Mansfield Rule 4.0
An Open Letter From the 4.0 Firms’ Chairs & Managing Partners
We, the Chairpersons and Managing Partners of 117 major law firms, want to increase and sustain a diverse and inclusive workforce in our firms and beyond in the legal profession. One of the proactive ways we are doing this is through our participation in the Mansfield Rule.
The Mansfield Rule, in just a few years, has made a major impact on diversifying law firm leadership. Some of the overall measurable results thus far, and our individual experiences with it since its inception are detailed below.
As part of this open letter, in addition to encouraging others in the legal industry to join us, we want to congratulate the trailblazing legal departments and midsize law firms that are taking part in a pilot version of this effort customized for their varying sizes and needs.
We believe that the Mansfield Rule’s goal of embedding change in the culture provides one avenue for us to collectively work towards a fairer and more just legal workplace. This is particularly important in light of the recent and long history of devastating instances of racial injustices faced by Black Americans, including our lawyer colleagues and friends. Together, as the Mansfield Rule motto states, we are boosting diversity in leadership, which will help create the systemic changes necessary to foster long-term inclusion and equity in our workplaces.
The Mansfield Rule’s Evolution
The Mansfield Rule, inspired by a winning idea at the 2016 Women in Law Hackathon, measures whether law firms have affirmatively considered at least 30 percent women, lawyers of color, LGBTQ+ lawyers, and lawyers with disabilities for leadership and governance roles, equity partner promotions, formal client pitch opportunities, and senior lateral positions.
The goal of the Mansfield Rule is to boost the representation of diverse lawyers in law firm leadership by broadening the pool of candidates considered for these opportunities. The Rule’s elements and operations are grounded in behavioral science research, including the 30 percent requirement, which researchers have found is the critical mass necessary to disrupt biases.
Since the Mansfield Rule’s launch three years ago with 42 firms to now with 117 firms, Diversity Lab has worked with the participating firms to annually measure the outcomes and iterate the program based on those outcomes to ensure we are moving toward our goal of diversifying firm leadership as inclusively and impactfully as possible.
The structural elements of Diversity Lab’s certification process – including the accountability through frequent firm-specific check-ins and data collection, the ongoing collaboration through monthly group knowledge sharing meetings, and the transparency of publicly certifying – are key to this effort.
Through the Mansfield Rule, we are making progress collectively, rather than working in isolation.
Our Measurable Outcomes as a Group and Individually Thus Far
As part of two comprehensive check-ins with participating firms at the six-month and one-year mark during the year-long certification process, Diversity Lab collects and analyzes data on the firms’ diversity progress in relation to the certification requirements. Some of the collective outcomes from the 3.0 certification process follow.
Also, individually, we’ve experienced many small and large “wins” as a result of our focused and intentional efforts related to the Mansfield Rule. A few statements from the firms that have participated since the Rule’s inception are listed below. A link to more of the renewing firms’ individual statements can be accessed here.
Collective Outcomes –
- 94% of participating firms reported that their candidate pool for pitch teams was more diverse following the adoption of the Mansfield Rule;
- 79% of firms reported that their lateral partner hiring pool was more diverse, and 76% said their equity partner promotions pool was more diverse;
- 92% of firms reported an increase in formal diversity discussions regarding succession planning for leadership and governance roles, and 85% increased formal discussions for lateral partner hiring;
- 57% of participating firms elected or appointed a higher percentage of diverse lawyers into Office Managing Partner roles; and
- Prior to participating in the Mansfield Rule, only 12% of firms tracked their candidates for leadership roles and 25% tracked their candidates for lateral partner hiring; now, 100% are tracking these candidate pools.
