Law Firm Diversity: Inclusion Blueprint Sets New Standard for Measuring Law Firm Inclusion & Diversity

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Law Firm Diversity: Inclusion Blueprint Sets New Standard for Measuring Law Firm Inclusion & Diversity 1

Diversity Lab released today its Inclusion Blueprint findings, which provides a new standard for measuring law firm inclusion practices and diversity representation, and the top scoring law firms that lead the industry.

The Inclusion Blueprint, a collaborative project between Diversity Lab and ChIPs, provides a first-of-its-kind tool to measure the representation of diverse lawyers and the career-enhancing inclusion activities that law firms should employ to ensure that historically underrepresented lawyers have fair and equal access to quality work, influential people, and other opportunities.

The Inclusion Blueprint includes two main categories for law firms to track, measure, and benchmark their diversity and inclusion efforts at both the leadership and practice group levels: (1) current diversity representation target thresholds and year-over-year progress; and (2) ongoing inclusion practices and activities. It differs significantly from traditional diversity surveys as a result of these two elements.

Rather than asking for a snapshot of raw data and metrics on the representation of historically underrepresented lawyers, it provides specific targets across three populations that firms should strive to achieve at both the firm leadership and practice group levels, including: 30% representation of women, 15% representation of racial and ethnic minorities, and 5% representation of LGBTQ+ lawyers.

“In setting the targets, we looked at recent law school graduation rates and the current representation of historically underrepresented populations at Am Law 200 firms,” explained Caren Ulrich Stacy, CEO of Diversity Lab.

“The Inclusion Blueprint targets are a middle-ground between those numbers and a stretch for the majority of Am Law 200 firms to reach in the short-term. As more firms achieve these thresholds, our plan is to increase the targets annually until they mirror law school graduation rates.” In addition to setting tough, but achievable diversity targets, the Blueprint outlines inclusion practices that have proven to develop, advance, and retain diverse talent and measures whether firms have implemented them at the firm leadership and practice group levels.

Unlike surveys that merely provide a snapshot of where firms currently stand, the Inclusion Blueprint provides a roadmap or “blueprint” of actions firms can take to continue to invest in their diverse talent. Those practices include actively monitoring diverse lawyers’ work activities and experiences, such as work allocation, leave, sponsorship, client pitches, and other critical development and advancement opportunities, to ensure that all lawyers have fair and equal access to career growth. Top Scoring Firms More than 70 law firms participated in tracking their inclusion practices and diversity representation using the Blueprint in 2019.

Top Scoring Law Firms

The top scoring firms – earning the Inclusion Blueprint Champion honor – and the key findings by category follow.

The following 13 firms scored the highest percentage of points for both diversity representation and inclusion activities in the designated categories, including:

1) Law Firm Leadership; 2) Antitrust, IP, Privacy, and Cyber Practice Group; 3) Business, Finance, and Real Estate Practice Group; 4) Litigation Practice Group; and 5) Regulatory Practice Group.

The Inclusion Blueprint Champions include: Arnold & Porter, Baker Botts, Brooks Kushman, DLA Piper, Goldberg Segalla, Morrison & Foerster, Perkins Coie, Procopio, Reed Smith, Ropes & Gray, Sheppard Mullin, Wiley Rein and WilmerHale.

As a reward for meeting or exceeding many of the thresholds and scoring higher than their peers, more than 15 legal departments, including Starbucks, Bloomberg, and SurveyMonkey – who are also part of Diversity Lab’s Move the Needle Fund – have provided the opportunity for these firms to provide pitch packets to learn more about the firms’ diverse teams and their expertise for future work opportunities.

Related to these awards is the ChIPs Honor Roll, which is given to the firms with the highest scores in female representation and inclusion activities at both the leadership and IP practice group levels. Winners in 2019 were Brooks Kushman, Orrick, and Sheppard Mullin.

Key Findings The 2019 Inclusion Blueprint revealed some encouraging results.

Law firms are increasing the representation of historically underrepresented lawyers at the equity partner level, specifically:  63% of the participating firms increased the representation of female equity partners over the past year;  54% increased the representation of racial or ethnic minority equity partners; and

 27% increased the representation of LGBTQ+ equity partners. Despite this progress, inclusion metrics for historically underrepresented lawyers continue to fall short, and there are inconsistencies and gaps in their access to opportunities, including: 3

 Law firms are not consistently tracking opportunities to ensure equal access to career-enhancing work, people, and other opportunities for women, racial and ethnic minorities and LGBTQ+ lawyers.

 There are fewer opportunities that are tracked for LGBTQ+ attorneys compared with women and racial and ethnic minorities.

 The least tracked opportunities at the leadership level for historically underrepresented attorneys are non-billable activities, origination credit, and pay equity.

 At the practice group level, the least tracked activities are first-chair responsibilities, origination credit, and sponsorship relationships. Succession planning and work experiences are often not tracked as well.

“There are many great surveys in the legal market that measure the representation of diverse law firm lawyers. The Inclusion Blueprint serves a different purpose,” Noreen Krall, head of Litigation at Apple and board chair of ChIPs explained.

“Although the Blueprint does assess where firms currently stand, it also encourages firms to implement inclusion practices that research shows will help them boost the representation of diverse lawyers.

Over time, we expect to see more firms implementing these practices and making positive gains as a result.” The Inclusion Blueprint was sent to over 200 law firms, including all Am Law 200 firms, by invitation from ChIPs and Diversity Lab, in July 2019. More details on the Inclusion Blueprint and awards are available here. To download the full findings report, please visit here. _________________________________

About ChIPs

ChIPs is a nonprofit organization focused on advancing and connecting women in technology, law and policy. ChIPs seeks to accelerate innovation in these areas by increasing diversity of thought, participation and engagement.

At ChIPs, members are united in the belief that diversity, of all types, is essential to innovation and to a thriving, evolving society. Membership is open to anyone who shares this mission. Founded in 2005 by seven women chiefs of intellectual property, it has expanded beyond those roots, now with over 3,000 members and nine regional chapters in the United States and abroad.

Many members are engaged at the heart of current events — as active participants in the lawmaking, policymaking, judicial, advocacy and innovation processes.

Please visit About Diversity Lab 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 50 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 information, visit

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