On Sept. 14, 2021, Diversity Lab announced that McGuireWoods successfully completed the Mansfield Rule 4.0 Certification Program and once again 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 118 law firms that successfully completed Diversity Lab’s Mansfield Rule 4.0 Certification Program, which ran from July 2020 to July 2021. The firm also achieved Mansfield Certification Plus status last year and has already signed on to participate with more than 160 other firms in the Mansfield 5.0 Certification Program, running July 2021 through July 2022.
The Mansfield Rule has become the standard by which law firms track and measure that they have affirmatively considered at least 30 percent women, lawyers of color, lawyers with disabilities, and LGBTQ+ lawyers for top leadership roles, senior-level lateral hiring, promotions into the equity partnership and participation in client pitch meetings.
Certification Plus status indicates that, in addition to meeting baseline certification requirements, the firm successfully met or surpassed the 30 percent representation threshold in a notable number of its current leadership roles.
“We are thrilled to celebrate these firms that have worked so tirelessly to implement the Mansfield Rule principles and create inclusive workplaces where every lawyer has the ability to thrive and the opportunity to lead,” said Natalia Marulanda, Mansfield Rule director at Diversity Lab, in a statement. “Despite the ongoing challenges of the pandemic, the Mansfield Rule certified firms have not deviated from their goal of ensuring that law firm leadership reflects the rich diversity of the profession. We are enormously proud to work with such a committed group of firms.”
Participating law firms complete three-month, six-month and annual check-in surveys and data collection requests during the review period, and they engage in community building and knowledge sharing with participating firms.
Achieving Mansfield Certification Plus strongly aligns with McGuireWoods’ core values, which include D&I. As explained by managing partner J. Tracy Walker IV, the firm’s commitment to diversity and inclusion is reflected in the membership of its client and leadership teams. “Our clients benefit from the different life experiences and backgrounds of our lawyers,” he said.
The firm’s Diverse Associates Leadership Program and Women’s Leadership Development Forum were designed to equip top-performing associates of color and women and LGBTQ+ associates with the leadership skills essential to advance into the partnership ranks of the firm. Baltimore partner Ava Lias-Booker, chair of the firm’s Diversity & Inclusion Committee, said, “Through these innovative programs, we want to ensure our talented associates know we are 100 percent invested in them and in their success.”
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 1, 2021, 64 percent of McGuireWoods associates are historically underrepresented lawyers.