Highlighted Individual Firm Results –
“Akerman has increased the diversity of firm leadership by adding two seats to the firm’s Board of Directors held by the Chairs of our Equality & Inclusion Committee and Women’s Initiative Network, has increased Executive Committee diversity from 14% to 42%, and 50% of the firm’s equity partner promotions have been women and attorneys of color since implementing the Mansfield Rule.” Scott A. Meyers, Chairman & CEO, Akerman LLP
“Building on our firm’s track record of leadership on diversity and inclusion, our participation in the Mansfield Rule initiative has helped us develop new processes and more thoroughly document our progress. Among the results: diverse lawyers comprise 66% of our firmwide management committee, 48% of practice area leaders, and 46% of participants in new business proposals.” Kathy Szmuszkovicz, Managing Principal, Beveridge & Diamond
“In the past three years, more than half of the partners we’ve promoted in the US are diverse and, had we been eligible to be ranked as an Am Law firm, we would have had the second highest percentage of Hispanic lawyers and the third highest percentage of Asian-American lawyers in the US.” Evan Cohen, Regional Managing Partner (Americas), Clifford Chance
“Among Dentons US’ actions since implementing the Mansfield Rule, we are proud to have appointed our first female US managing partner; increased our Board diversity to 41%; and welcomed a newly elected partner class that is 54% diverse.” Mike McNamara, CEO, Dentons US
“57% of Littler’s lawyers promoted to equity partner and 36.5% of our equity partners in the US were women, LBGTQ+ and/or lawyers of color in the second year after implementing the Mansfield Rule.” Tom Bender and Jeremy Roth, Co-Presidents and Managing Directors, Littler Mendelson
“Morgan Lewis has long aggressively cultivated a diverse and inclusive organization. Implementing the Mansfield Rule’s principles has provided a valuable framework to focus and drive our efforts even further. We are proud that some of our results thus far, as one of the world’s largest law firms chaired by a woman, include: 57% of our 2019 lateral partner hires are diverse; 41% of our Advisory Board members are diverse; 33% of our practice leaders are diverse; and, from 2017 to 2019, the number of diverse partners who serve as client team leads for the firm’s top 100 clients grew 19%.” Jami McKeon, Chair, Morgan, Lewis & Bockius
“Munger, Tolles & Olson has experienced double-digit growth in the diversity of our firm’s governing bodies since signing on as one of the founding firms of the Mansfield Rule. Since May 2018, we’ve seen the numbers of diverse lawyers taking leadership of our firm through the management and compensation committees increase from 50% to 64% and from 33% to 56%, respectively, and diverse attorneys now represent 42% of our equity partnership and at least 50% of our partner promotions over the past 3 years.” Hailyn Chen, Co-Managing Partner, Munger, Tolles & Olson
“The Mansfield Rule is a leading example of the kind of concrete action our profession needs right now. With the heightened focus it brings, Orrick has achieved 50% diversity in: our Board and Management Committee; our internally promoted partner class; and our lateral partner hires. No doubt, we have seen the concrete benefits of these diverse perspectives as we navigate an unprecedented year.” Mitch Zuklie, Chairman, Orrick
Why We’ve Chosen to Continue with This Effort in Both Good and Tough Times
Knowing from legal industry data that past recessions have had a disproportionate impact on diverse lawyers, we are focused on ensuring history doesn’t repeat itself. In addition to the 95% of our firms that participated in the 3.0 version and have renewed for 4.0, we welcome 24 new law firms that have thoughtfully joined this collaborative effort in one of the most uncertain and difficult times in recent memory.
The statements from the new firms’ Chairs on why they chose to join now are detailed here.
Our Call-To-Action for Legal Departments and Other Law Firms
We invite legal departments and other law firms to engage in this collaborative initiative with us. Details on the legal department and the midsize law firm versions as well as the soon-to-be launched UK Mansfield Rule can be found here.
We also invite legal departments to join us at the Client Forums for certified firms where they will get to meet and build relationships with hundreds of our newly promoted, talented diverse partners who can service their legal needs. This is truly a collaborative effort, and one that is helping to make our profession – and our firms – more inclusive and diverse.
Law Firm Chairs & Managing Partners
On Behalf of the Mansfield Rule 4.0 Participating Firms
Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld
Allen & Overy
Archer & Greiner
Arnold & Porter
Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz
Beveridge & Diamond
Boies Schiller Flexner
Bricker & Eckler
Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck
Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner
Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney
Chapman and Cutler
Clifford Chance US
Clyde & Co
Covington & Burling
Crowell & Moring
Davis Wright Tremaine
Dinsmore & Shohl
Dorsey & Whitney
Eversheds Sutherland (US)
Fenwick & West
Finnegan, Henderson, Farabow, Garrett & Dunner
Fish & Richardson
Fisher & Phillips
Foley Hoag LLP
Fredrikson & Byron
Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer
Frost Brown Todd
Goulston & Storrs
Haynes and Boone
Holland & Hart
Holland & Knight
Jenner & Block
|Katten Muchin Rosenman
Kaufman Dolowich & Voluck
Latham & Watkins
McDermott Will & Emery
MG+M Law Firm
Miller Nash Graham & Dunn
Morgan, Lewis & Bockius
Morris, Manning & Martin
Morrison & Foerster
Munger, Tolles & Olson
Neal, Gerber & Eisenberg
Norton Rose Fulbright
Nutter McClennen & Fish
O’Melveny & Myers
Patterson Belknap Webb & Tyler
Paul Hastings LLP
Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman
Porter Wright Morris & Arthur
Procopio, Cory, Hargreaves & Savitch
Robinson & Cole
Saul Ewing Arnstein & Lehr
Shearman & Sterling
Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton
Shipman & Goodwin
Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom
Stoll Keenon Ogden
Stradley Ronon Stevens & Young
Taft Stettinius & Hollister
Troutman Pepper Hamilton Sanders
Vinson & Elkins
Vorys, Sater, Seymour and Pease
White & Case
Williams & Connolly
Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati
Winston & Strawn
Womble Bond Dickinson (US)