Blank Rome is proud to have developed industry partnerships with several organizations that are leading the charge to improve diversity, equity, and inclusion within law firms and the legal industry.
Their mission and our involvement with each organization is outlined below.
The American Bar Association’s (“ABA”) Resolution 113 was passed in August 2016. It urges legal service providers to expand and create opportunities for diverse attorneys and urges the buyers of legal services to direct a greater percentage of legal spend towards diverse attorneys. Annually, the ABA issues its Model Diversity Survey as a tool to implement the Resolution, and Blank Rome is an active participant.
Corporate Counsel Women of Color® (“CCWC”) is a nonprofit organization of women attorneys of color who serve as general counsel, assistant general counsel, corporate counsel, in-house legal counsel, and in other capacities for Fortune 1000 companies, Forbes 2000 companies, not-for-profit corporations, and other entities. CCWC has more than 4,000 members in the United States, Canada, Asia, Africa, and Europe who represent over 900 companies from a broad range of industries.
Blank Rome is a proud sponsor of and participating firm in CCWC’s Annual Career Strategies Conference. We also participate in CCWC’s Millennial Conference.
Diversity Lab is an incubator for innovative ideas and solutions that boost diversity and inclusion in law. Experimental ideas are created through Hackathons and piloted in collaboration with more than 150 top law firms and legal departments across the country. Diversity Lab leverages data, behavioral science, design thinking, and technology to further develop and test the ideas, measure the results, and share the lessons learned.
- As a pilot member of Diversity Lab’s inaugural Mansfield Rule program in 2017—2018, our firm has received Mansfield Certification for each subsequent iteration of the program and earned the Mansfield Certification Plus designation for Mansfield Rule 2.0 through 4.0. The goal of Mansfield Rule is to boost the representation of diverse attorneys in law firm leadership by broadening the pool of candidates considered for these roles and opportunities. We are a Mansfield 4.0 Certified Plus law firm, having successfully completed Diversity Lab’s yearlong Mansfield Rule 4.0 program. The Mansfield 4.0 Certification recognizes 118 leading law firms participating in the program that have affirmatively considered at least 30 percent women, attorneys of color, attorneys with disabilities, and LGBTQ+ attorneys for governance roles, equity partner promotions, formal client pitch opportunities, and senior lateral positions. In addition to meeting or exceeding the baseline requirements for certification, Blank Rome and other law firms that achieved Mansfield Certification Plus status have successfully reached at least 30 percent underrepresented lawyer representation in a notable number of our current leadership roles over the program year.
- We also participate in Diversity Lab’s Inclusion Blueprint initiative, a one-of-a-kind assessment tool that provides firm management and practice group leaders with a roadmap of inclusion best practices and representation threshold tracking to ensure their underrepresented lawyers have fair and equal access to quality work, influential sponsors, and other opportunities.
As a longstanding Leadership Council on Legal Diversity (“LCLD”) member organization, Blank Rome is more committed than ever to accelerating diversity, equity, and inclusion throughout the firm, legal industry, and beyond. The retention, development, and advancement of our diverse attorneys is at the core of our firm’s culture and mission, and we are proactively engaged in identifying, implementing, and supporting new opportunities through progressive programs, policies, and initiatives such as the LCLD programs.
LCLD works to promote inclusiveness in its organizations, circles of influence, and society, with the ultimate goal of building a more equitable and diverse legal profession. More than 400 corporate chief legal officers and law firm managing partners have pledged themselves, through its Leaders at the Front initiative and other means, to creating a truly diverse U.S. legal profession. LCLD’s action programs are designed to attract, inspire, and nurture the talent in society and within member organizations, thereby helping a new and more diverse generation of attorneys ascend to positions of leadership.
- LCLD Leaders at the Front Initiative: As members of LCLD, Blank Rome’s Managing Partner and CEO Grant Palmer and Chair Alan Hoffman, along with leaders of some of the country’s most powerful law firms and corporate legal departments, have created and published personal action plans (Leader’s Pledge), publicly committing to accomplishing these plans, with the goal of building a more perfect union throughout the legal industry—in our organizations, our communities, and our world.
- LCLD Fellows Program: The LCLD Fellows Program is an intensive, yearlong professional development program that mentors the legal industry’s diverse leaders of tomorrow. The program connects high-potential attorneys with leading general counsel and managing partners as well as their peers for mentoring and career guidance. Blank Rome LCLD Fellows include: Megan R. Wood (2022), Melanie S. Carter (2021), Rither Alabre (2020), Diana M. Eng (2019), Domingo Manuel LLagostera (2018), Michael Kim (2016), Morgan Fraser Mouchette and Saminaz Akhter (2015), Edward W. Chang (2014), Cheryl S. Chang (2012), and Stanley B. Tarr (2011).
- LCLD Pathfinder Program: The LCLD Pathfinder Program is a seven-month professional program designed to provide high-performing, early-career attorneys with practical tools for developing and leveraging internal professional networks, foundational leadership skills, and an understanding of career development strategies. In addition to the curriculum, Pathfinders are matched with a program facilitator who serves as a mentor and network with their peers. Blank Rome LCLD Pathfinders include: Saloni R. Patel and Samar Aryani-Sabet (2022), Asima J. Ahmad and Ernestine J. Mings (2021), Munira Jesani and Huaou Yan (2020), Mitesh Patel (2019), Melissa Fundora Murphy and Victoria Ortega (2018), and Melanie S. Carter and Megan R. Wood (2017).
- LCLD Alumni Program: Blank Rome’s Fellows and Pathfinder alumni actively participate in the LCLD Alumni Program. Saminaz Akhter, a partner in our Washington, D.C., office and 2015 LCLD Fellow, serves as Alumni City Lead for the Washington, D.C., area. The Alumni Program, including an annual LCLD Alumni Symposium, is designed to build upon the relationships and leadership skills acquired during the Fellows and Pathfinder programming year with the goal of cultivating leaders, transforming career trajectories, and advancing diversity in the legal profession. The Alumni Program is open to more than 2,600 LCLD alumni.
- LCLD Success in Law School Mentorship Program: The primary objective of the LCLD Success in Law School Mentoring Program is to ensure that talented and diverse first-year law students receive the mentoring and preparation that they need to maximize their potential in law school and beyond. LCLD member organizations can enroll their attorneys as mentors in the Individual Mentoring Program, in the Group Mentoring Program, or both. In 2021, Blank Rome attorney mentors were paired with law student mentees in Houston, Philadelphia, and New York.
The Minority Corporate Counsel Association (“MCCA”) is committed to advancing the hiring, retention, and promotion of diverse lawyers in law departments and law firms by providing research, best practices, professional development, and training, and through pipeline initiatives.
MCCA’s Creating Pathways to Diversity® Conference is a global diversity conference focused on sharing the latest tools, best practices, and actionable insights to optimize talent and inclusive leadership for individual lawyers and organizations. We are a proud sponsor of MCCA’s annual Creating Pathways to Diversity Conference.
We also respond to MCCA’s diversity survey annually.