Baker Donelson has achieved Mansfield Certification status, after completing a 12-month certification program.
The Mansfield Rule Certification measures whether law firms have affirmatively considered women, attorneys of color, LGBTQ+ attorneys, and attorneys with disabilities – at least 30 percent of the candidate pool – for recruitment, governance roles, equity partner promotions, and inclusion in formal pitch presentations to clients.
The goal of the Mansfield Rule, which was developed by
Diversity Lab, is to boost diversity among law firm leadership by broadening the pool of candidates considered for these roles and opportunities.
Baker Donelson's Diversity and Inclusion Committee Chair Mark A. Baugh said, "Adopting the Mansfield Rule was a significant step in furthering our ongoing commitment to diversity and inclusion. Because of the transparency and accountability that are inherent in the Mansfield Certification process, it will improve our inclusivity and make this a more welcoming firm where all people can succeed. And although it is not a Mansfield requirement, we are also looking at ways to extend the same accountability metrics to staff and other positions."
Since adopting the Mansfield Rule more than a year ago, Baker Donelson established an internal Mansfield Team that built an infrastructure to gather data, collected the necessary information and worked toward certification. In addition to verifying and committing to at least a 30 percent diversity threshold in client presentations, the Firm implemented job descriptions for senior leaders that include diversity and inclusion accountability metrics, and reviewed and updated recruitment processes to ensure representative candidate pools are considered.
"We're extremely grateful to be among the 100 law firms nationally to achieve this meaningful certification. This is one of a number of measures Baker Donelson has undertaken to fulfill our commitment to increasing diversity and inclusion in our Firm and to bring about lasting change in the legal profession," said Timothy M. Lupinacci, the firm's chairman and CEO.
"We are incredibly proud of these firms that remained steadfastly focused on inclusivity through the Mansfield Rule as the pandemic and its implications disrupted so many business processes," said Lisa Kirby, Chief Intelligence & Knowledge Sharing Officer at Diversity Lab. "And the shattering examples of racial injustice we've witnessed this summer caused many firms to further deepen their commitment to taking direct action to equalize the playing field in law firm leadership."
Diversity Lab is an incubator for innovative ideas and solutions that boost diversity and inclusion in law. Experimental ideas are created through Hackathons and piloted in collaboration with more than 150 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.