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Jenner & Block is amongst 30 leading law firms that are piloting a program to boost diversity in leadership ranks. Called the Mansfield Rule, the program is one of the winning ideas that came out of the 2016 Women in Law Hackathon, hosted by Diversity Lab with Bloomberg Law and Stanford Law School. The Mansfield Rule is named after Arabella Mansfield, the first woman admitted to the practice of law in the United States. Participating firms certify that they considered women and lawyers of color – at least 30 percent of the candidate pool – for leadership and governance roles, equity partner promotions and lateral positions.
The firm’s participation in the Mansfield Rule follows its participation in last year’s inaugural Hackathon. The Hackathon brought together 54 partners from law firms across the United States to tackle the problem of the gender imbalance in leadership. For six months, the partners worked in teams with industry leaders and Stanford Law students to create innovative solutions aimed at advancing and retaining experienced women lawyers in law firms. Their ideas were presented during a “Shark Tank”-style competition last June.
Partner Reid J. Schar served as the firm’s representative for the Hackathon. His team won first place for its proposal of a gender-neutral compensation model titled SMART (Solutions to Measure, Advance and Reward Talent). SMART incorporates a firm’s values and culture, taking into account, in addition to billable hours and business generation, activities related to what women in law firms tend to spend more time on: advancing diversity, committee work, training, pro bono, etc.
“We were thrilled to be a part of the Hackathon Alliance, and we are delighted to take the next step with Diversity Lab and join the Mansfield Rule effort, a concrete strategy aimed at improving diversity in the profession,” said Susan J. Kohlmann, chair of the firm’s Diversity & Inclusion Committee and managing partner of the New York office. “Jenner & Block is committed to finding innovative ways to improve diversity through strategies like the Mansfield Rule.”
Please click here to learn more about the Mansfield Rule program.