Frost Brown Todd (FBT) earned its second consecutive Mansfield Rule™ Plus Certification. Created by Diversity Lab, the Mansfield Rule aims to increase the number of minority attorneys serving in law firm leadership. In order to obtain certification, FBT demonstrated that at least 30% of the candidates considered for new positions and advancement opportunities were attorneys of color, women attorneys, and LGBTQ+ attorneys.
The “Plus” designation, which is the highest level attainable under the program’s current framework, is given to law firms that achieve at least 30% minority attorney representation among equity members and in various leadership and governance roles. FBT exceeded the 30% threshold in nearly all of the categories tracked this year and was recertified Mansfield Rule™ Plus.
“What I value and appreciate is that each year Diversity Lab introduces new benchmarks. The bar is increasingly higher, which keeps firms from reverting to the status quo,” said FBT Chief Diversity Officer Chris Johnson. “Instead, it compels us to be more intentional about foregrounding DEI considerations in our hiring, advancement and culture practices. It also helps build greater transparency and accountability around our efforts. These efforts have helped us make progress, but it’s clear to me we have more to do to ensure the whole of our firm truly ‘feels’ this progress, and that in everything we do, we lead with the principles of inclusion and belonging. Mansfield has given us both a tool and road map for inclusion that truly reflect the teammates, clients and communities we are privileged to serve.”
There were a number of new requirements during the July 2021 to July 2022 review period. FBT tracked separate candidate pools to measure the impact of the Mansfield Rule for each group. At least 30% of the firm’s Chambers USA nominations had to be underrepresented lawyers. The same 30% requirement also applied to candidates considered when hiring or promoting for C-level or other senior-level professional staff roles. Promisingly, FBT saw diversity gains at the equity membership level (up 6% compared with 2020 stats).
Since Diversity Lab launched the Mansfield Rule program, it has emerged as a leading tool for advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion in the legal profession. Each new iteration of the program annually adds or expands on the requirements based on research, participant feedback, and evolving best practices. More than 160 law firms were certified this year under Mansfield 5.0, and FBT is part of a select group of firms that now participate in the certification process on an annual basis.