Stoel Rives Commits to Diversity & Inclusion Goals with Move The Needle Fund

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Am Law 200 firm is one of five founding U.S. law firms for Diversity Lab initiative

PORTLAND, Ore. — Stoel Rives LLP is pleased to announce its participation in Diversity Lab’s Move The Needle Fund (MTN), a five-year model program intended to help five law firms nationwide reach aggressive, measurable diversity and inclusion goals they set for themselves. The firms will work in collaboration with each other and more than two dozen general counsels, as well as an advisory group of influential leaders from the legal community.

“For decades, Stoel Rives has been committed to building and maintaining a law firm culture that fosters diversity and inclusion. One of the firm’s primary goals is to attract and retain a collaborative, high performing team of professionals who hail from diverse life experiences and backgrounds, because we know that diverse viewpoints enable our team to offer our clients better legal solutions,” said Jim Torgerson, Firm Managing Partner. “We have made significant strides in our recruiting and retention efforts in recent years, and I look forward to joining the other MTN firms to continue that work and to create a stronger diversity and inclusion model for the legal profession.”

Through its participation in MTN, Stoel Rives has committed to improving the retention rate of its diverse attorneys (specifically women, racial/ethnic minorities, individuals identifying as LGBTQ+, and individuals with disabilities) to at least equal the retention rate of its non-diverse attorneys by 2025, with the ultimate goal of increasing the percentage of diverse partners in the firm. Currently, to achieve this goal, the firm would need to reduce the attrition rate of its diverse attorneys by 40% to match the attrition rate of its non-diverse attorneys.

“The business case for diversity is evident. Our clients value variety of experience and viewpoint and they are insisting upon more diverse talent in their outside counsel,” said Melissa Jones, Stoel Rives’ Firm Managing Partner-elect. “It is crucial to the success of our profession to continue to collaborate with organizations like Diversity Lab, and I am excited to lead our firm in this endeavor as Firm Managing Partner in 2020.”

MTN will launch officially in January 2020 and continue through 2025. The goals of the program, which can be found on www.mtnfund2025.com, are focused on solving many of the toughest challenges that large law firms and other legal organizations face, such as the lack of diversity in leadership, higher attrition rates among diverse talent, and unequal opportunities for diverse attorneys to career-enhancing work experiences and sponsorship.

Along with Stoel Rives, the MTN Fund founding law firms include Goodwin; Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe; and Eversheds Sutherland. Instead of hand-selecting a fifth firm from those in their current network, Diversity Lab and the MTN founding leaders are inviting large law firms interested in this industry-changing initiative to apply via a blind selection process. Details on the application process to become the fifth MTN firm can be found here.

In addition to MTN, Stoel Rives also participates in other Diversity Lab programs aimed at increasing diversity and inclusion among law firms. Diversity Lab’s OnRamp Fellowship is a re-entry platform for experienced women lawyers coming back into the legal profession, and its Mansfield Rule Law Firm Certification, which the firm achieved in September 2019, measures whether legal departments have affirmatively considered at least 30 percent women, people of color, LGBTQ+, and lawyers with disabilities for leadership and governance roles. Stoel Rives is one of the 98 firms participating in the third year of the certification, and is one of five law firms that volunteered to pilot a more intensive tracking process that measures the consideration of individual demographic groups for each category in Mansfield 3.0.

About Diversity Lab: Diversity Lab is an incubator for innovative ideas and solutions that boost diversity and inclusion in law. Experimental ideas are created through Hackathons and piloted in collaboration with more than 50 top law firms and legal departments across the country. Diversity Lab leverages data, behavioral science, design thinking, and technology to further develop and test the ideas, measure the results, and share the lessons learned. For more information, visit www.diversitylab.com.

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