Merchant & Gould has achieved Mansfield Rule Certification after completing a 12-month self-study designed to boost the representation of diverse lawyers in firm leadership. Measured by Diversity Lab, a data company that leverages research and behavior, the certification assesses whether law firms have affirmatively considered at least 30 percent women, lawyers of color, and LGBTQ+ lawyers for leadership and governance roles, equity partner promotions, formal client pitch opportunities and senior lateral positions.
“We understand both intuitively and from experience that diverse workforces and leadership teams benefit our clients, our firm, and our individual employees. By examining issues from different perspectives, diverse teams find better solutions to complex problems,” said John T. Winemiller, chair of Merchant & Gould’s Strategic Planning Committee. “We recognize the value of the Mansfield Rule’s approach to tracking our diversity and inclusion efforts. The data we have gathered will help us make policy and process decisions that will strengthen our firm.”
Merchant & Gould was one of 64 law firms completing the certification program, moving toward a larger goal of diversifying law firm leadership as inclusively and effectively as possible. To achieve the Mansfield Rule objectives, participating law firms established processes to document and analyze their talent pipelines. Prior to participating in the Mansfield Rule, only 12 percent of firms were tracking their candidate pools for leadership roles, and 25 percent were tracking their candidate pools for lateral partner hiring. Now, 100 percent of participating firms are tracking candidate pools for these categories.
Data collected from the Mansfield 2.0 participating law firms shows they are not only diversifying their candidate pools, but they are also meaningfully increasing the representation of diverse lawyers in senior lateral hiring, leadership positions, and participation in client pitches. The overall results from Mansfield 2.0 reveal that firms are continuing to make progress on the Rule’s goal of diversifying law firm leadership by expanding their pipelines, increasing transparency, and participating in candid knowledge sharing.
“Merchant & Gould is honored to share these values with other firms, working to advance diversity throughout the legal industry,” Winemiller added.
Merchant & Gould is now participating in the next iteration of the Mansfield Rule, which launched in July 2019 and will conclude in July 2020, with 99 law firms. Mansfield 3.0 tracks the firms’ efforts to include lawyers with disabilities, as well as women, lawyers of color and LGBTQ+ lawyers, in leadership candidate pools.