Sep 03 2019

One year ago, Womble Bond Dickinson (US) LLP began participating in the Mansfield Rule 2.0 pilot project , which is aimed at promoting greater inclusion for women, minority and LGBTQ+ attorneys in the profession. Today, the firm is proud to announce that Womble Bond Dickinson has achieved Mansfield Certification for 2019.

Mansfield Certification means that Womble Bond Dickinson successfully met the Mansfield Rule goal of ensuring that women, minority and LGBTQ+ lawyers made up at least 30 percent of the candidate pool for the following positions:

  • Equity partner promotions
  • Lateral partners and mid/senior level associates
  • Practice group and office head leadership
  • Executive Committee and/or Board of Directors
  • Partner Promotions/Nominations Committee
  • Chairperson and/or Managing Partner.

In addition, Mansfield Rule participating firms aimed to achieve the same level of women, minority and LGBTQ+ attorneys in the candidate pool for certain formal client pitches.

Beth Tyner Jones, the Managing Partner of Womble Bond Dickinson’s Raleigh and Research Triangle Park, North Carolina offices and a member of the firm’s Executive Committee, led the seven-member task force of attorneys and staff members charged with Mansfield Rule implementation.

“The Mansfield Rule project provided our firm with a focus on measuring our efforts to foster a diverse and inclusive workplace that aligned with other firm efforts already underway to help achieve a more diverse and inclusive firm. ” Jones said. “Throughout our firm, participating in Mansfield Rule 2.0 has given us valuable insights into how we are doing and focus us on where we need to improve. Consistent with our firm’s core values, we remain committed to diversity and inclusion and we look forward to participating in Mansfield Rule 3.0.”

Following up on the successful pilot of Mansfield 2.0, Womble Bond Dickinson has agreed to participate in the Mansfield Rule 3.0 project, which runs from July 2019-July 2020. The third iteration of the Mansfield Rule project will add tracking of lawyers with disabilities to the project.

The Diversity Lab, which is directing the Mansfield Rule project, reported significant gains in the diversity of candidate pools by firms participating in the Mansfield Rule 2.0 pilot project. For example, 94 percent of Mansfield Rule 2.0 firms said that after adopting the Mansfield Rule, their candidate pool for pitch teams was more diverse. Also, 79 percent of participating firms reported that their lateral partner pool was more diverse following adoption of the Mansfield Rule, and 76 percent said their equity partner pool was more diverse. Participating firms also reported that they are meaningfully increasing the representation of diverse lawyers in senior lateral hiring, leadership positions, and participation in client pitches.

The goals of the Mansfield Rule are threefold:

  1. To encourage better documentation and tracking of inclusion efforts;
  2. To diversify the pipeline for those considered for leadership positions; and
  3. To increase transparency in order to encourage broader participation.

“Our plan is to raise the bar each year,” said Lisa Kirby, Chief Intelligence & Knowledge Sharing Officer at Diversity Lab. “We follow design thinking principles, so we measure results each year and work with participating firms to iterate the pilot based on the results to ensure we are moving toward our goal of diversifying law firm leadership as inclusively and impactfully as possible. It’s especially meaningful to lead this initiative this year because it marks the 150th anniversary of Arabella Mansfield’s becoming the first woman admitted to a U.S. bar association.”

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