Diversity Lab's gender diversity rules see unprecedented 30 times growth over non-adopters between 2017 and 2019
Early adopters of the Mansfield Rule have ended up ruling the roost by witnessing unprecedented growth to the tune of over 30 times over the law firms which decided to give it a skip.
In total 41 law firms had signed up when the Diversity Lab has come up with its Mansfield Rule way back in 2017. These included Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner, Clifford Chance, Jenner & Block, Latham & Watkins and McDermott Will & Emery. The numbers of law firms enrolled with it has since swelled up to 120.
The Mansfield Rule is a customised design for growth of the law firms. Initially, it required firms to measure and confirm that they considered candidates pools that were at least 30 per cent diverse – including women and underrepresented racial and ethnic lawyers. It also suggested maintaining these diversities when hiring senior associates and partners, promoting into equity partnership and selecting leaders for management roles.
The Mansfield Rule has since expanded to include LGBTQ+ lawyers and lawyers with disabilities in its 2.0 and3.0 versions.
Diversity Lab analysed the data of firms that have completed the first two Mansfield Rule certification cycles. It showed growth in underrepresented racial and ethnic lawyers outpaced non-Mansfield Rule firms by more than 30 times between 2017 and 2019.
"These firms have operationalized the Mansfield Rule's principles so that their achievements are part of a movement rather than a moment. As a result, these gains are not vulnerable to the shifting winds of the marketplace," Lisa Kirby, Diversity Lab's chief business intelligence and knowledge sharing officer, said.
By 2019, Mansfield firms saw the percentage of their partners considered a racially diverse increase to 10.5 per cent compared to 9.1 per cent for non-Mansfield firms.
Diversity Lab has also said that women lawyers from early-adopter firms are also progressing into leadership roles at a higher rate than they were in the pre-Mansfield years. This has rubbed onto non-Mansfield firms also as they have started making progress on gender diversity.
While the initial focus was on big law firms, Diversity Lab has now crafted new versions of Mansfield Rule specifically for and piloted by more than 20 midsize firms and 50 corporate legal departments.
Last year, five law firms committed to spending more than $5 million exploring how to improve diversity and inclusivity over a five-year period as part of the Move the Needle Fund, which is run by Diversity Lab.