Mansfield Rule Overview
**Read open letters from the Mansfield Certified U.S. & Canadian Firms, UK Firms, and Legal Departments.**
The goal of the Mansfield Rule is to boost and sustain diversity in leadership through three main pillars.
- Shifting cultures and mindsets through data tracking, advancement process transparency, and considering a broad slate of 30-50% underrepresented talent for all leadership roles and the activities that lead to leadership;
- Sharing knowledge to work together, learn together, and succeed together as a community; and
- Increasing the marketplace visibility and economic power of underrepresented talent through Mansfield Client Forums, Diverse Partners Directory, and more.
Mansfield’s methods are grounded in behavioral science, including the 30-50% consideration requirement, which researchers show achieves the critical mass in leadership necessary to disrupt biases. The structural elements of the certification process are key to this effort, including: the accountability through frequent check-ins/audits, data collection, and reporting; the participants’ ongoing collaboration through monthly group knowledge sharing forums; and the transparency of publicly certifying.
Diversity Lab works with participants to measure the outcomes and iterate the requirements to push boundaries every year. And to ensure Mansfield’s long-term results, there is an increasingly challenging “Certification Plus” category that evaluates whether firms and legal departments have achieved diversity in leadership, not just considered it.
Early outcomes – as noted in this Bloomberg article and American Lawyer article – show Mansfield is working at its intended purpose to diversify leadership. As demonstrated by the US and UK certified firm leaders’ own words (here and here), their management and diversity experts have worked really hard to push for and achieve these meaningful results. Together, we are moving the needle. And while the outcomes are promising, there is more to be done.
Evolution & Participating Organizations
The Mansfield Rule, inspired by a winning idea at the Women in Law Hackathon, aims to boost diversity in leadership by broadening the pool of talent through “consideration goals” – not quotas – for leadership roles. A brief overview of its evolution follows.
- When the pilot certification first launched for large law firms in 2017 with 35+ firms, the primary requirement was to consider at least 30% women lawyers and underrepresented racial and ethnic lawyers for leadership roles.
- Versions 2.0 through 5.0 for large firms were intentionally broadened each year to include LGBTQ+ lawyers and lawyers with disabilities as well as critical pipeline activities (e.g., client pitch teams), transparent leadership role descriptions, and more.
- New pilots were recently launched for midsize firms, legal departments, and UK firms.
- The current certification process requires law firms to consider at least 30% historically underrepresented lawyers – including women lawyers, underrepresented racial and ethnic lawyers, LGBTQ+ lawyers, and lawyers with disabilities – when promoting or appointing to leadership roles, among a dozen other actions that focus on the path to leadership. And legal departments are asked to consider 50% diversity for top internal roles and outside counsel.
As of 2023, there are 275+ U.S. and Canadian law firms, 15+ UK law firms, and 80+ legal departments participating in the certification process. Additional info on Mansfield’s timeline and evolution can be found here.
Click on each box below for a list of participating organizations and the certification requirements. If your organization is interested in joining these trailblazers, please contact Courtney Munnings (email@example.com) for law firms or Sajani Granquist (firstname.lastname@example.org) for legal departments.
U.S., Canada & UK Large Law Firms
The U.S. and Canadian large firms that signed on for the current version (Mansfield 6.0), which runs from 2022 to 2023, can be found here.
JUST ANNOUNCED! Mansfield 5.0 law firms that achieved Certification and Certification Plus for their 2021-2022 participation can be found here.
JUST ANNOUNCED! Mansfield UK law firms that achieved Certification and Certification Plus for their 2021-2022 participation in our first ever cohort outside the U.S. and Canada, and the law firms that are joining them in Mansfield UK 2.0, can be found here.
U.S. Midsize Law Firms
The details and list of participating midsize firms can be found here.
The 3.0 version for legal departments launched in 2021 and concludes in late 2023.
JUST ANNOUNCED! Legal departments that achieved Certification and Certification Plus for the 2.0 version in 2020-2022 can be found here.
Organizations interested in registering for the upcoming certification processes can click here.
Diversifying Leadership: How the Mansfield Rule is Driving Change, Bloomberg
The Data Is Out: Mansfield Firms Have Grown Diverse Leadership 30 Times More Than Over Firms, The American Lawyer
How Lawyers are Working to Change Their Industry’s Diversity Problem, Fortune
Knowledge Sharing Forums
Mansfield organizations are invited to attend monthly knowledge sharing meetings such as the October 2022 in-person forum detailed below.
If you are interested in joining Mansfield, please contact Courtney Munnings (email@example.com) to learn more about our law firm efforts or Sajani Granquist (firstname.lastname@example.org) to learn more about our legal department efforts.