Diversity Lab recently announced that McGuireWoods achieved Mansfield Certification Plus status.
The Mansfield Rule program is designed to increase diversity in law firm lateral hiring, partner promotions, marketing and firm governance. McGuireWoods was one of 102 law firms that participated in Diversity Lab’s Mansfield Rule certification program, which ran from July 2019 to July 2020. In McGuireWoods’ first year participating, the firm achieved Mansfield Certification Plus status. McGuireWoods has signed on to participate with 116 other firms in the Mansfield Certification program, running July 2020 through July 2021.
The Mansfield Rule program requires law firms to affirmatively consider at least 30 percent women, lawyers of color, lawyers with disabilities, and/or LGBTQ+ lawyers for 70 percent or more of the firm’s leadership and governance roles, equity partner promotions, formal client pitch opportunities and senior lateral positions. Certification Plus status indicates that the firm met the 30 percent representation threshold in 70 percent of the Certification Plus categories. Participating law firms complete three-month, six-month and annual check-in surveys and data collection requests during the review period, and engage in community building and knowledge sharing with participating firms.
Achieving Mansfield Certification Plus strongly aligns with McGuireWoods’ strategy regarding diversity and inclusion to focus on leadership, not just numbers. As explained by Managing Partner J. Tracy Walker IV, diversity is critically important when it comes to firm leadership positions and client teams. "We think that leadership is a key ingredient in getting the diversity issue right, because these great women, LGBTQ+ lawyers and lawyers of color, in their leadership positions, are serving as role models and pulling up others behind them," Tracy said. "They are serving our clients incredibly well, they are helping grow the next generation of leadership at the firm, and they are a beacon to draw great young people into our firm."
The firm’s Diverse Associates Leadership Program (DALP) and Women’s Leadership Development Forum (WLDF) were designed to equip top-performing associates of color and women and LGBTQ+ associates with the leadership skills essential to their development and advancement into the partnership ranks of the firm, said Baltimore partner Ava Lias-Booker, head of the firm’s Diversity & Inclusion Committee. “To become leaders within law firms and the legal profession, associates must commit to stay the course and become partners and leaders so they can effect the positive change they so want to see in their firms and who they represent. Our generation of leaders need to become bridges for one of the best and brightest generations in history to ensure they have the tools they need to charge ahead and succeed.”
Several years ago, the firm adopted the Rooney Rule when recruiting associates to ensure that attorneys of color and women and LGBTQ+ lawyers are candidates for all open positions managed by the Attorney Recruitment & Professional Development Team. McGuireWoods’ implementation of the Rooney Rule pre-dated the announcement of the Mansfield Rule. The early adoption helped the firm increase the diversity of its associate population, including increased numbers of women, lawyers of color and LGBTQ+ lawyers. As of July 22, 2020, 60 percent of McGuireWoods associates are historically underrepresented lawyers.