Inclusion Blueprint Sets New Standard for Measuring Law Firm Inclusion & Diversity
The Inclusion Blueprint, a collaborative project between Diversity Lab and ChIPs, provides a first-of-its-kind tool to measure the representation of diverse lawyers and the career-enhancing inclusion activities that law firms should employ to ensure that historically underrepresented lawyers have fair and equal access to quality work, influential people, and other opportunities. More details on the Inclusion Blueprint Results and Champions can be found here. And more details on the ChIPs Honor Roll awardees can be found here.
The Inclusion Blueprint includes two main categories for law firms to track, measure, and benchmark their diversity and inclusion efforts at both the leadership and practice group levels: (1) current diversity representation thresholds — called the Inclusion Blueprint Thresholds (IBT) — and year-over-year progress; and (2) ongoing inclusion practices and activities.
It differs significantly from traditional diversity surveys as a result of these two elements. Rather than asking for a snapshot of raw data and metrics on the representation of historically underrepresented lawyers, it provides specific IBT targets across three populations that firms should strive to achieve at both the firm leadership and practice group levels, including:
- 30% representation of women equity partners,
- 15% representation of racial and ethnic minority equity partners, and
- 5% representation of LGBTQ+ equity partners.
“In setting the targets, we looked at recent law school graduation rates and the current representation of historically underrepresented populations at Am Law 200 firms,” explained Caren Ulrich Stacy, CEO of Diversity Lab. “The Inclusion Blueprint Thresholds are middle-ground targets between those numbers and definitely a stretch for the majority of Am Law 200 firms to reach in the short-term. As more firms achieve these thresholds, our plan is to increase the targets annually until they mirror law school graduation rates.”
In addition to setting tough, but achievable diversity targets, the Blueprint outlines inclusion practices that have proven to develop, advance, and retain diverse talent and measures whether firms have implemented them at the firm leadership and practice group levels. Unlike surveys that merely provide a snapshot of where firms currently stand, the Inclusion Blueprint provides a roadmap or “blueprint” of actions firms can take to continue to invest in their diverse talent. Those practices include actively monitoring diverse lawyers’ work activities and experiences, such as work allocation, leave, sponsorship, client pitches, and other critical development and advancement opportunities, to ensure that all lawyers have fair and equal access to career growth.
“There are many great surveys in the legal market that measure the representation of diverse law firm lawyers. The Inclusion Blueprint serves a different purpose,” Noreen Krall, head of Litigation at Apple and board chair of ChIPs explained. “Although the Blueprint does assess where firms currently stand, it also encourages firms to implement inclusion practices that research shows will help them boost the representation of diverse lawyers. Over time, we expect to see more firms implementing these practices and making positive gains as a result.”
In addition to measuring gender diversity and inclusion in firm leadership and IP, the Inclusion Blueprint was expanded in 2019 to include additional elements. With input and support from two of the winning teams from Diversity Lab’s Spring and Fall 2018 Diversity in Law Hackathon, this year’s survey was expanded to track additional inclusion activities related to compensation and to include women, racial/ethnic minorities and LGBTQ+ lawyers in all practice groups.
To download the full findings report, please visit here.