Diversity Lab certifies more than 40 in-house teams for D&I efforts

Latest cohort meeting NFL-inspired diversity hiring targets include Ford, Gap and McDonald’s

More than 40 in-house legal departments including HP, Ford, PayPal and Pfizer have earned the Diversity Lab’s Mansfield Certification, underscoring their commitment to the Lab’s NFL-inspired diversity rule.

The successful legal departments have spent the past two years working to meet the Mansfield Rule: Legal Department Edition 2.0 certification, which ensures that in-house teams consider diverse candidates for appointments and promotions to senior leadership and other roles within their organisation. At least 50% of those considered should be from underrepresented backgrounds, including racially and ethnically diverse lawyers, women and LGBTQ+ lawyers and lawyers with disabilities. In-house teams are also expected to seek diversity in their outside counsel.

The Mansfield Rule is inspired by the NFL’s Rooney Rule, which requires that NFL teams interview ethnic-minority candidates for vacant head coach positions and other senior roles.

Julie Jacobs, chief legal officer and general counsel at HP, said: “Given the demands that we make of our outside counsel to field diverse teams on HP matters, it was critically important to impose similar accountability on ourselves. Furthermore, being part of this community with like-minded companies allowed us to learn from different perspectives and share best practices while at the same time bringing our own perspective.”

Other in-house teams participating in the Mansfield Rule 2.0 include Bloomberg, Gap and McDonald’s, all three of which are renewing their participation in the third iteration of the rule, which is more challenging than previous versions. The 3.0 rule requires that in addition to 50% historically underrepresented lawyers including women, 20% of talent considered for leadership positions should be racially and ethnically diverse lawyers, lawyers with disabilities and/or LGBTQ+ lawyers.

Desiree Ralls-Morrison, global chief legal officer at McDonald’s, said: “We’re proud that McDonald’s legal department has achieved Mansfield Rule Certification Plus – a leading example of the action needed to accelerate change within the legal industry. Building DE&I into the way our legal team operates and in our partnerships has enabled us to recruit more equitably and foster a more diverse pipeline of talent.”

Earlier this year, Diversity Labs named eight US law firms as ‘inclusion champions’ for their work on diversity and inclusion initiatives. In May it also certified its first cohort of midsize firms in the US.

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