Diversity is at Our Core: Mansfield Rule

At MoFo, diversity is at the heart of who we are as a firm. That’s why we are proud to be one of the 44 leading law firms participating in the Diversity Lab’s pilot Mansfield Rule initiative. The initiative measures whether law firms have considered a diverse pool of candidates, 30 percent women and attorneys of color, for leadership or governance roles.

Named after Arabella Mansfield, the first woman admitted to the practice of law in the US, the initiative is taking a stab at increasing diversity in leadership ranks of law firms.

The initiative was inspired by the NFL’s Rooney Rule; a rule which requires teams to interview at least one minority candidate for head coach positions. Once implemented, the rule saw direct success as the number of minority head coaches doubled.

“Our participation in the pilot program is an example of MoFo’s genuine commitment to our core values of diversity and inclusion and equity,” says MoFo’s Natalie Kernisant, director of diversity and inclusion.

“Law firms must move beyond good intentions. We, as an industry, have to focus on creating and embedding more equitable and inclusive processes that ensure women and people of color are consistently considered for advancement opportunities, expanding upon the number of women and diverse attorneys who occupy visible positions. If we want to see real change in the legal profession, we need to begin replacing our old ways of managing opportunity with systematically inclusive practices. MoFo has long been committed to helping lead the way with respect to diversity and inclusion, and we are proud to be among the 44 firms participating in such an innovative initiative aimed at creating more equitable talent management practices.”

The Mansfield Rule is the brainchild of the 2016 Women in Law Hackathon hosted by Diversity Lab in collaboration with Bloomberg Law and Stanford Law School.

San Francisco partner Diana Kruze was part of a team that won third place at the inaugural hackathon for their “Five Year Moment Plan,” a solutions-oriented plan to promote the professional growth of women lawyers.

Upon successful completion of the pilot program, firms will be “Mansfield Certified” and will have the opportunity to send diverse partners to a client forum in 2018.