O’Melveny Pilots Version of the Rooney Rule to Boost Diversity at its Highest Ranks

June 07, 2017


Los Angeles—June 7, 2017—O’Melveny announced today that it is among 30 of the nation’s leading law firms partnering with Diversity Lab to pilot the Mansfield Rule. Named after Arabella Mansfield, the first woman admitted to the practice of law in the United States, the initiative measures whether at least 30 percent of the candidates considered for various law firm positions, including leadership and governance roles, equity partner promotions, and lateral positions, are women and attorneys of color.

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, which counted O’Melveny among its participants. It was inspired by the NFL’s Rooney Rule, which was created by the late Dan Rooney in 2003 and is now supported by his son, Art Rooney II, President of the Pittsburgh Steelers. 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. New research shows that a diverse candidate is about 20 percent more likely to fill an NFL head coaching vacancy during the Rooney era than before the rule was introduced.

“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.”

“Our belief in the value of diversity and inclusion informs everything we do at O’Melveny, from recruiting and hiring to developing our talent for the most important and high-profile roles,” said Darin Snyder, O’Melveny’s Diversity and Inclusion Partner, and a member of the firm’s Policy and Executive committees. “Adopting the Mansfield Rule is a logical extension of our existing efforts and will help us deliver on our commitment to diversity and inclusion at every level of the firm.”

O’Melveny is a recognized leader in diversity and inclusion. This year, the firm was shortlisted for three 2017 Chambers Women in Law Awards. Last year, Working Mother and Flex-Time Lawyers named O’Melveny one of the best law firms for women, and Euromoney recognized the firm with three Women in Business Law Awards.

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 Bloomberg L.P., Facebook, and Walmart.

About Diversity Lab

Diversity Lab creates and experiments with new ways to close the gender gap and boost diversity in law firms and legal departments by leveraging data, behavioral science, and design thinking. The Lab’s first pilot initiative, the OnRamp Fellowship, is now the largest global re-entry platform matching experienced women returning to the workforce after a hiatus with more than 35 law firms, legal departments, and banks for year-long paid Fellowships in the US, Australia, the UK, and Canada. Due to the overwhelming success of and interest in the 2016 Women in Law Hackathon, a series of Diversity in Law Hackathons are planned for 2018 in partnership with Harvard Law School Executive Education and other top law schools.

About O’Melveny

O’Melveny’s clients shape markets, set precedents, and break boundaries. They are stalwarts and innovators, the names you trust, and the next big thing. And for more than a century, O’Melveny has been right beside them, kicking down walls and putting up defenses to help our clients achieve their most important goals. With approximately 700 lawyers in 15 offices worldwide guided by the principles of excellence, leadership, and citizenship, we uphold a tradition of treating our clients’ challenges and opportunities as our own. What do you want to achieve? For the answers, please visit www.omm.com.


Julie Fei
O’Melveny & Myers LLP