diversity Lab in mid-2017, requires participating firms that are hiring senior associates and partners to confirm that they considered candidate pools at least 30% diverse, including women and underrepresented racial and ethnic lawyers. The rule also covers promoting into equity partnership and selected leaders for management roles.

Another 12 firms are piloting an inaugural version of the program in the U.K., as the Mansfield Rule enters its fifth year as the way firms can boost presence of underrepresented lawyers in their ranks.

In the U.K., the new pilot Mansfield Rule law firms include Allen & Overy; Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner; Clifford Chance; Clyde & Co., Dechert; DLA Piper; Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer; Hogan Lovells; Mayer Brown International; Reed Smith; and Taylor Wessing.

The data the Diversity Lab released in April was for firm activity between 2017 and 2019. That compared to data, from the Minority Corporate Counsel Association, that found non-participating firms saw an increase of .13% in their diversity achievements in the same time period. And participating firms were moving racially diverse and women lawyers into partnership at a statistically higher percentage, Diversity Lab found.

Going forward, for Mansfield 5.0, firms will be required to measure the impact of the rule for each underrepresented group, which includes LGBTQ, women, lawyers with disabilities and racial/ethnic minority lawyers.

Firms will also be required to include an option for Middle Eastern/North African identity. They must also consider at least 30% of underrepresented individuals when hiring or promoting to C-level or other senior professional staff roles, and for nominations to Chambers USA, to increase the external visibility of such lawyers with clients and in the marketplace generally.

Early adopters of the Mansfield Rule in the U.S. included major firms such as Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner; Clifford Chance; Cooley; Dentons; DLA Piper; Latham & Watkins; McDermott Will & Emery; Morgan Lewis; O’Melveny & Myers; and White & Case.

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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