Fish Partners with Diversity Lab to Launch Innovative Pilot to Boost Diversity in Law Firm Leadership

Fish & Richardson has partnered with Diversity Lab to pilot the "Mansfield Rule," which requires law firms to consider women and attorneys of color for at least 30% of the candidate pool for leadership and governance roles, equity partner promotions, and lateral positions. Fish is among the first 30 U.S. law firms to adopt the Mansfield Rule, which is named after Arabella Mansfield, the first woman admitted to the practice of law in the United States. The Mansfield Rule was one of the winning ideas from the 2016 Women in Law Hackathon Shark Tank-style pitch competition hosted by Diversity Lab in collaboration with Bloomberg Law and Stanford Law School.

"At Fish, we know that diverse teams enhance the quality of legal services we provide to our clients, and strengthens our position as a top intellectual property law firm," said Kristine McKinney, Chief Professional Development Officer at Fish & Richardson. "We welcome the opportunity to participate in the Mansfield Rule pilot and are confident it will further boost diversity in leadership positions not just at our firm, but in the legal profession as a whole."

Firms that successfully pilot the Mansfield Rule over the next year will be designated "Mansfield Certified" and have the opportunity to send their recently promoted diverse partners to a two-day forum to build relationships with and learn from influential in-house counsel from more than 45 corporations from across the country.

Fish has supported and participated in many of Diversity Lab's diversity initiatives including the 2016 Hackathon. At that event, Fish principal Michael Florey and his team analyzed structural barriers and challenges that contribute to the attrition of women in law firms. Their research looked at the lack of economic power and influence currently held by women, examined the service partner role and feeling of futility it engenders, and concluded there is a clear need for women to gain more billing and relationship credit within their firms. Fish won second place with a pitch that took on the challenge of helping women attain the critical "client relationship manager" role that drives power and success within law firms. Fish donated its $7,500 prize to the UT Center for Women in Law.

Fish was also one of the original 15 law firms to participate in the pilot OnRamp Fellowship Program, a unique re-entry program that matches experienced women lawyers returning to the legal profession with law firms for a one-year paid fellowship. Women lawyers who are selected to participate in the highly competitive Fellowship program are provided with a partner advisor at our firm as well as training and career counseling. Fish's ongoing participation in the OnRamp program allows us to access an untapped market of skilled attorneys while increasing our gender diversity.

Diversity Lab creates and experiments with innovative ways to close the gender gap and boost diversity in law firms and legal departments by leveraging data, behavioral science, and design thinking. The Lab's first pilot initiative, the OnRamp Fellowship, is now the largest global re-entry platform matching experienced women returning to the workforce after a hiatus with more than 35 law firms, legal departments, and banks for year-long paid Fellowships in the U.S., Australia, the UK, and Canada. Due to the overwhelming success of and interest in Diversity Lab's 2016 Women in Law Hackathon, a series of "Diversity in Law Hackathons" are planned for 2018 in partnership with Harvard Law School Executive Education and other top law schools.