The results of the Vault Law 2021 diversity survey are in! Expect several posts dissecting our findings, but for this first one we'll just look at the highest-level takeaways in our general report.
The survey report is broken into two sections. Section 1 reflects what firms reported to us about their ongoing diversity promotion initiatives. Section 2 reports the demographics inside those firms. We'll proceed in the same order.
Among our survey respondents, 87% have a designated individual responsible for leading DEI efforts. 94% of respondent firms have a diversity committee in place. 85% of firms already have internal affinity groups, and another 5% report that they are developing them. 60% of firms host interval diversity events (like conferences and retreats), with another 14% reporting they plan to do so soon. 100% of firms have a formal anti-discrimination policy, and 74% require all attorneys and staff to take annual DEI trainings.
Under half of firms offer billable credit to their associates for DEI activities, and the free time attorneys (don't) have is often cited as a pain point hindering diversity efforts. The Manfield Rule, coined by Diversity Lab in 2017, sets a specific target number of lawyers from underrepresented groups for firms to affirmatively consider for senior and/or leadership roles. 36% of firms have achieved Mansfield Rule certification, and another 24% are actively working towards it. 65% of firms hold partners accountable for diversity.
85% of firms participate in diversity career fairs, and 80% support scholarships, internships, and/or fellowships for diverse students. 77% of firms actively recruit from HBCUs, and 54% participate in diversity-specific recruiting efforts at other schools. 97% of firms provide parental leave for adoptive parents, and all of these leave policies are gender-neutral. 63% of firms provide family planning resources, and only 40% make a distinction between a primary and secondary caregiver in their policies.
90% of firms provide equal benefits to same-sex couples. Only 1% do not, and 9% do "in part," which, when followed up on, meant they provide benefits to same-sex spouses but not domestic partners. 89% of firms include gender identity and expression as a protected category in their non-discrimination policies, and 87% offer health insurance with equitable benefits. 79% of firms allow employees to share their preferred pronouns, and 50% provide gender neutral restrooms and use gender neutral language in their firmwide materials.
Finally, 95% of firms' non-discrimination policies include disability status as a protected category, 90% have a clear and well-communicated process when it comes to requesting workplace accommodations, and 80% have addressed accessibility in physical spaces.
That covers the key findings on firm diversity efforts. In our next post, we'll present the key findings from section 2 on law firm demographics. Stay tuned!
• A Denver lawyer was publicly censured for inflating his firm’s diversity statistics in hopes of landing a major client. In an effort to qualify for DuPont’s Diverse Legal Supplier Program, open only to firms with at least 50 percent equity ownership by women or minorities, attorney Willie Shepherd claimed that 48.5 percent of the equity partners at what was then his firm, Kamlet Shepherd & Reichert LLP (now Kamlet Reichert LLP), were women and/or minorities, when in fact only 30.1 percent were.
For those who are invested in such things, be they prospective students assessing which school to attend or alumni wondering how the prestige of their alma mater is faring, the new US News law rankings released on March 28. There was one extremely significant event in the ranking shifts this year, as some predicted given the changes in US News' methodology over last year.
You’ve just received word that your job is going to switch to the fully remote paradigm. That means no more travel expenses or traffic, no more rushing frenetically from place to place, and no more of the crushing outfit dilemma you’ve faced with each new day.
On Friday, May 20, 2022, Vault Law will host an OCI Readiness Summit for law students looking to prepare for and find summer and other associate positions through OCI. You can register for this free informational summit here, and learn more about it below.