McGuireWoods Achieves Mansfield 5.0 Certification Plus Status

October 20, 2022

McGuireWoods has again achieved Mansfield Certification Plus status after completing the 12-month Mansfield Rule 5.0 certification program, fulfilling a commitment the firm made last year. Achieving this status required meeting new challenges to increase diversity in the firm and its leadership. McGuireWoods is one of more than 160 law firms in the United States and Canada that participated in the 5.0 program, which began July 15, 2021.

Now entering its sixth year, the Mansfield Rule has become the standard by which law firms track and measure whether they have affirmatively considered at least 30% women, lawyers from underrepresented racial and ethnic groups, lawyers with disabilities and LGBTQ+ attorneys for top leadership roles, senior-level lateral hiring, promotions into the equity partnership and participation in client pitch meetings.

The 5.0 version of the Mansfield program included new challenges for firms seeking certification:

  • Each firm tracked its candidate pool in a disaggregated manner, prompting a firm to measure the impact of the Mansfield Rule by each underrepresented group. Firms also included a self-identification option for Middle Eastern/North African identity, a demographic often overlooked in self-identification options.
  • Firms considered at least 30% underrepresented lawyers for nominations to Chambers USA to increase these lawyers’ external visibility with clients and in the marketplace.
  • Firms considered 30% underrepresented individuals when hiring and promoting C-level or other senior-level professional staff roles.

To attain Mansfield Certification Plus status as part of the Mansfield 5.0 program, firms had to meet the baseline criteria and reach at least 30% underrepresented lawyer representation in a notable number of their leadership roles. Those pursuing this standard were asked to heighten the transparency of their partner compensation criteria and processes by publishing and making them available to all lawyers in the firm.

All firms that meet or exceed the required Mansfield Rule certification parameters can send their newly promoted underrepresented partners to client forums to meet and learn from hundreds of influential legal department leaders.

Participating in the Mansfield 5.0 program strongly aligns with McGuireWoods’ strategy regarding diversity and inclusion to focus on leadership, not just numbers. The firm’s Diverse Associates Leadership Program and Women’s Leadership Development Forum were designed to equip top-performing associates of color and women and LGBTQ+ associates with the leadership skills essential to their development and advancement into the partnership ranks of the firm.

Several years ago, the firm adopted the Rooney Rule when recruiting associates to ensure that women and attorneys of color are candidates for all open positions managed by the Attorney Recruitment & Professional Development Team. McGuireWoods’ implementation of the Rooney Rule pre-dated the announcement of the Mansfield Rule. The early adoption of the Rooney Rule helped the firm increase the diversity of its associate population, including increased numbers of women, lawyers of color, and lawyers from the LGBTQ+ community. As of July 1, 2022, 66% of McGuireWoods associates are historically underrepresented lawyers.