Kennedys signs up to Mansfield Rule to drive greater transparency around diversity and inclusion in the US and UK

Kennedys are among the US Mansfield 5.0 cohort and one of the first in the UK to sign up to the Mansfield Rule since its launch last month.

The Mansfield Rule, a project run by the Diversity Lab, is a 12-month certification process which aims to boost the representation of historically underrepresented lawyers in law firm leadership. The Mansfield Rule is named after Arabella Mansfield, the first female lawyer in the US, and was inspired by the NFL’s Rooney Rule, a policy which encourages NFL teams to interview at least one minority candidate for head coaching positions.

While the Mansfield Rule originated in the US, it rolled out its first UK based version in July 2021. We will be participating in the project in the US, and are among 14 leading law firms piloting the program in the UK over the next 12 months.

The Mansfield Rule measures whether law firms have considered at least 30% women, racial and ethnic minorities, LGBTQ+ lawyers, and lawyers with disabilities for top leadership roles, equity partner promotions, formal client pitch opportunities, and senior lateral positions. Recent data shows that from 2017 to 2019, Mansfield Rule firms grew the racial and ethnic diversity of their top leadership by more than 30 times the rate of non-Mansfield Rule Firms.

To achieve certification, a firm must:

  • Consider at least 30% historically underrepresented lawyers for 70% or more of the firm’s leadership roles, committees, and activities during the review period July 15, 2021 to July 14, 2022
  • Track and document the makeup of candidate pools by demographic identity
  • Complete the three-month, six-month, and annual check-in surveys and data collection requests
  • Engage in community building and knowledge sharing with participating firms.

In the US, where the program has already been established, we are one of over 160 US and Canadian firms pursuing the Mansfield certification. The enhanced Mansfield Rule 5.0 certification process introduces a number of new requirements for participating firms, including tracking candidate pools in a disaggregated manner to measure the impact of the rule by each underrepresented group. Firms must also: add an option for Middle Eastern and North African identity; consider at least 30% underrepresented lawyers for nominations to the Chambers USA directory to increase the visibility of those lawyers; consider 30% underrepresented individuals when hiring and promoting C-level or other senior-level professional staff roles.

Ingrid Hobbs, Kennedys UK partner and global board member said: “As a D&I Partner Ambassador in the UK I am really proud that Kennedys brings together individuals from all over the world with their own cultures, languages, backgrounds and experiences. We embrace, value and celebrate difference because we understand that having a diverse perspective and different experiences helps us solve the toughest challenges and makes us a better law firm. Consequently, we wanted to follow in the footsteps of our US colleagues, and join this pilot of the Mansfield Rule as soon as it became available in the UK.”

Meg Catalano, US regional managing partner and global board member said: “We view diversity and inclusion as a key priority. We understand that it is important to represent the diversity of our people, our clients and our communities, and to create an inclusive culture in which everyone, regardless of their background, identity or circumstance, can thrive at work.

We are committed to increasing the representation of women, ethnic minorities, LGBTQ+ and people with disabilities across the firm, in senior management positions and at partnership level. In 2020 we achieved a 30% female partnership and look forward to continued progress as we work toward Mansfield certification.

Natalia Marulanda, Diversity Lab’s Mansfield Rule Director said: “I am delighted that Kennedys in the US and the UK have come onboard and signed up to support the Mansfield Rule.

“We have received many requests over the last few years to launch a UK version of the Mansfield Rule, so we were thrilled to work with an advisory group of leading talent experts at these firms to formulate a similar version. We now have the opportunity to test these same principles, which have been incredibly effective in the US and Canada, in a new context with this group of trailblazing UK firms.”

For the last four years we have been a global partner of the Dive In Festival – a global movement in the insurance sector to support the development of inclusive workplace cultures. Its mission is to enable people to achieve their potential by raising awareness of the business case and promoting positive action for diversity in all its forms.

Mansfield Law Firm Participation Badge