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19 July 20205 minute read

DLA Piper commits to Mansfield 4.0 efforts to increase diversity in firm leadership

DLA Piper is pleased to announce that the firm has committed to participating in Mansfield 4.0, the fourth round of certification based on the Mansfield Rule. Through this initiative, participating law firms consider at least 30 percent women, lawyers of color, LGBTQ+ lawyers and lawyers with disabilities for leadership and governance roles, equity partner promotions, formal client pitch opportunities and senior lateral positions.

Named after Arabella Mansfield, the first woman admitted to practice law in the United States, the Mansfield Rule was one of the winning ideas from the 2016 Women in Law Hackathon competition hosted by Diversity Lab, in collaboration with Bloomberg Law and Stanford Law School. DLA Piper has participated in every iteration of the initiative, beginning with the inaugural version that launched in mid-2017. The Mansfield Rule was inspired by the NFL's highly successful Rooney Rule, named for former Pittsburgh Steelers chairman Dan Rooney, which requires every NFL team to interview at least one minority candidate for head coach vacancies.

"Since adopting the Mansfield Rule, DLA Piper has developed more robust tracking and metrics, capable of providing leaders line of sight to crucial data in areas of focus pertaining to the diversity of leadership candidate slates for partner positions and committees,” said Roger Meltzer, DLA Piper’s global co-chair and co-chair for the Americas. “As a Certified Plus firm, DLA Piper is committed to attracting, hiring and retaining highly skilled diverse lawyers. In 2020, more than 42 percent of our promotions into partner positions were of diverse lawyers, demonstrating the impact of our commitment to change."

Certified Plus recognition is awarded to firms that not only consider candidate pools made up of at least 30 percent women, lawyers of color, LGBTQ+ lawyers and lawyers with disabilities for leadership roles and promotions, but have also achieved at least 30 percent representation in a notable number of their leadership roles and committees.

Chairs and managing partners of 112 law firms that have signed on to participate in Mansfield 4.0 – including 20 law firms that will be participating for the first time – recently released an open letter detailing some of the positive measurable results of the program and encouraging others in the legal industry to join the effort.

“Our three years of participation in the Mansfield Rule initiative have resulted in concrete, measurable changes to the makeup of our leadership teams and to our hiring and promotion processes, resulting in a more diverse workforce that is better equipped to meet the challenges of our evolving industry, serving the needs of clients across many sectors,” said Fenimore Fisher, DLA Piper’s chief diversity and inclusion officer. “As we move into Mansfield 4.0, we are eager to build on this momentum, including Diversity Lab’s more recent guidance concerning reviewing inclusive staffing associated with pitches.”