We are two data science professors who have long been interested in how best to measure the effectiveness of diversity efforts in the legal industry. (That’s right: we’re legal data nerds.) After crunching some recently-released data, our findings show that the legal industry as a whole has made slow but significant progress in leadership diversity. Our statistical analyses also show that when looking at the gender and racial diversity of firms’ equity partnerships, and the racial diversity of firms’ executive committees, diverse representation at Mansfield early-adopter firms is getting better faster than at non-Mansfield firms. The practical effect of being a Mansfield early-adopter firm in these areas was to roughly double the rate at which gender and racial representation is improving.

Since joining Mansfield in 2017, early-adopter firms have embedded practices to consider at least 30% women lawyers and underrepresented racial/ethnic (URE) lawyers for leadership and governance roles and committees, equity partner promotions, client pitch opportunities, senior lateral positions, and more. The requirements and categories have evolved year-over-year, including adding LGBTQ+ lawyers and lawyers with disabilities in recent iterations. And firms are required to report on their tracking and documentation efforts and their progress to Diversity Lab to ensure accountability.

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