October 11, 2023 / Press Release

Increasing inclusivity at the top: Porter Wright achieves 2023 Mansfield Rule Certification Plus

Firm remains committed to ensuring diverse and transparent opportunities for advancement and leadership

Porter Wright announces that for the fourth year in a row it has achieved Mansfield Rule Certification Plus through Mansfield Rule 6.0 for considering and appointing at least 30% historically underrepresented lawyers in a notable number of current leadership roles throughout the firm. This includes consideration of at least 30% women lawyers, attorneys of color, LGBTQ+ attorneys, and lawyers with disabilities for leadership and governance roles, equity partner promotions, formal client pitch opportunities, and lateral hires. In addition, Porter Wright has signed on to participate in its fifth certification year, which began July 2023.

“We continue to find the Mansfield Rule process invaluable to our firm wide diversity and inclusion efforts,” shared Bob Tannous, Managing Partner at Porter Wright. “Across our nine offices, our legal teams communicate and collaborate regularly to ensure inclusivity when building pitch teams, considering promotions and satisfying leadership roles. The process has become engrained in our operations and in our culture, and we are determined to make further progress in this fifth year of participation.”

The current Mansfield Rule certification process tracks and measures whether law firms and legal departments are considering a broad pool of talent – including historically underrepresented groups such as women lawyers, underrepresented racial and ethnic lawyers, LGBTQ+ lawyers, and lawyers with disabilities – for leadership roles and career advancement opportunities. The tracking and documentation required for Mansfield Certification, although intensive, provides a structured approach to ensure all talent has a fair and equal opportunity to advance into leadership.

A fourth year of measureable progress

Through Mansfield’s framework, participating firms are now attaching metrics to processes and experiencing positive changes as a result. Within the year-long certification period ending July 2023, Porter Wright has satisfied Mansfield Rule Certification Plus criteria, including:

  • 70% of the firm’s heads of offices were diverse
  • 67% of the firm’s executive committee were diverse
  • 30% of the firm’s equity partners were diverse
  • 49% of the firm’s formal pitch teams were diverse

“As more law firms and law departments embrace the Mansfield Rule certification process, the more our industry will begin to be defined by transparency and fairness in connection with leadership development,” said Karim Ali, partner and Chief Diversity Officer at Porter Wright. “Changing the legal industry requires continuous and intentional efforts to make meaningful progress over time.”

According to Diversity Lab, the innovative research organization behind the Mansfield Rule process, “Industry data shows that leadership in law firms and legal departments does not reflect the diversity of the workforce or society.” That is why they developed the Mansfield Certification effort, a science-backed and data-driven solution, to help elevate inclusivity and access in law firms and across corporate legal departments.

“This is a critical time for law firms to establish the most equitable hiring and retention practices possible,” said Joyce Edelman, partner and founder of the firm’s Women’s Leadership Initiative. “The legal industry continues to change, and our clients and the next generation of lawyers demand that the law firms they work with and for offer diverse pitch teams and opportunities for advancement and leadership for all.”

Four years ago, Porter Wright was the first law firm headquartered in Ohio to join the Mansfield Rule effort to help increase and sustain diversity in leadership, and the pipeline to leadership, within the legal industry. The Mansfield methodology is grounded in behavioral science, which research shows is necessary for access to and representation in leadership. Participating firms are required to take part in data collection and reporting, accountability through frequent check-ins and audits, ongoing collaboration through monthly knowledge sharing forums, and transparency in public certification. The outcomes are measured annually and the requirements evolve every year to drive further progress.