June 14, 2019 / Press Release

Porter Wright joins national effort to boost diversity and inclusion in law firm hiring and leadership

Porter Wright Morris & Arthur LLP announced that it has joined the third cycle of a national pilot program focused on implementing the Mansfield Rule, which measures whether law firms considered at least 30% women, lawyers of color, lawyers with disabilities, and LGBTQ+ lawyers for significant leadership positions and promotions.

“We know that when aspiring lawyers who consider themselves to be a minority see people like themselves on the rosters of firm leadership, they are more likely to want to work here,” said Joyce Edelman, chair of Porter Wright’s Women’s Leadership Initiative. “Porter Wright strives to be a place where all feel welcome and see themselves as future leaders.”

The Mansfield Rule is named after Arabella Mansfield, the first female lawyer in the U.S., and was developed by the Diversity Lab, an innovation incubator on diversity and inclusion. More than 100 law firms participated in the first two cycles of the Mansfield Rule pilot program. Data already shows that those firms are staying committed to their pledge by having increased formal discussions aimed at diversifying the pool of candidates for partnership and leadership roles, and adding diversity to their leadership, hiring and promotions pipelines.

Porter Wright already has an established record of committing to diversity, equity and inclusion. In 2018, firm leaders signed “The Columbus Commitment,” which asks companies to commit to learning about the gender pay gap, understand how race and other factors can amplify disparities, and build awareness of the unique challenges facing women in the workplace. Porter Wright is also a member of a coalition of five law firms that regularly holds community conversations to increase awareness of gender equity issues in the legal industry.

Internally, the firm also has three voluntary employee resource groups that are meant to foster a diverse and inclusive workplace:

  • The Equality Alliance focuses on creating an inclusive environment for the LGBTQ+ community by implementing progressive internal policies and procedures, providing professional development opportunities and setting business goals that help to recruit and retain LGBTQ+ attorneys and staff. 
  • The Women’s Leadership Initiative encourages the retention and promotion of women lawyers, highlights Porter Wright’s inclusive culture, and promotes the development of business by encouraging and partnering with women leaders inside and outside the firm.
  • The Diverse Attorney Network focuses on mentorship, professional development, and recruiting and retention among Porter Wright attorneys who identify as ethnically diverse.

“Our mission is to not simply create policies, but rather to truly live them well, and pledging to the Mansfield Rule 3.0 pilot project is a great way to turn our words into action,” said Bob Tannous, Porter Wright Managing Partner. “In participating in this pilot, we are proud to not only collaborate with other firms to improve what we are doing in this space, but also to provide useful data to show the legal industry as a whole the importance and benefit of diversifying their leadership.”

During the pilot program, Porter Wright will provide data and engage in knowledge sharing with other participating firms. It begins on July 15, 2019 and will last 12 months.