More than 20 legal departments pilot new version of Mansfield Rule to boost diversity in leadership and outside counsel ranks

The Mansfield Rule: Legal Department Edition certifies that legal departments consider at least 50 percent women, LGBTQ+, lawyers with disabilities, and racial/ethnic minority lawyers for significant leadership roles and for outside counsel representation

San Francisco, October 24, 2019Diversity Lab has launched the inaugural Mansfield Rule: Legal Department Edition (MRLD) with more than 20 pioneering legal departments in its pilot year. MRLD measures whether legal departments have affirmatively considered women, LGBTQ+ lawyers, lawyers with disabilities, and racial/ethnic minority lawyers — at least 50 percent of the candidate pool — for top leadership roles, legal department hiring, and outside counsel representation. MRLD is an extension of the successful Mansfield Rule for law firms — now in its third iteration with more than 100 firms — which has already helped increase diversity in the participating firms’ leadership ranks.

The goal of MRLD is to diversify legal department leadership and the pipeline to leadership. The 50 percent metric provides a framework for leaders to take a more intentional and systematic approach to succession planning. “Several General Counsels came to us after seeing the results of the Mansfield Rule law firm pilot and asked us to consider testing a similar framework for legal departments. We are honored that more than 20 trailblazing legal department leaders have joined us to bring the Mansfield Rule’s use of data, transparency, and knowledge sharing to the legal department context,” said Lisa Kirby, Diversity Lab’s Chief Business Intelligence & Knowledge Sharing Officer.

MRLD asks in-house law departments to consider at least 50 percent underrepresented lawyers for internal roles and when hiring outside counsel for new or expanded matters. “We're thrilled to participate in Diversity Lab's pilot program to further diversity in the legal field," said Louise Pentland, PayPal's Chief Business Affairs and Legal Officer. "At PayPal, we're committed to fostering a diverse and inclusive workforce, and it has always been important to us that we apply the same intentionality and structure to our outside counsel hiring as we do internally."

Named for the first woman admitted to the practice of law in the U.S., Arabella Mansfield, the Mansfield Rule was inspired by the NFL’s Rooney Rule, which requires NFL teams to interview at least one minority andidate for head coach vacancies. In addition to the Mansfield Rule’s focus on the diversification of talent pools and leadership ranks, the Rule embeds a knowledge-sharing structure that supports the piloting legal departments by providing a robust forum to share best practices, problem-solve, and crowdsource effective solutions on tough talent challenges such as hiring and retention.

“Diversity in the legal profession and in business is one of our top priorities, and we strongly believe this will make our company more successful,” said Kathleen Waters, the Chief Legal Officer at Davita Inc. “We have been committed to fostering a diverse environment where different perspectives are heard and everyone feels like they belong. Participating in the Mansfield Rule: Legal Department Edition is a great way to validate all of the internal efforts and change our team has worked so hard to achieve.”

“In joining the pilot for the Mansfield Rule: Legal Department Edition, we have not only institutionalized our department's commitment to increasing diversity in the law, but are backed by the support of a community committed to solving this issue, which has proven invaluable as we implement the Rule,” said Deborah Rasin, Senior Vice President and Chief Legal Officer at Hill-Rom.

"The Rule's emphasis on tracking and documenting helps our legal department stay accountable and on-track with our goals,” explained Sneha Desai, Deputy General Counsel of Litigation at BASF Corporation. “Tracking and reviewing this data enables us to have better informed conversations about who we are considering, improving our advancement and hiring decisions."

Diversity Lab is pleased to have 22 trailblazing legal departments piloting the inaugural MRLD: Axiom, BASF Corporation, Compass Minerals, Davita Inc., Delta Dental of California, First National Bank of Pennsylvania, Gap Inc., Hill-Rom, Jacksonville Jaguars, LendingClub, Lincoln Financial Group, MassMutual, PayPal, SurveyMonkey, Symantec, ThredUp, Turo, Uber Technologies, Inc., US Bank, VF Corporation, and Voya Financial Inc.

The Mansfield Rule: Legal Department Edition pilot certification process started in June 2019 and will officially conclude on June 30, 2020, with registration for the 2020-2021 certification period beginning in April 2020. Legal departments interested in learning more or implementing the Mansfield Rule: Legal Department Edition can email Leila Hock at leila@diversitylab.com.

About Diversity Lab
Diversity Lab is an incubator for innovative ideas and solutions that boost diversity and inclusion in law. Experimental ideas are created through Hackathons and piloted in collaboration with more than 100 top law firms and legal departments across the country. Diversity Lab leverages data, behavioral science, design thinking, and technology to further develop and test the ideas, measure the results, and share the lessons learned. For more information, visit www.diversitylab.com.