Seven Top Law Firms Stand Out for IP Diversity and Inclusion
SAN FRANCISCO (November 02, 2021) – ChIPs—a nonprofit organization focused on advancing and connecting women in technology, law, and policy—has announced its 2021 Honor Roll Awards, recognizing law firms that are proactively tracking and supporting inclusion initiatives firmwide and in the Intellectual Property practice area. To be eligible for the 2021 ChIPs Honor Roll, firms must participate in the Inclusion Blueprint—a collaborative project between ChIPs and Diversity Lab that measures inclusion activities at both the leadership and practice group levels. Out of the 41 firms that met the challenging eligibility criteria for the Honor Roll, seven firms earned the distinction for their IP practice group:
- Baker Botts
- Hogan Lovells
- Morgan, Lewis & Bockius
- Morrison & Foerster
- Perkins Coie
This year, ChIPs raised the bar for achieving its Honor Roll recognition. As in the past, to be eligible for the ChIPs Honor Roll, firms had to complete the Inclusion Blueprint Firm Leadership survey and at least one Intellectual Property practice group survey. This year, rather than just recognize the firms with the top three scores, ChIPs added a minimum threshold and additional requirements to be eligible for its 2021 Honor Roll. In addition to considering inclusion actions related to women lawyers as in past years, this year’s assessment included inclusion actions related to underrepresented racial and ethnic lawyers and those who identify as LGBTQ+. Also new this year, firms had to commit to at least one of the Inclusion Blueprint’s “Do Something Hard” actions to be eligible. These commitments include actions to boost inclusion and equity at both the leadership/firmwide level and the practice group level.
“The Inclusion Blueprint has continued to expand and introduce more difficult standards since its launch in 2018, and it was time for ChIPs’ Honor Roll to similarly evolve,” said Joan Toth, ChIPs Executive Director. “By establishing a specific threshold and asking firms to ‘Do Something Hard,’ we are pushing firms to set goals and take action with their inclusion activities—and this year’s seven honorees have shown they are up to the challenge.”
The Inclusion Blueprint is different from traditional diversity surveys, as it goes beyond solely measuring headcount. In addition to assessing the overall representation of diversity in leadership, the survey asks if firms are actively monitoring and measuring their lawyers’ work activities and experiences, such as work allocation, parental leave, access to sponsorship, client pitches, and other critical development and advancement opportunities at the practice group level. The survey tracks and measures inclusion actions related to women lawyers, underrepresented racial and ethnic lawyers, lawyers who identify as LGBTQ+, and lawyers with disabilities. The purpose is to ensure that diverse lawyers have equal access to these opportunities and to interrupt any unconscious biases that may exist within firms’ practices or structures at both the leadership and practice group levels.
The Inclusion Blueprint was sent to more than 220 law firms, including the Am Law 200, by invitation from ChIPs and Diversity Lab, and 41 firms were eligible for the ChIPs Honor Roll Award.
“Making sure that everyone on our team has equal access to opportunities and advancement are top priorities for our firm,” said Morgan Lewis Firm Chair Jami McKeon. “We are grateful to ChIPs for recognizing our efforts, and look forward to continuing to work with their and Diversity Lab’s Inclusion Blueprint as we strategize actions to propel our firm forward.”
Bita Rehebi, Co-Chair of Global Intellectual Property Litigation Group at Morrison & Foerster, said
“The Inclusion Blueprint is a valuable measurement tool for firms truly focused on fostering a more diverse and inclusive workplace and who want to monitor their progress in these crucial areas.”
“We at WilmerHale are proud to be among the firms chosen for the ChIPs 2021 Honor Roll Awards and we thank them for this recognition,” said Susan Murley, the firm’s co-managing partner. “We share ChIPs’ and Diversity Labs’ commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion and are encouraged for the future, knowing that we are part of a community of steadfast allies in the important efforts represented by the Inclusion Blueprint.”
Initially launched in 2018, with help from a team from the 2018 Spring and Fall Diversity in Law Hackathon Series, the Inclusion Blueprint was created to evaluate the gender diversity and inclusion efforts of Intellectual Property groups in firms for the ChIPs Honor Roll Awards. The initiative was expanded in 2019 to track additional research-backed inclusion activities and to measure the representation of women, underrepresented racial and ethnic groups, and LGBTQ+ lawyers across all practice groups within law firms. In 2021, it was again expanded to include lawyers with disabilities and “Do Something Hard” commitments.
The Diversity Lab Inclusion Champions awards, which will be given at the firm leadership level and at the individual practice group level for all practice group categories, will be announced in mid-November 2021. A comprehensive report outlining the findings of the 2021 Inclusion Blueprint survey will also be published at that time.
ChIPs is a nonprofit organization focused on advancing and connecting women in technology, law and policy. ChIPs seeks to accelerate innovation in these areas by increasing diversity of thought, participation and engagement. At ChIPs, members are united in the belief that diversity, of all types, is essential to innovation and to a thriving, evolving society. Membership is open to anyone who shares this mission. Founded in 2005 by seven women chiefs of intellectual property, it has expanded beyond those roots, now with over 3,000 members and nine regional chapters in the United States and abroad. Many members are engaged at the heart of current events — as active participants in the lawmaking, policymaking, judicial, advocacy and innovation processes. Please visit www.chipsnetwork.org.
About Diversity Lab – 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 200 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 www.diversitylab.com.