120:  Diversity Lab’s OnRamp Fellowship and Mansfield Rule 2.0

Diversity Embraced

It’s 2019 and the Diversity Lab remains front and center in the conversation on Law Firm and In-house Legal department diversity.  Late last summer we sat down with On-Ramp Fellowship Managing Director, Jennifer Winslow and the Mansfield Rule initiative leader, Director, Lisa Kirby.  The Mansfield rule supports the diversification of law firm leadership, and the OnRamp Fellowship is the largest re-entry platform for female lawyers and other professionals.

An outcome of Diversity Lab’s 2016, Women in Law Hackathon, the Mansfield Rule has been moving the needle increasing awareness around diverse candidates for leadership and the transparency on who should be considered for leadership.  For Mansfield Rule 2.0 the program has expanded to include LGBTQ+ leadership candidates as well as measurement of inclusion and engagement in formal pitches.  The program which initially launched in 2017 with 44 firms, today has 65 firms participating in Mansfield 2.0.    Today, clients are looking for and confirming that they are benefiting from the value of diverse teams/diversity of thought.

The OnRamp Fellowship program started in 2014to alleviate concerns specific to work breaks and provide access to experienced lawyers looking for opportunities.   Ever since the OnRamp programming has been replenishing leadership pipelines with experienced lawyers alleviating concerns specific to work breaks; while providing access to experienced lawyers looking for opportunities.  Those applying for the program are typically unemployed or underemployed doing part-time or contract work.  Most are empty nesters with their eyes wide open.   Challenges include technology – whether you’ve been out 2 years or 20 the technology has changed.   The positives include resilience and problem-solving skills that only come through experience.

Looking back measurement and accountability was a missing element in many diversity programs.  By bringing challenges front and center the Diversity Lab has prevented programs from fading or ‘fizzling out’.  Today, information sharing; data; and accountability remain a significant part of the Diversity Lab’s success.