Kennedys signs up to Mansfield Rule

updated on 08 September 2021

Commercial law firm Kennedys is among 14 leading law firms that have signed up to the Mansfield Rule to push greater transparency around diversity and inclusion in the legal profession, following its UK launch this summer.  

Run by the Diversity Lab, the Mansfield Rule, named after Arabella Mansfield - the first female lawyer in the US, is a 12-month certification process that aims to improve the representation of underrepresented lawyers in law firm leadership.

The rule, which is entering its fifth year, is similar to the NFL’s Rooney Rule, which urges NFL teams to interview at least one minority candidate for head coaching positions.

A UK-based version of the Mansfield Rule was rolled out in the UK this summer, having initially been launched in the US in 2017.

Kennedys will be participating in the project in both the US and UK. The UK firms will be piloting the programme across the next year.

As part of the rule, law firms will measure and report on whether they have considered at least 30% women, racial and ethnic minorities, LGBTQ+ lawyers, and lawyers with disabilities for:

  • leadership roles;
  • equity partner promotions;
  • formal client pitch opportunities; and
  • senior lateral positions.

Between 2017 and 2019, firms that had signed up to the Mansfield Rule saw growth in racial and ethnic diversity in their top leadership positions at 30 times the rate of firms that are yet to sign up to the rule.

There are several requirements that a firm must meet to receive certification – these include:

  • considering at least 30% historically underrepresented lawyers for 70% or more of its leadership roles, committees and activities during the review period 15 July 2021 to 14 July 2022;
  • tracking and documenting the makeup of candidate pools by demographic identity;
  • completing the three-month, six-month and annual check-in surveys and data collection requests; and
  • engaging in community building and knowledge sharing with participating firms.

In the US, there are 160 US and Canadian firms that have signed up to the Mansfield Rule and are working towards certification.

Kennedys UK Partner and Global Board Member Ingrid Hobbs said: “I am really proud that Kennedys brings together individuals from all over the world with their own cultures, languages, backgrounds and experiences. We embrace, value and celebrate difference because we understand that having a diverse perspective and different experiences helps us solve the toughest challenges and makes us a better law firm. Consequently, we wanted to follow in the footsteps of our US colleagues, and join this pilot of the Mansfield Rule as soon as it became available in the UK.”

Kennedys has also been a global partner of the Dive In Festival for the past four years. The global movement in the insurance sector supports the development of inclusive workplace cultures and aims is to help candidates reach their potential by promoting action for diversity.

The UK firms that have signed up to the Mansfield Rule are: