Stoel Rives Introduces 50 Billable Credit Hours for Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Activities

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Portland, Ore. — Stoel Rives, LLP, an Am Law 200 law firm, announced today that it will introduce 50 hours of billable credit annually for Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DE&I) activities to recognize its lawyers’ efforts to advance diversity at the firm and in the legal industry. Effective November 1, 2021, the new policy doubles the firm’s yearly billable credit hours to 100 hours, providing for 50 hours of DE&I billable credit in addition to the current 50 hours of billable credit for pro bono work.

“We have a deep, firmwide commitment to enhancing diversity and fostering a culture of inclusion, and introducing DE&I billable credit hours encourages broad engagement in our diversity mission by rewarding our lawyers for their contributions in helping achieve our goals,” said Melissa Jones, Firm Managing Partner. “As a Mansfield Plus firm and a founder of the Move the Needle Fund, we are focused on innovative diversity initiatives that have a real impact and serve as a model for what law firms can do.”

Starting November 1, 2021, lawyers will receive billable credit for up to 50 hours of approved DE&I activities performed during each 12-month period covered by Stoel’s evaluation process. The firm’s definition of diversity includes racial/ethnic minorities, lawyers who identify as LGBTQ+, lawyers with disabilities, and women. Stoel’s approved DE&I activities include:

  • Attending firm-sponsored affinity bar and community and client -sponsored events that promote DE&I
  • Attending external conference or educational sessions related to DE&I
  • Developing and delivering presentations or training programs on DE&I topics
  • Active participation in a local or national affinity bar association, on a non-profit board, or in another diversity organization
  • Serving on firm-wide or office DE&I committees, working groups, or subcommittees
  • Organizing or attending DE&I Committee-sponsored events
  • Participating in the firm’s internal affinity groups
  • Participating in Stoel’s Move the Needle activities
  • Participating in recruiting efforts of diverse candidates
  • Participating in mentoring, coaching, or sponsorship activities of diverse talent
  • Representing Stoel at client-facing diversity events or trainings

Stoel partnered with Diversity Lab in 2020 as a founder of Move the Needle (MTN), a five-year model program funded by a small group of law firms and involving over two dozen corporate general counsels to test and measure innovative DE&I strategies, with the goal of developing demonstrably successful tools to help the legal profession diversify.

In September 2021, Stoel received Diversity Lab’s Mansfield Rule 4.0 Plus Certification, affirming that the firm considers at least 30 percent diverse lawyers for leadership and governance roles, equity partner promotions, formal client pitch opportunities, and senior lateral positions.

Fifty percent of Stoel’s lawyers are diverse and 54 percent of the firm’s top leadership positions are held by diverse lawyers as of October 19, 2021. Stoel Rives received a 100 percent rating on the Human Rights Campaign’s 2021 Corporate Equality Index, ranking as a “Best Place to Work for LGBTQ Equality.”

“Diversity makes us better legal advisors, problem solvers, and community leaders,” said Jones. “We are hoping our efforts will not only help us enhance our firm’s diversity but will provide paths forward for others in the legal industry.”

Key Contributors

Melissa A. Jones
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