The American Bar Association has four goals to achieve its mission. Goal III seeks to eliminate bias and enhance diversity in the legal profession. Under Goal III, diversity is considered race/ethnicity, gender, LGBTQ+ status and disability status.
The Model Diversity Survey is the primary tool to implement Resolution 113. The purpose of the survey is to serve as the standard for law firms’ reporting of their diversity metrics. The benefits the survey has are data uniformity, time efficiency, and trending year over year in aggregate and for individual firms.
The survey is free of charge for corporate signatories and stakeholders and does not require a paid membership to use. Corporations simply need to become a signatory in order to gain real-time access to any law firms’ diversity demographic data submitted in response to the Model Diversity Survey. GCs can now gain access to the diversity data reported by any firm. The law firms’ role is to simply complete the standardized Model Diversity Survey on the ABA portal on an annual basis and monitor firm trends over time. By participating in this effort, the firms and corporations will have the ability to use the survey results as a benchmarking tool.
To become a signatory, the general counsel is asked to do the following:
- Notify the ABA that they support the Resolution and wish to sign the pledge;
- Ask the firms that provide a significant portion of legal services to complete the Survey;
- Require firms that are competing to handle a significant matter for the company to complete the Survey;
- Use the Survey results, as a tool in determining what firms to retain or with which to continue doing business; and
- Advise the ABA that they support the above four principles, such that an ongoing list of those that have committed to the principles can be maintained and published.