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Barnes & Thornburg’s Participation in Mansfield Rule Program Sharpens Focus on Longtime Mission to Position All Talent to Win for Clients

Barnes & Thornburg’s already strong commitment to position its talent to win – individually, collectively and for clients – has gained even more traction with its participation in the Mansfield Rule program, which seeks to increase diversity in law firm leadership.

As part of the Diversity Lab’s Mansfield program, Barnes & Thornburg recently announced its participation in Mansfield Rule 6.0 after completing the previous 5.0 version in 2021-22. The Mansfield Rule requires law firms to consider 30 percent women, lawyers of color, LGBTQ+ lawyers, and lawyers with disabilities for firm leadership opportunities. This includes governance roles, equity partner promotions, formal client pitch opportunities, and senior lateral positions. 

“The Mansfield Rule program has grown to be a recognized model that creates mindfulness and drives accountability in an authentic way in law firms that increasingly seek alignment with their clients’ values,” said Firm Diversity Partner Dawn Rosemond, who joined Barnes & Thornburg in 1996. “There are certain times when you want to be on the right side of history and participating in the Mansfield Rule process is one of them. It works beyond simply creating a set of boxes to be checked. Instead, it drives real change and is good business.”

Barnes & Thornburg’s Diversity Equity and Inclusion commitment rests on three pillars – sponsorship of talent, integration and alignment with values and cultivation of an inclusive culture. Over the last two decades, the firm has developed a robust set of activities, including the creation of:

  • Racial and Social Justice Foundation, which supports nonprofits in communities where firm professionals work
  • Firmwide DEI Committee and employment of DEI-focused professionals
  • Prelaw Scholars Program and 1L Diversity Scholarship Program
  • Project Keymaker sponsorship program
  • Key talent engagement efforts and human resource-related training and benefits
  • DEI-related publications, newsletters and podcasts
  • A diverse supplier program

Barnes & Thornburg leadership promises to do more in Mansfield 6.0 and beyond as it adapts to the changing environment. 

“Clients are constantly evaluating what service providers should be on their team, and we want to be sure to add new tools to our toolkit that show our commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion.” Rosemond said. “Mansfield works because WE do. The road to certification is a real journey, and our aggressive commitment to change will continue as ‘moving forward better’ is integrated into the fabric of who we are as a firm.” 

Rosemond continued: “If I look back on my own time here, it was evident from the very beginning that this firm made an investment in me and my opportunity to lead. We are working hard to bring forward and broaden what I have experienced.” 

More information about the firm’s commitment is available at https://btlaw.com/en/firm/uncommon-culture/diversity-inclusion.

About Mansfield Rule 6.0

Mansfield Rule 6.0 requires participating firms to consider at least 30 percent historically underrepresented lawyers – women lawyers, racial and ethnic lawyers, LGBTQ+ lawyers, and lawyers with disabilities – when appointing, electing, or promoting into leadership roles and the equity partnership, among a dozen other activities that focus on the path to leadership. 

Firms must also consider 30 percent underrepresented talent for all C-suite roles. Firms are asked to share best practices and lessons learned with each other through knowledge-sharing forums and their contributions are required for certification. They must define and publish job descriptions for all leadership roles. They also must continue to meet numerous check-ins, data- collection, and reporting milestones throughout the certification year. And to ensure Mansfield’s long-term results, there is an increasingly difficult “certification plus” category that evaluates whether firms have achieved diversity in leadership, not just considered it. To attain this higher level of certification, firms must now make their advancement and compensation processes transparent internally.

About Diversity Labs

Diversity Lab is an incubator for innovative ideas and solutions that boost diversity and inclusion in law. Experimental ideas are created through our Hackathons and piloted in collaboration with more than 250 top law firms and legal departments across the country. Diversity Lab leverages data, behavioral science, design thinking, and technology to further develop and test new ideas and research, measure the results, and share the lessons learned. For more details, visit www.diversitylab.com.

With more than 700 attorneys and other legal professionals, Barnes & Thornburg is one of the largest law firms in the country. The firm serves clients worldwide from offices in Atlanta, Boston, California, Chicago, Delaware, Indiana, Michigan, Minneapolis, New York, Ohio, Raleigh, Salt Lake City, Texas and Washington, D.C. For more information, visit us online at www.btlaw.com or on Twitter @BTLawNews.



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