Women have, for decades, been under represented in the field of IP. A new initiative by seven leading female IP lawyers is designed to change this. The Inclusion Blueprint Survey was launched in August 2018 by ChIPs, a non-profit founded in 2005. ChIPs focuses on advancing women in technology, law and policy. The survey results reveal that Brook Kushman, a Southfield Michigan-based firm and Los Angeles based Sheppard Mullin scored the highest overall points in the survey.
The Inclusion Blueprint Survey is designed to measure gender diversity and to collect qualitative information about the work experiences of female IP lawyers. ChIPs collaborated with Diversity Lab to generate measurments that would encourage firms to do more than just focus on head count. The 50 questions survey was sent to 59 law firms. 35 completed the survey. The firms were asked about their efforts to monitor and measure the work experience of lawyers, including billable and non-billable work allocation, gender neutral leave options, pay equity, sponsorship, involvement in clinet pitches, origination credit and other developmental and advancement opportunities.
Karen Royer, executive director of ChIPs, has confirmed that the Inclusion Blueprint Survey will now be an ongoing endeavour, conducted annually. The intention also is that as the survey progesses it will be adapted to look at other practice areas and tackle gender parity there too.
The Inclusion Blueprint Survey compliments a seperate initiative from the Diversity Lab. The Mansfield Rule, named after the first female lawyer in the US, was launched in 2017 by Diversity Lab. Law firms adopt the rule pledge that women and minorities will make up at least 30 per cent of the candidates for any leadership or governance positions, including lateral hires and equity partner promotions. The Diversity Lab is also partnering with ALM, the parent company of The American Lawyer, to develop a new, searchable feature in ALM Intelliegence's LegalCompass database to allow in-house counsel to search for law firms to see if they are "Mansfield Centrified" or are "In Progress".