Genova Burns Earns Midsize Mansfield "Certified Plus" Status for 2021-2023
May 23, 2023
SAN FRANCISCO (May 23, 2023) — Diversity Lab announced today that more than 70 law firms have achieved Midsize Mansfield Certification. These midsize firms, typically ranging from 25 to 150 lawyers, have completed a rigorous 18-month collaboration with Diversity Lab — from September 2021 to March 2023 — to track, measure, and achieve diversity in leadership.
To build upon the early successes of the original Mansfield Rule designed in 2017 for larger law firms, the Midsize Mansfield Certification was tailored and launched in 2020 for firms with fewer than 150 lawyers that have smaller footprints, less formal leadership structures, and fewer hiring and leadership selections. Following similar principles, the certification measures whether midsize firms have considered at least 30% women lawyers, underrepresented racial and ethnic lawyers, LGBTQ+ lawyers, and lawyers with disabilities for leadership and governance roles, equity partner promotions, formal client pitches, lateral lawyer hiring, and more. And while working to achieve these benchmarks, the certified midsize firms also embedded transparency in their advancement processes through written leadership role descriptions and clearly defined pathways to leadership.
Nearly one-half of the Certified Midsize Mansfield firms have also achieved Certification “Plus” status, which indicates that in addition to the consideration and transparency requirements, the firms have successfully achieved 30% diverse representation in current leadership roles and pipeline activities.
"All of the certified firms stepped up as trailblazers to create more diverse and inclusive leaderships in the midsize firm sector,” said Alyssa Jarvis, Senior Manager of Mansfield at Diversity Lab. “Despite launching this change management effort during a global pandemic among other marketplace disruptions, these firms were not deterred from tackling challenging talent systems changes to increase diversity in their firms and the profession. This is a truly committed group of firms and leaders who see the value in measuring what matters."
Firm Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Commitee Co-Chair Harris S. Freier, Esq. feels strongly about the initiative at Genova Burns. "We are dedicated to ensuring that we maintain a diverse workforce, and help the legal industry improve its promotion of the best lawyers from a wide range of backgrounds are enthused to announce that we have joined the Midsized Mansfield cohort, which is an integral part of our commitment to an active and meaningful DE & I initiative," added Freier.
These certified firms – along with a second cohort of 65+ midsize firms currently in the midst of their certification cycle (listed here) – are all now tracking and measuring their leadership pipelines and ensuring that their processes for advancement are transparent. Without these tracking mechanisms in place, firms lack the knowledge needed to evaluate if their advancement processes and decisions are inclusive and equitable. Several data points and firm quotes illustrate the outcomes, including:
- Prior to adopting Mansfield, less than one-quarter of participating midsize firms tracked who was considered for equity partner promotions or open lateral lawyer roles.
- Pre-Mansfield, even fewer firms – only 15% – tracked who was considered for leadership such as practice group leaders, office heads, and C-suite roles.
- Less than one-half of participating midsize firms had written and transparent job descriptions for leadership and governance roles prior to adopting Mansfield; research shows that clear and open disclosure of information, as required by Mansfield, helps out-groups become in-groups and levels the playing field for all talent by writing down the unwritten rules and ensuring that everyone has access.
More details on the second cohort of participating midsize firms as well as the cohort of large firms will be announced in September 2023.
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 our Hackathons and piloted in collaboration with more than 350 top law firms and legal departments across the country. Diversity Lab leverages data, behavioral science, design thinking, and technology to further develop and test new ideas and research, measure the results, and share the lessons learned. For more details, visit www.diversitylab.com.