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Clifford Chance

Clifford Chance
Responsible Business Insights<br />

Responsible Business Insights

Acting responsibly

A clear focus on Diversity and Inclusion through the Mansfield Rule

At the end of June 2021, the firm announced it would expand from US participation to the new UK pilot of the Mansfield Rule certification process, joining 12 other UK firms – and 160 in the US and Canada – that have signed up to the inclusion initiative.

Founded in 2017, the Mansfield Rule is a process that aims to increase the representation of historically underrepresented lawyers in law firm leadership. The standard helps law firms track and measure that they have considered at least 30% women, racial and ethnic minorities, LGBT+ lawyers and lawyers with disabilities for leadership and governance roles, equity partner promotions, formal client pitch opportunities and senior lateral positions.

Since signing up to the Mansfield Rule in the US in its inaugural year, our experience is that it has been instrumental in helping to deliver our global Inclusion Strategy. By providing focus and clear measurement data on hiring and promotion processes, the initiative has already yielded impressive results and helped inspire its adoption in the UK.

To make sure we’re meeting the Rule’s requirements for certification, we have a team who monitor compliance regularly throughout the year and engage relevant stakeholders as needed to ensure that we are considering a broad array of lawyers for leadership and governance roles, partner promotions, client pitches and senior lateral positions.

“Our experience participating in the Mansfield Rule process has been wholly positive,” says Evan Cohen, Regional Managing Partner Americas. “We’re in our sixth year of participation, have obtained certification every year and it has certainly led to an increase in the percentage of associates and partners we’ve hired from historically underrepresented groups since we became involved, including lateral hires.”

For UK operations, the firm welcomed the opportunity to take part, seeing the process as key to focusing its thinking about how it could have an impact at the senior level – on senior hires and on the makeup of internal committees to ensure increased diversity of role models in the firm.

“Key for us was the clarity of communication around what we’re trying to achieve,” says Sarah Twite, Senior Wellbeing Manager. “The 30% diverse rule is memorable, impactful and clear, so it’s easy to communicate it with recruiters and internally.

“Mansfield has also enhanced our approach and focus on how we track progress, spotlight our measurement and ensure we report how we are doing against our targets and previous performance.”

One of the biggest challenges for the firm and the industry is ensuring diversity in senior lateral hires.

“At the partner level, when you’re hiring laterally, you’re largely faced with searching within an underrepresented talent pool,” says Global Head of Recruitment, Sarah Langton. “That’s why Clifford Chance has been strongly committed for many years to increasing access into the profession, to ensure the pool is diverse enough for the future.

“We’ve also ensured all our recruitment agencies are aware of our diversity and inclusion targets, including those supporting partner hiring, and we’re measuring and monitoring our progress.”

Our experience in the US suggests the best strategy for improving diversity at a senior level is to stay focused.

“You need to be promoting it internally, making recruiters aware of your intentions and ensuring the support and training are available,” says Evan. “You need to make sure that, by the time people are nearing partnership, there is a diverse group to consider. That is how you ensure diversity in promotions and diversity in the partnership.”

What does the Mansfield Rule mean for inclusion at Clifford Chance?

We recently achieved 5.0 certification in the US (our sixth year of certification), and Mansfield Plus status in the UK! But what does the certification process involve, and what does it mean for us as a firm? Watch to find out.