On August 27, Diversity Lab named Lincoln one of 19 pioneering legal departments to have achieved Mansfield Certification after completing the Mansfield Rule: Legal Department Edition (MRLD) inaugural 2019-2020 pilot certification program.
The overall goal of the MRLD is to increase the representation of diverse lawyers in leadership by broadening the pool of women, LGBTQ+, people with disabilities, and/or racial/ethnic minorities who are considered for legal department job openings, high visibility opportunities and promotions and outside counsel representation. The certification was initially launched four years ago with law firms and its process of measuring and tracking representation through MRLD certification has moved the needle for diversity within many of the certified firms.
“MRLD is a small step in the right direction for the Legal department and the legal industry,” said Brandy Smith, assistant vice president and chief compliance officer and counsel for group protection. “The certification process creates an opportunity to not only continue discussions and education about diversity & inclusion (“talk the talk”), but to actually take action (“walk the walk”). I believe the laws of this country are the foundation for the change necessary to attack systemic racism at its core. That is why it is more important than ever to push change in a profession that has so much impact on the foundation and future of the nation. I know that the leadership of Lincoln’s legal department understands that diversity is an important factor in a high functioning department and this certification shows that we are seeking to actively make a change.”
Lincoln’s enterprise Diversity & Inclusion (D&I) Strategy seeks to achieve specific objectives and milestones in our workplace, marketplace, and the communities the company serves. It ensures a culture of D&I permeates every level of Lincoln and its interactions with partners and suppliers. In alignment with the D&I strategy, the Legal department launched the Legal Diversity Action Team (DAT) in 2019. The Legal DAT led the charge for MRLD certification. The purpose of the legal DAT is to draft, lead, execute and communicate the department’s diversity action plan.
“The Lincoln Legal Department’s participation in this program is one example of our ongoing and continued commitment to diversity and inclusion,” said Leon Roday, executive vice president, general counsel. “While we are proud to achieve this certification, there is more that we must do both inside and outside of Lincoln to reach our goals and maintain certification.”
The success of the MRLD pilot has spurred 54 legal departments to commit to the certification process for MRLD 2.0. Lincoln continues its commitment to diversity and inclusion as a MRLD 2.0 participant.