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    Frost Brown Todd Commits to Two Initiatives that Could be Game-Changers for Law Firm Inclusion Efforts

Frost Brown Todd (FBT) has signed on to participate in two new inclusion initiatives spearheaded by Diversity Lab, the organization best known for overseeing Mansfield Rule™ certification. First, the Next Gen Pilot program expands on Diversity Lab’s existing Mansfield requirements, under which participating firms track the percentage of historically underrepresented attorneys considered for open positions and advancement opportunities, as well as those currently serving in key leadership roles.

The goal of Mansfield tracking—and the various benchmarks required for certification—is to make organizations’ talent practices more transparent while broadening the applicant pool to be more inclusive of attorneys from diverse backgrounds. While Mansfield has traditionally focused on hiring and advancement, the Next Gen Pilot program also encourages law firms to look more intentionally at benchmarks tied to historically underrepresented attorneys’ economic influence, such as client origination credits, development credits, and succession planning.

“Because these economic factors can play a critical role in an organization’s retention and belonging efforts,” said FBT Partner Miles Harrison, who chairs the firm’s Inclusion, Diversity, Equity & Belonging (IDEB) Committee, “tracking them in a systematic way will shed light on where there might be gaps and help ensure we’re being both fair and consistent in how we evaluate and compensate attorneys’ performances. That’s information we can use to really zero in on the retention piece at a time of steep competition between law firms to attract and retain diverse talent.”

To be eligible for Diversity Lab’s pilot program, law firms must have successfully completed Mansfield Rule certification for three or more consecutive years. FBT achieved certification for the first time in 2020, and during the last two review periods, it earned Mansfield’s “Plus” designation, currently the highest offered under the program’s framework.

The second initiative FBT signed on to is Diversity Lab’s Disability Inclusion Commitments, announced at the end of 2023. It comprises a series of recommended actions that fall thematically within 10 areas of focus and are aimed at cultivating an environment of inclusivity for people with disabilities.

FBT is one of roughly 90 law firms that signed on to be part of the first wave, formalizing its commitment to disability inclusion through education, dialogue, and deliberate action. For the initial 2024-2025 program year, FBT has committed to implementing changes and improvements in five of the 10 focus areas, running the gamut from employee training and employment opportunities to removing both physical and digital barriers to accessibility.

“Our IDEB team and committee members are making disability inclusion a priority in 2024,” said FBT IDEB Manager Danielle Anderson, “recognizing that traditional accommodations, while important, don’t go far enough in addressing the many forms that disabilities take. Team members with disabilities that might not be outwardly visible are just as important when it comes to creating a culture of belonging, free of barriers to everyone’s fair and full participation. We’re currently looking at our onboarding process, venue guidelines, and various communication tools with an eye toward ways to better foreground disability inclusion in our broader diversity and belonging efforts.”

For more details on FBT’s commitment and actions in support of inclusion, diversity, equity, and belonging, visit our IDEB page.