(CHICAGO) Katten announced today that the firm has joined more than 160 large law firms in the United States and Canada in participating in the Mansfield Rule 5.0 certification process in an effort to increase racial and ethnic diversity in law firm hierarchy.
"Our ongoing participation in the Mansfield Rule since the pilot launched illustrates our deep commitment to moving the needle on diversity, equity and inclusion efforts at our firm and throughout the legal industry," said Chief Diversity Partner Leslie Minier. "We strive to be a law firm that prepares the next generation of future law firm leaders and fosters an inclusive culture where all our attorneys have an equal opportunity to succeed."
Mansfield Rule 5.0 expands the program's certification requirements aimed at boosting representation of historically underrepresented attorneys in the ranks of law firm leadership.
The Mansfield Rule is a winning idea from Diversity Lab's Women in Law Hackathon and was named after Arabella Mansfield, the first woman admitted to practice law in the United States. Using the program, law firms have tracked how they measure up to the standard of considering at least 30 percent women, attorneys of color, LGBTQ+ attorneys, and attorneys with disabilities when choosing candidates for top leadership roles, senior-level lateral hiring, promotions into the equity partnership, and participation in client pitch meetings.
The latest iteration of the program tasks law firms with tracking their candidate pools to measure the impact of the Mansfield Rule on each underrepresented group. Participating firms must include among the underrepresented groups an option for Middle Eastern/North African identity, a demographic often overlooked by current self-identification options.
Underrepresented attorneys must account for at least 30 percent of the candidates considered for nominations to Chambers USA, a guide that ranks attorneys and law firms. This is meant to increase the external visibility of historically marginalized attorneys, both with clients and in the marketplace more broadly. Additionally, law firms are requested to consider 30 percent underrepresented individuals when hiring and promoting C-level or other senior-level business professional roles.
Coinciding with Katten's participation in the Mansfield Rule 5.0 certification process, the firm this month marked the start of a two-part virtual diversity series offered to diverse attorneys and summer associates. The series is designed to provide guidance on how to leverage current increased access to and attract the attention of senior leadership, and to address what corporate clients expect from law firms and what is working for law firms, in terms of diversity and inclusion best practices and initiatives.
This year, Katten rolled out a pilot sponsorship program called Kattalyst, focused on retaining and advancing underrepresented attorneys with high potential who are paired with senior-level partners to use their insights and connections to fill experiential gaps and open doors to opportunities.
Complementing that effort was the Katten Women's Leadership Forum six-part boot camp series, which wrapped up in the spring and provided practical business development training and support for women attorneys in various stages of their careers. Sessions were centered on strategies to enhance their professional development so they can strengthen their potential for advancement.