(CHICAGO) Katten announced today that the firm earned 2022 Mansfield Certified Plus status, marking the second consecutive year in which the firm has achieved at least 30 percent underrepresented attorney representation in a notable number of current leadership roles.
"We work hard at meeting and exceeding the Mansfield Rule certification benchmarks because we are committed to diversifying the legal industry and the leadership ranks at Katten by creating pipelines for women, attorneys of color and LGBTQ+ attorneys," said Katten's Chief Diversity Partner Leslie Minier.
As a result of Katten's efforts, the firm has notably achieved year-over-year increases for the past two years in regards to its senior-level hiring. For example, this year more than half of Katten's lateral partners hired have been diverse, and that number is higher when it comes to diverse associates fourth year and above joining Katten, in addition to a diverse class of summer associates. During the Mansfield 5.0 certification process, a number of attorneys also rotated into leadership positions as practice leaders and members of the board of directors, ensuring diversity is represented at all leadership levels.
Equally important is supporting all attorneys in their career goals and building a more inclusive workplace at Katten, according to Minier.
"Through programs ranging from mentoring and sponsorship to business development boot camps, we are focused on offering equitable opportunities for professional growth and advancement in the careers of our attorneys so everyone — particularly historically underrepresented attorneys — can find success at all levels," Minier said.
For example, Katten expanded its Kattalyst sponsorship program this year to a yearlong professional development curriculum, pairing diverse senior associates and income partners as protégés with firm leaders and senior-level partners as sponsors, who use their insights and business relationships to open more doors to opportunities for underrepresented attorneys.
Another offering was this summer's diversity summit designed to provide diverse attorneys and summer associates with insight into ways to navigate their careers, identify and overcome obstacles, and build successful relationships. This fall, the Katten Women's Leadership Forum offered female attorneys a two-part business development boot camp, providing practical advice on how to create winning pitch documents, conduct successful pitch meetings and land new work.
Additionally, Katten regularly partners with the Leadership Council on Legal Diversity and participates in the Fellows and Pathfinder professional development training programs.
The Mansfield Rule is a winning idea offered in 2016 during Diversity Lab's Women in Law Hackathon and was named after Arabella Mansfield, the first woman admitted to practice law in the United States. Katten was a member of the inaugural Mansfield Rule cohort and has renewed its participation and met the certification requirements every year.
Since launching, the program's parameters have been expanded to consider at least 30 percent women, attorneys of color, LGBTQ+ attorneys and attorneys with disabilities when choosing candidates for top leadership roles as well as critical talent pipeline activities, such as pitch teams staffing, senior-level lateral hiring and equity partnership promotions. Certification Plus status indicates the firm actually achieved diversity in leadership positions, not just considered it.