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Brinks Gilson & Lione to Participate in Mansfield Rule Initiative to Promote Diversity in Leadership, Governance Roles
September 27, 2017

CHICAGO—Continuing its commitment to encouraging diversity, inclusion and promotion of women and attorneys of color to leadership and governance positions, intellectual property law firm Brinks Gilson & Lione is participating in Diversity Lab's Mansfield Rule pilot program, an initiative aimed at increasing diversity in leadership positions, the firm announced today.

Brinks is one of approximately 40 major law firms in the United States that are adopting the Mansfield Rule, which is aimed at closing the gaps between women and attorneys of color in leadership roles in Big Law. The Rule establishes that, at a minimum, 30 percent of a law firm's candidate pools for leadership or governance positions—including equity partnership promotions and senior lateral positions—should be women or minorities.

"Brinks Gilson & Lione recognizes the importance of diversity in providing the best service to our clients. Our firm’s participation in the Mansfield Rule pilot program is a positive step in our efforts to foster a work environment that provides women and attorneys of color opportunities to succeed and develop their careers," noted Brinks shareholder Rashad Morgan, co-chair of the Firm’s Diversity Committee and co-chair of the North Carolina Bar Association’s Minorities in the Profession Committee.

The Mansfield Rule program gauges a firm’s investment in considering and selecting female attorneys and attorneys of color for leadership and governance roles, partnership promotions, and lateral hiring, as well as consideration for and participation in key strategic activities and initiatives. This is the program's pilot year.

Law firms that meet the standards set by the program will be recognized as “Mansfield Certified.” Certified law firms will be announced on June 30, 2018.

"Diversity is not a fixed target; neither is it accomplished without proactive measures," noted Gustavo “Gus” Siller, past co-chair of Brinks' Diversity Committee and the Firm's President-Elect. "Like other of our firm's initiatives that encourage diversity, participating in the Mansfield Rule initiative is only a part of a willful, deliberate effort to reflect our community and the clients we serve." Siller also noted that in 2009, Brinks was the first intellectual property law firm in the Midwest, and only the second in the country, to receive the Minority Corporate Counsel Association’s Thomas L. Sager Award for achievement in hiring, retaining, and promoting diverse attorneys.

"Brinks hired three women attorneys last year, and six of our seven incoming associates this fall are women," noted Allyn Elliott, shareholder in the North Carolina office.

"We recognize that numbers offer only a baseline measurement. We also need to set targets and measure results, and participation in the Mansfield Rule pilot program will help us in this area," said Elliott. "Participation in the Mansfield Rule program also helps to heighten awareness among our firm members, and provides another vehicle to engage more women and attorneys of color in leadership."

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. The Rule is named for Arabella Mansfield, who passed the Iowa bar exam in 1869, but who was barred by state law from practicing law in the state. Mansfield challenged the law, and Iowa's legislature subsequently amended its licensing statute—becoming the first US state to accept both women and minorities to the bar. The Rule is modeled on the National Football League's longstanding Rooney Rule, which stipulates that there be one diverse candidate in every candidate pool for an NFL team manager or coach opening.

About Brinks Gilson & Lione
Celebrating its centennial year in 2017, Brinks Gilson & Lione is one of the largest intellectual property law firms in the US, and helps clients around the world to protect and enforce their intellectual property rights. Brinks Gilson & Lione’s more than 140 lawyers, patent agents and scientific advisors assist clients in all aspects of patent, trademark, unfair competition, trade secret, and copyright law. Brinks attorneys provide informed counsel with respect to innovations in a range of complex and valuable technologies, including pharmaceuticals, chemicals, bioengineering, industrial manufacturing, electronics and software, and medical devices. More information is at www.brinksgilson.com.