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by Travis Whitsitt | April 05, 2022


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!