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by Travis Whitsitt | September 13, 2022


The results of the Vault Law 2022 diversity survey are in! Expect at least two 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, 88% have a designated individual responsible for leading DEI efforts, up from 87% in 2021. 96% of respondent firms have a diversity committee in place, up from 94% in 2021. 88% of firms have internal affinity groups, up from 85% last year. This year, we asked if firms have a separate, formal DEI budget, and 88% reported that they do.

This year, just over half of firms offer billable credit to their associates for DEI activities, up from slightly less than half last year. Identically to last year, the free time attorneys (don't) have is often cited as a pain point hindering diversity efforts, and as such only about 25% of eligible attorneys counted any DEI hours toward their billable hours.

The Mansfield 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. This year, 45% of firms have achieved Mansfield Rule certification (up from 36% in 2021).

84% of firms participate in diversity career fairs (down very slightly from 85% in 2021), and 82% support scholarships, internships, and/or fellowships for diverse students (up very slightly from 80% in 2021). 80% of firms actively recruit from HBCUs (up from 77% last year), and 59% participate in diversity-specific recruiting efforts at other schools (up from 54% last year). 98% of firms provide parental leave for adoptive parents (up slightly from 97% in 2021), and almost all of these leave policies are gender-neutral. 70% of firms provide family planning resources (up from 63% last year), and only 39% make a distinction between a primary and secondary caregiver in their policies (down slightly from 40% last year).

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. These numbers are identical to last year's.

92% of firms include gender identity and expression as a protected category in their non-discrimination policies (up from 89% last year), and 90% offer health insurance with equitable benefits (up from 87% last year). 85% of firms allow employees to share their preferred pronouns (up from 79% last year), and slightly over 50% provide gender neutral restrooms and use gender neutral language in their firmwide materials (compared to almost exactly half last year).

Finally, 95% of firms' non-discrimination policies include disability status as a protected category (the same as in 2021), 90% have a clear and well-communicated process when it comes to requesting workplace accommodations (up from 85% in 2021), and 85% have addressed accessibility in physical spaces (up from 80% in 2021).

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!