Arabella Mansfield isn’t a household name or someone whom you hear of often, but she was a pioneer in her day, an activist, a champion of equal rights for women and was the first female lawyer in the United States, passing the bar in 1869. Even in death her name channeled activism.

Fast-forward to 2017, when an idea was born at a Diversity Lab event called the “Mansfield Rule” that was aimed to create a system to encourage Big Law firms to consider women or minority candidates for top-level positions at firms. The concept of the Mansfield Rule underscored the need to radically change the diversity issue the legal industry faced.

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