Bricker earns coveted diversity certification for “Mansfield Rule”

Firm News

Today Bricker & Eckler joined 117 leading law firms in receiving the Mansfield Rule 4.0 Certification and was one of 93 firms achieving Certification Plus status. An idea that came from Diversity Lab, the Mansfield Rule’s goal is to grow the number of underrepresented groups of attorneys in leadership roles at law firms.  Certification requires consideration of underrepresented attorneys, whereas Certification Plus status requires placement of underrepresented attorneys in leadership positions.

Mansfield Rule certified firms complete a rigorous 12-month collaboration with Diversity Lab that uses built-in measurement, transparency and accountability metrics. Through their participation, each law firm demonstrated an unwavering commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion toward meaningful progress on diversifying law firm leadership. Early results show unequivocally that the Mansfield Rule is succeeding at its goal.

“We are very proud to have met this challenge,” said Jim Flynn, Managing Partner at Bricker. “Most of the other certified firms are much larger than us, and it is a pretty unique accomplishment for a midsize firm like Bricker to achieve both certification and certification plus status in our first year. It really demonstrates how important diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives are to us. Make no mistake: we plan to keep our foot on the pedal and continue to further this important work.”

Specifically, the Mansfield Rule program measures whether law firms have over the course of a year affirmatively considered at least 30 percent women, lawyers of color, LGBTQ+ lawyers and lawyers with disabilities for a number of key roles within the law firm setting. Metrics measure leadership and governance roles, equity partner promotions, formal client pitch opportunities and senior lateral hires.

Bricker earned Mansfield Certification Plus status which indicates that in addition to meeting or exceeding the baseline certification requirements for considering underrepresented attorneys for leadership roles, the firm successfully appointed or elected at least 30 percent underrepresented lawyers into current leadership roles.

“I am pleased to be part of a law firm that has such a strong focus on recognizing the importance of diverse perspectives in leadership roles within the legal industry,” said Rhonda Talford Knight, PhD, Bricker’s first and recently hired Chief Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Officer. Hired specifically to report directly to Flynn, the firm’s managing partner, Dr. Knight says there are high expectations for her role. “Not only are we driving the work to facilitate improving the landscape inside of Bricker, but we are also looking to support how we can help improve the legal industry overall.”

Since the Mansfield Rule’s launch three years ago with 42 firms seeking certification to this year’s class of 117 firms, Diversity Lab has worked with the participating firms to annually measure outcomes and iterate the program based on those outcomes to ensure firms are moving toward their goal of diversifying firm leadership with great impact.

The structural elements of Diversity Lab’s process – including the accountability through frequent firm-specific check-ins and data collection, the ongoing collaboration through monthly group knowledge sharing meetings, and the transparency of public certification – are key to this effort.

Through the Mansfield Rule, law firms are making progress collectively, rather than working in isolation.


Representing a wide variety of clients, the firm has particular strength and focus in the public sector, financial services, energy and health care industries in Ohio and beyond. The firm has a long history of promoting and supporting diversity, equity and inclusion in an ongoing effort to reflect the communities and clients it serves. Connect with Bricker online via Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.


Diversity Lab is an incubator for innovative ideas and solutions that boost diversity and inclusion in law. Experimental ideas – such as the OnRamp Fellowship and the Mansfield Rule – are created through our Hackathons and piloted in collaboration with more than 100 top law firms and legal departments across the country. Diversity Lab leverages data, behavioral science, design thinking, and technology to further develop and test new ideas and research, measure the results, and share the lessons learned. For more information, visit

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