October 18, 2022 / Press Release

Porter Wright earns ‘Mansfield Rule Certification Plus’ achievement for third year in a row

Sustained dedication to diversity and systemic change in the legal industry propel firm’s participation in Mansfield 5.0 and renewed commitment to Mansfield 6.0 for 2023

It is one thing to say you are committed to diversity, equity and inclusion in the workplace. It is yet another to demonstrate that commitment through a year-long, data-driven, requirement-filled certification process. Porter Wright is proud to announce it has again achieved Mansfield Rule Certification and Mansfield Rule Certification Plus through Mansfield Rule 5.0 for considering and appointing at least 30% underrepresented lawyers in a notable number of current leadership roles throughout the firm.

“Our firm is grateful for the opportunity to be a part of this ongoing effort to advance and achieve meaningful DE&I results alongside our peers in the legal industry,” shared Deb Boiarsky, Chief Operating Partner at Porter Wright. “The collective outcomes show that the Mansfield Rule initiative is systemically diversifying law firm leadership and we are proud to be a part of that process. Though the progress is gradual and there is much more to accomplish, we look forward to continuing our efforts to effect change in our firm and in our profession.”

Three years ago, Porter Wright joined dozens of other firms in the Mansfield RuleTM effort to help increase and sustain diversity in leadership, and the pipeline to leadership, within the legal industry. Through data tracking, knowledge sharing and transparency, the Mansfield Rule aims to shift cultures and mindsets, and increase the visibility and economic power of underrepresented talent within law firms.

“One of the most important actions our firm has taken in our Mansfield effort is pulling together a dedicated team of attorneys and administrative leaders to collaborate on instituting proper process and collecting critical data,” said Joyce Edelman, partner and founder of the firm’s Women’s Leadership Initiative. “The team is passionate and deeply rooted in the firm’s goals of improving diversity, equity and inclusion at every level—and especially with our recruitment, retention and promotion efforts.  The data we collect drives our efforts, reminds us where we stand and helps us stay focused on our goals.”

A new baseline for change
To achieve Mansfield Rule certification, Porter Wright collaborates with DiversityLab each year to complete diversity audits and share specific data centered on considering at least 30% diverse attorneys for management roles. 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 2021, The American Lawyer shared that “Mansfield firms have grown diverse leadership 30 times more than other firms.” Within a few years of the Mansfield Rule being established, hundreds of firm across the U.S., Canada and the U.K. are participating in the certification process and effecting data-proven change. The legal industry is coming together on this critical need for transformation, and while the results are encouraging, there is more to be done.

“We have formalized processes, established policies and implemented programs to bolster our diversity, equity and inclusion efforts in every area of our business,” shared Karim Ali, partner and Chief Diversity Officer for the firm. “But even with all of this in place, meaningful progress takes time. We must be diligent each day in the decisions we make toward hiring, retaining and promoting diverse attorneys.”

300+ law firms, legal departments join Mansfield Rule effort
Porter Wright was the very first central Ohio-based law firm to earn Mansfield Rule Certification and Mansfield Rule Certification Plus as part of Diversity Lab’s Mansfield Rule 3.0 program. The firm then committed to and participated in the next two cycles of Mansfield Rule certification — Mansfield Rule 4.0 and 5.0 — and this past summer began its fourth engagement by committing to Mansfield Rule 6.0.

Within the year-long certification period ending in July 2022, Porter Wright is proud to share that the firm satisfied 100% of the Mansfield Rule certification criteria, including:

  • 75% of the firm’s heads of offices were diverse
  • 31% of the firm’s equity partners were diverse
  • 50% of the firm’s promoted attorneys were diverse
  • 49% of the firm’s pitch team members were diverse

Collective progress towards change
The Mansfield Rule certification process is not just about turning over data and receiving a list of results — it’s about coming together as a legal community to share resources and experience, discuss best practices and offer support and guidance. True collaboration between law firms and legal departments ensures industry-wide improvement that benefits everyone, including our clients.

Collective, nationwide firm outcomes following the adoption of the Mansfield Rule include:

  • While non-Mansfield firms increased the racial and ethnic diversity of their management committees by a tenth of one percent (.13%), Mansfield firms increased by 4.4%—more than 30 times the rate of non-Mansfield firms.
  • The racial and ethnic diversity of non-Mansfield firms’ partner nomination committees declined by nearly 1.0% between 2017 and 2019, while Mansfield firms increased by nearly 4%.
  • Non-Mansfield firms increased the racial and ethnic diversity of their equity partnership by 0.6% between 2017 and 2019, while Mansfield firms more than doubled with an increase of 1.5%.

Read more information about Porter Wright’s diversity, equity and inclusion efforts.