The push for more diverse leadership continues despite market headwinds
Diversity Lab has announced that more than 60 US legal departments have achieved 2023 Mansfield Certification.
Designed by Diversity Lab, this structured two-year certification process helps ensure that everyone has a fair and equal opportunity to advance into leadership in legal departments and on their outside counsel teams. To achieve certification, these legal departments implemented a behavioral science and data-driven approach to expanding the pool of qualified talent considered for leadership that included at least 50 percent historically underrepresented individuals, including women lawyers, racialized lawyers, LGBTQ+ lawyers, and lawyers with disabilities.
In addition, to add transparency to advancement pathways, certified legal departments documented and published criteria for senior-level roles. Through the Mansfield framework, the certified legal departments partnered with law firms by considering a broad slate of outside counsel to lead new matters.
The certified legal departments' progress is illustrated through the following data points:
● 91 percent track internal talent pools for discretionary high-visibility opportunities
● 75 percent track internal talent pools for promotions
● 60 percent track outside counsel team leadership for new matters with law firms
● 86 percent have transparent internal job responsibilities
● 84 percent have transparent internal advancement processes
“The commitment of these legal departments to open the door wider, not just internally, but for outside counsel, is truly inspiring,” said Valerie Portillo, Diversity Lab’s director of legal department & law firm integration. “And it creates a virtuous cycle, one where legal departments and law firms are working together to make the legal field more inclusive.”
Caren Ulrich Stacy, CEO of Diversity Lab added: “Leaders in these legal departments are in the rooms where important decisions are made, so it’s critical that they reflect the diversity of our workforces and society. The Mansfield Certified legal departments are truly committed to inclusivity and equity as seen by their desire to carry on in the face of market challenges and other headwinds.” Not a single legal department backed out of the certification process as a result of the recent anti-DEI rhetoric and lawsuits in the US.