Fish & Richardson has received the highest designation of Mansfield Rule, 4.0 Certified Plus, from Diversity Lab for successfully reaching at least 30% diverse lawyer representation in a notable number of current leadership roles. The firm has achieved certified status every year since participating in the Mansfield Rule’s inaugural pilot in 2017.
“Fish is deeply committed to increasing the diversity in law firm leadership and is proud to partner with Diversity Lab to implement meaningful change both within the firm and throughout the legal community,” said Fish Chief Operating Officer Kristine McKinney, who previously served as the firm’s chief legal talent & inclusion officer.
The Mansfield Rule certification measures whether law firms have affirmatively considered at least 30% women, attorneys of color, LGBTQ+, and lawyers with disabilities for leadership and governance roles, equity partner promotions, formal client pitch opportunities, and senior lateral positions. Fish’s designation comes after a 12-month certification process, which included frequent firm check-ins, data collection, and ongoing collaboration through monthly group knowledge sharing meetings.
Inspired by the NFL’s Rooney Rule, the Mansfield Rule was one of the winning ideas from the 2016 Women in Law Hackathon hosted by Diversity Lab. The program’s elements and operations are grounded in behavioral science research, including the 30% requirement, which researchers have found is the critical mass necessary to disrupt biases. The goal of the Mansfield Rule is to boost the representation of diverse lawyers in law firm leadership by broadening the pool of candidates considered for opportunities.
“Having a diverse team at all levels of our firm enhances the quality of legal services we provide to our clients and strengthens the fabric of Fish,” added Ahmed J. Davis, principal and national chair of Fish’s Diversity & Inclusion initiative. “We are gratified to again receive this designation from Diversity Lab.”
Diversity and inclusion is a strategic priority at Fish. To further this commitment, the firm has implemented a Diversity and Inclusion Strategic Plan, with the mission to promote a creative, respectful, and inclusive culture that values the diversity of people, experiences, perspectives, talents, and capabilities, allowing Fish to thrive. Recognizing that diverse backgrounds provide unique perspectives and having a team that reflects the diversity of the public enhances the quality of legal services we provide to our clients, we work hard to attract, retain, and advance diverse legal staff. To help us achieve our goals, the firm has a robust 1L Diversity Fellowship program, launched in 2005, which awards scholarships and summer associate positions to diverse first-year law students throughout the country. In 2021, we hosted our largest class of Diversity Fellows and are proud to share that all will return for a second summer.
The firm also has several diversity, equity, and inclusion affinity and allyship groups and programs, including a multifaceted Racial Justice Initiative, which includes increased training, a comprehensive resource hub, and increased racial justice pro bono and community engagement. Through the initiative we have presented quarterly firmwide Town Halls that engage our diverse legal staff and business services professionals to speak candidly about their experiences with diversity, equity, and inclusion. Additionally, Fish’s EMPOWER Women’s Initiative focuses on addressing issues unique to women in the legal profession, increasing opportunities for networking and mentoring relationships, and providing tools and resources to position the firm’s women for success.
The firm was recently selected as a Best Law Firm for Women for the fourth consecutive year by Seramount (formerly Working Mother Media) and a Best Place to Work by the Human Rights Campaign Corporate Equality Index, among other honors.