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Varnum to Begin Mansfield Rule Certification Process

June 29, 2021

Year-long Undertaking Marks Commitment to Diversity and Inclusion

In furtherance of its commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion, Varnum has announced it will participate in the Mansfield Rule 5.0 certification process.

The Mansfield Rule is a program for law firms designed to boost the representation of historically underrepresented lawyers in firm leadership. The program measures whether women, racial and ethnic minorities, LGBTQ+ lawyers, and lawyers with disabilities have been considered for leadership opportunities, promotions, lateral positions, and career-enhancing work opportunities. The certification process is a national and international program run by Diversity Lab.

"We are committing to this process as part of our ongoing effort to increase diversity and to ensure that all people have the opportunity to succeed at our firm," said Varnum Executive Partner Scott Hill "We're excited to be working with Diversity Lab and to be part of the 5.0 program."

To achieve Mansfield Rule Certification, law firms are required to demonstrate year-long progress in increasing diversity in senior recruitment and leadership decisions and consider a minimum of 30 percent diverse candidates for these roles. Based on the premise that "you get what you measure," the process includes establishing and tracking certain data points in more than a dozen areas which are evaluated and discussed at regular intervals throughout the year.

Varnum partner Luis Avila, who chairs the firm's Diversity Equity and Inclusion Committee, said the undertaking is a significant commitment by the firm.

"I'm proud of our firm for seeing the value and committing to this process," Avila said. "While the program will require significant firmwide effort, we believe it will help us transform our commitment into measurable change."

Recent data shows that the Mansfield Rule is succeeding at its goal. The "early adopter" firms piloting the Mansfield Rule since its 2017 inception have increased the racial and ethnic diversity of their management committees by 30 times the rate of non-Mansfield Rule firms.

The Mansfield Rule is named after Arabella Mansfield, the first female lawyer in the US, and was inspired by the NFL’s Rooney Rule which requires every NFL team to interview at least one minority candidate for head coach vacancies. Diversity Lab is an incubator for innovative ideas and solutions that boost diversity and inclusion in law.

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