Frost Brown Todd One of the First Mid-America Firms to Track Diversity Efforts by Seeking Mansfield 3.0 Certification
Program inspired by the NFL’s Rooney Rule
Frost Brown Todd’s (FBT) efforts to diversify the firm will undergo a 12-month voluntary tracking process developed by Diversity Lab. Mansfield Rule 3.0 measures whether FBT has affirmatively considered at least 30 percent women, lawyers of color, and LGBTQ+ lawyers for leadership and governance roles, equity partner promotions, formal client pitch opportunities, and senior lateral positions. The goal of the Mansfield Rule is to boost the representation of diverse lawyers in law firm leadership by broadening the pool of candidates considered for these opportunities. New this year, Diversity Lab will also look at the inclusion of lawyers with disabilities.
“Increased diversity and inclusion is a top priority of FBT. We want to make sure that all of our attorneys and business professionals feel included in all that we do as a firm,” said Kimera Hall, the new chair of FBT’s Diversity and Inclusion Committee. “Mansfield Certification is another valuable tool to add to our diversity efforts. As a part of the third class to participate in the program, our desire to go through this rigorous assessment is a testament to our commitment to diversity and inclusion at the firm level.”
The Mansfield Rule is named for Arabella Mansfield, the first woman admitted to the practice of law in the United States-- 150 years ago. It was a winning idea from the 2016 Women in Law Hackathon hosted by Diversity Lab in collaboration with Bloomberg Law and Stanford Law School. It was inspired by the NFL’s Rooney Rule, created by the late Dan Rooney in 2003 and now supported by his son, Art Rooney II, President of the Pittsburgh Steelers and a named partner in the law firm Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney. The Rooney Rule requires every NFL team to interview at least one minority candidate for head coach vacancies. In the years following its implementation, the number of minorities hired to fill head coach roles doubled.
“The results of the Am Law 50 and Am Law 100 firms are impressive,” said FBT Chairman Robert V. Sartin. After adopting the Mansfield Rule, 94% of firms report their candidate pool for pitch teams was more diverse. An additional 79% said their lateral partner pool was more diverse and 76% report their equity partner pool was more diverse. And most impressive, 92% saw an increase in formal discussions regarding succession planning for leadership and governance roles. Similar results at FBT will not only benefit our lawyers and business professionals, but also our clients.”
FBT will either obtain certification or not in July 2020 depending on how the firm’s metrics meet the benchmarks determined by Diversity Lab.