Mansfield Early Adopter Analysis, Industry Comparison 2014-2021
Representation of Women & Underrepresented Racial/Ethnic Lawyers in Leadership: Mansfield Early Adopters vs. Non-Mansfield Firms
As the following analysis shows, Mansfield early adopter firms are progressing at a faster rate than they were pre-Mansfield and outpacing non-Mansfield firms on diversifying leadership.
Data scientists analyzed the progress of the 35+ Mansfield early adopter firms compared to 200+ non-Mansfield firms using MCCA data from 2007 to 2021. Since MCCA only collects data on 4 of the 10+ law firm leadership roles and activities included in the Mansfield Certification, this analysis is limited to these categories. Though limited, this analysis is indicative of what firms and the legal industry can expect in the short-, mid-, and long-term to assess the impact of Mansfield.
Management and partner nomination committees, often appointed or elected annually, can reasonably change in the short-term. In contrast, building an increasingly more diverse pipeline for partner promotions is likely a 2-3 year endeavor. And the time needed for an intervention – such as Mansfield – to impact the representation of the entire equity partnership is likely 4+ years, since it is affected by hiring, promotions, retention, and more.
The Mansfield requirements and categories have evolved year-over-year, including adding LGBTQ+ lawyers and lawyers with disabilities in recent iterations. Since these groups are more recent additions, there is not yet sufficient data to measure related outcomes.
Firms that have achieved Mansfield Certification consistently for five years are making measurable progress as evidenced by the following outcomes and graphs. A few key takeaways for women and underrepresented racial and ethnic (URE) lawyers in leadership as a result of Mansfield include:
- The growth in URE representation for Mansfield early adopter firms has surpassed non-Mansfield firms since Mansfield’s launch in 2017 for every leadership category analyzed. For example, prior to Mansfield, URE representation on early adopters’ and non-Mansfield firms’ Executive Committees was almost identical; early adopters’ URE growth rate has nearly doubled non-Mansfield firms’ growth rate as of 2021.
- Similarly, URE representation on Partner Nominating/Review Committees was almost identical for Mansfield early adopters and non-Mansfield firms prior to the 2017 launch; as of 2021, early adopter firms’ URE representation has outpaced non-Mansfield firms with a total growth of 9% compared to 6% in five years.
- The representation of women on Partner Nominating/Review Committees and in the Equity Partnership of Mansfield early adopter firms has slightly outpaced non-Mansfield firms. Although this is a positive trend, there is more work to be done to increase women lawyer representation in all of these leadership categories – including Executive Committees and Partner Promotions – for both Mansfield and non-Mansfield firms.
There is plenty of work still to be done, but progress is happening. Most law firms are on an upward trajectory in diversifying their leadership. This should be celebrated as a ray of hope across the industry and inspire firms to double down on positive outcomes achieved in recent years while also simultaneously exploring areas of improvement. For those who are as impatient as we are, consistent participation in Mansfield has proven to be a successful intervention that speeds the rate of progress. For more details on Mansfield, please contact Kavita Ramakrishnan at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Important Notes: Mansfield Early Adopters include firms that achieved Mansfield Certification each year from 2017-2022 (1.0 – 5.0). Non-Mansfield firms are those that have never participated in Mansfield. Both categories are limited to firms that completed the MCCA Diversity Survey in a given year. Partner promotions includes equity and non-equity partners. In 2021, MCCA changed their survey to ask about equity and non-equity partners separately, which changed the promotion question from prior years and may affect the validity of the data and outcomes analysis.