Press Release
June 9, 2017

Holland & Knight Participates in Innovative Program to Increase Diversity in Leadership

The ‘Mansfield Rule’ requires law firms to consider more women, minority lawyers for significant leadership roles

MIAMI (June 9, 2017) – As part of Holland & Knight’s ongoing commitment to diversity, the firm has partnered with Diversity Lab to implement the Mansfield Rule, a pilot program aimed at increasing the number of women and minority lawyers in leadership roles. The firm is one of 30 leading law firms to participate in the trailblazing program.

Named after Arabella Mansfield, the first woman admitted to the practice of law in the United States, the Mansfield Rule measures whether law firms have affirmatively considered women and attorneys of color — at least 30 percent of the candidate pool — for leadership and governance roles, equity partner promotions and lateral positions. The Mansfield Rule was one of the winning ideas from the 2016 Women in Law Hackathon hosted by Diversity Lab in collaboration with Bloomberg Law and Stanford Law School.

​Tammy Knight, who serves as chair of Holland & Knight’s Women’s Initiative, represented the firm at the inaugural Women in Law Hackathon last year, where her team received the "Crowd Favorite" award for proposing the Mansfield Rule.

“It’s exciting to see my firm and many others embrace this solution to increasing opportunities for diverse lawyers,” said Ms. Knight. “We are grateful to Diversity Lab for creating a forum where innovative ideas can be explored. We hope that this initiative gives a further boost to the successful initiatives we have already implemented, like our award-winning Rising Stars program.”

The Mansfield Rule was inspired by the NFL’s Rooney Rule, which was created by the late Dan Rooney in 2003. 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 Rooney Rule was revolutionary. We now benefit from standing on the shoulders of giants with the Mansfield Rule,” said Caren Ulrich Stacy, CEO of Diversity Lab. “Leveraging lessons learned from the NFL and recent research that shows it is important to interview more than one diverse candidate, we are incredibly well positioned to diversify the top ranks of the legal profession.”

Law firms that successfully pilot the Mansfield Rule over the next year will be designated “Mansfield Certified” and have the opportunity to send their recently promoted diverse partners to a two-day Client Forum in late 2018 to build relationships with and learn from influential in-house counsel.

So far, more than 45 legal departments have signed on to support this effort by attending a Client Forum, including: 3M, Abercrombie & Fitch Co., American Express, Battery Ventures, Bloomberg L.P., Boston Children’s Hospital, Cargill, CBS Corporation, Charles Schwab & Co., Inc., ClearSlide, Compass Minerals International, Inc., CSX, Facebook, First National Bank, Gap Inc., Hewlett Packard Enterprise, HP Inc., Mastercard, McKesson, Medtronic, Microsoft, PayPal, Plantronics, PNC Financial Services Group, RPX Corporation, Smiths Group, Target, TCF Bank, Toyota Material Handling USA, ThredUP, Vertex Pharmaceuticals Incorporated, Waddell & Reed, Walmart, Workday, Xcel Energy, and Zuora.

About Diversity Lab: Diversity Lab creates and experiments with innovative ways to close the gender gap and boost diversity in law firms and legal departments by leveraging data, behavioral science and design thinking.

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