InterLaw Diversity Forum Model Diversity Survey (UK)
In 2019 the InterLaw Diversity Forum signed an exclusive MOU with the American Bar Association ("ABA"), supported by the SRA, to adapt the ABA’s Model Diversity Survey for use in the UK. In 2020 we solidified this arrangement by signing a further exclusive “Collaboration Agreement” with the ABA. The working title for our UK adaptation is the “InterLaw Diversity Forum Model Diversity Survey UK”. The ABA Model Diversity Survey has been in use in the US for four years, and currently has 117 corporate signatories with 400 law firm users.
The Model Diversity Survey is a supplier diversity questionnaire which corporates and financial institution signatories (“clients”) ask their panel firms/legal service providers to complete. 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 more sophisticated than what most clients are currently asking from their firms. In-house attorneys and their teams frequently don't understand or have visibility over the internal workings of law firms so don't know the right questions to ask. The Model Diversity Survey asks the right questions.
The Model Diversity Survey can help clients shape their decisions about allocation of legal work to law firms/legal suppliers by creating greater transparency around diversity and inclusion in law firms. Microsoft has developed an online dashboard to be used by the clients to make the data collected by the Model Diversity Survey truly accessible and useable. So instead of reams of tabular data sitting with procurement only, GCs and their teams can now easily dig in to compare their panel firms, including comparing their stats over time, if they wish to consider performance around D&I when handing out work.
The Model Diversity Survey will also assist law firms in providing uniform, thorough, and accurate information to their corporate and financial institution clients. Further, it will streamline D&I data collection for law firms by allowing firms to provide a single, uniform set of data to multiple clients. Firms are currently asked for a different set of diversity data, cut a different way, from every client who collects it.
As part of the development of the Model Diversity Survey for the UK, the InterLaw Diversity Forum is preparing to launch an accreditation programme for diverse-owned law firms and other legal suppliers in the UK.
We have assembled a working group of general counsel, senior in-house lawyers and law firm representatives to advise us on the project. Our aim is to launch the project in early 2021 and we are currently on track for this date. For more information on this project or to inquire about joining the working group, please email: Jonathan.Leonhart@interlawdiversityforum.org.