The Office of General Counsel at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center recently joined 53 legal departments from various industries in a nationwide effort to improve diversity and representation among their teams. Led by the innovative think tank Diversity Lab, the Mansfield Rule certification process assists legal organizations in evaluating existing diversity initiatives, identifying areas for improvement, and incorporating robust metrics designed to achieve a more inclusive and supportive workplace. Certification is granted to law firms and in-house legal departments that meet a set of criteria, including the successful implementation of systems that prompt hiring staff to consider a broader pool of candidates during recruitment and promotion activities.
MSK joined the newest cohort in August 2020 and activated several initiatives that will run through June 2022.
“The impact and importance of diversity and representation has long been recognized at MSK and within the Office of General Counsel,” said Jorge Lopez, Jr., Executive Vice President and General Counsel at MSK. “Recent events and developments, including continued police violence against African Americans and the corresponding public discourse and civil unrest in response to systemic racism and racial injustice, have created a clear need for us to reassess diversity initiatives within this context, and identify areas for improvement.”
Named for Arabella Mansfield, the first woman admitted to the bar in the United States, the Mansfield Rule was developed in 2016 in collaboration with Stanford Law School and Bloomberg Law. One year later, 50 of the country’s leading law firms were awarded certification, and in 2019, more were added. In order for organizations to obtain certification, they must also affirmatively consider more women, racial and ethnic minorities, LGBTQ+ persons, and those with disabilities. The Rule also encourages individuals with hiring power to consider a more diverse talent pool for high-visibility opportunities and secondment or internship programs.
“Our goal over the next two years is to build upon existing efforts and create something even better,” explained Mr. Lopez, who added that women comprise more than half of MSK’s current legal team. Efforts to achieve certification over the next two years “will remind us of the importance that every day, we are working to break down barriers and prove our commitment to equality, inclusion, and the importance of creating and supporting spaces that include individuals of different backgrounds, identities, perspectives, and characteristics.”