New findings show that law firms that piloted the Mansfield Rule have grown the racial and ethnic diversity of their leadership by more than 30 times the rate of other firms. These firms have also exceeded the norm in the rates at which racially diverse lawyers progressed into partnership and at which women lawyers progressed into leadership roles.

As the legal industry continues to struggle with diversity, these are notable results – especially considering that the Mansfield Rule is an idea borrowed from the NFL’s Rooney Rule and hatched in a hackathon. The basic idea is simple: firms commit that they will consider candidate pools that are at least 30% diverse when hiring senior associates and partners, promoting into equity partnership, and filling management positions.

But as Lisa Kirby, chief intelligence and knowledge sharing officer at Diversity Lab, explains, there is more to it than a simple percentage. Kirby, a former lawyer who oversees Mansfield Rule certification, joins host Bob Ambrogi to explain what the Mansfield Rule is, how it promises to drive diversity in law firms and legal departments, and how its scope and reach are expanding.

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Photo of Bob Ambrogi Bob Ambrogi

Bob is a lawyer, veteran legal journalist, and award-winning blogger and podcaster. In 2011, he was named to the inaugural Fastcase 50, honoring “the law’s smartest, most courageous innovators, techies, visionaries and leaders.” Earlier in his career, he was editor-in-chief of several legal publications, including The National Law Journal, and editorial director of ALM’s Litigation Services Division.