Diversity Lab names eight US law firms 'inclusion champions' for DEI progress

New entrants including Orrick and Morrison Foerster join returning champions Reed Smith and Morgan Lewis


Eight US law firms including Reed Smith and Morgan Lewis and thirteen individual practice groups have been named ‘inclusion champions’ by Diversity Lab for their commitment to improving diversity, equity and inclusion within their ranks in 2022. 

The successful firms were selected out of the 240 participating firms that signed up to Diversity Lab’s Inclusion Blueprint programme, which measures firms with a score out of 100 across four areas, namely current diversity representation based on average or above-average thresholds, year-over-year diversity representation progress, diversity representation tracking and meaningful inclusion practices and activities. 

The number of champions is lower than last year, when 20 US law firms including White & Case and Cooley were named to the list

This year, Davis Wright Tremaine, Morrison Foerster, Nixon Peabody, Orrick, Perkins Coie and Eversheds Sutherland’s US business all joined Reed Smith and Morgan Lewis in receiving a score above 70 out of the possible hundred, earning themselves the title of this year’s ‘inclusion champions’. 

Individual practice groups to receive the nod for their progress included Sheppard Mullin’s real estate practice, Steptoe & Johnson’s litigation practice and Foley & Lardner’s healthcare practice. 

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For the first time this year, the criteria included meeting a threshold or demonstrating year-over-year progress for each of the programme’s assessed underrepresented populations, which are women lawyers, minority racial and ethnic lawyers, LGBTQ+ lawyers and lawyers with disabilities. 

Leila Hock, Diversity Lab’s chief growth officer, noted the progress made by the organisation since it was founded in 2018, highlighting in a statement how the programme has grown from its initial focus on tracking and implementing inclusion practices for women. 

“As seen by their high scores for all groups, this year’s champions are clearly leading the industry on two fronts – they are ensuring that all underrepresented groups are provided with equal access to opportunities and they are investing in the critical but harder-to-implement inclusion practices that are true motivators for change,” she said. 

In May, Diversity Lab certified the inaugural cohort of midsize firms under its Mansfield Rule Certification programme, which works to improve diversity of senior employees. The list of successful midsize firms – denoting firms with between 25 and 150 lawyers – included Brooks Kushman, Hausfeld, The Cook Group, Drew Eckl & Farnham, Ivins Phillips & Barker, Marshall Gerstein & Borun, Severson & Werson and Wilkinson Barker Knauer. 

Inspired by the NFL’s Rooney Rule, the Mansfield programme was designed to grow the racial and ethnic diversity of those firms’ management committees so that at least 30% of candidates are from underrepresented groups. 

Last November, Diversity Lab also launched an initiative to help 200 women lawyers return to the profession by 2025 in an effort to reverse the number of women who have left the workforce over the last few years.


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