(CHICAGO) Katten announced today that the firm has joined more than 180 large law firms in participating in the Mansfield Rule 6.0 certification process aimed at diversifying leadership in the legal profession.
"Katten has participated in the Mansfield Rule initiative every year since its inception because we are deeply committed to removing any barriers and achieving greater progress for underrepresented attorneys, particularly in the leadership ranks," said Chief Diversity Partner Leslie Minier. "We strongly believe that diversity at all levels can drive innovation, improve client service and result in a more inclusive culture and supportive workplace."
"Engagement in Mansfield also affords us an opportunity to think strategically about succession planning so we can better prepare the next generation of firm leaders while continuing to deliver exceptional client service," Minier added.
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.
Since launching five years ago, the program’s leaders have expanded its parameters 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 pipeline activities, such as pitch teams and senior-level lateral hiring.
The newest version of the program requires law firms to include in pools of candidates for leadership roles and equity partnership, among a dozen other activities that focus on the path to leadership, at least 30 percent historically underrepresented attorneys from all four groups. Firms must also consider 30 percent underrepresented talent for C-suite roles, create and publish job descriptions for leadership roles, and continue to meet routine check-in, data-collection and reporting milestones. Firms are asked to share lessons learned through monthly knowledge-sharing forums.
Last year, Katten achieved Mansfield Rule 4.0 Certification Plus status, indicating the firm actually achieved diversity in leadership, not just considered it. Results of the Mansfield Rule 5.0 certification process are expected in the fall.
Coinciding with Katten's participation in the Mansfield Rule 6.0 certification process, the firm recently marked the completion of this summer's diversity summit offered to diverse attorneys and summer associates in various firm offices. The summit, focused on connectedness and resilience, was designed to provide attorneys with insight into ways to navigate their careers, identify and overcome obstacles, and build successful relationships.
This year, Katten expanded its Kattalyst sponsorship program to a yearlong professional development curriculum, pairing 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.