The ACC/ACC Foundation DEI Maturity Model has been designed for use by legal departments around the world to benchmark maturity of their efforts regarding diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) across a wide range of functional areas that have been proven relevant for optimization of DEI impact and results. This first iteration of the DEI Maturity Model outlines clear descriptions for three levels of maturity for each DEI function – early, intermediate, and advanced – providing leaders with a critical snapshot of where their department compares against the maturity continuum, and offering a roadmap of how to achieve next-level goals. The DEI Maturity Model was jointly developed by ACC and the ACC Foundation, in consultation with an advisory committee of DEI leaders from the legal and business communities who are responsible for advancing DEI results at their organizations. While we are pleased to offer this tool in response to the need expressed by in-house counsel for practical, accessible approaches, we intend for this model to continue to be refined and improved upon based on the valuable feedback from those who use it.


Download The Maturity Model

The Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Maturity Model is available as a downloadable PDF for offline use. 

Download the DEI Model

Glossary of Terms Used Throughout The Model

  • Diversity

    Diversity is the variety ways and circumstances, both visible and invisible, that groups of people differ from each other.

  • Equity

    Equity is the guarantee of fair treatment, access, opportunity, and advancement for all while striving to identify and eliminate barriers that have prevented the full participation of some groups. The principle of equity acknowledges that there are historically under-served and under-represented populations and that fairness regarding these unbalanced conditions is needed to assist equality in the provision of effective opportunities to all groups.

  • Inclusion

    Inclusion is the intentional creation of an environment that regularly incorporates diversity and different perspectives into processes.. In “inclusive” environment is one where everyone feels welcome and like they belong. They have opportunities to contribute and are accepted.

  • Governing Body

    Governing Body is the entity that takes responsibility for coordination and oversight of the DEI strategy, including decision-making about goals, metrics, resource allocation, accountability, and more. It delegates extensively to local or functional groups, while also holding them accountable for results.

  • Metrics

    Metrics are measurements that are used to assess progress, and ultimately, results of a company’s DEI program.

  • Sponsor

    Sponsor is a senior executive who uses their position and influence to advance a more junior person’s career by “opening doors” to opportunities for visibility, exposure, stretch assignments, etc. A sponsor is an advocate who takes action from a career advancement/opportunity perspective.

  • Mentor

    Mentor is a senior person who provides coaching to support the mentee’s performance and professional development. A mentor is an advisor who may or may not take action from a career advancement/opportunity perspective.

  • Employee Resource Group (ERG or Affinity Group)

    Employee Resource Group (ERG or Affinity Group) is a group of coworkers who may share similar characteristics or life experiences who work collectively to support, advance, and create opportunities for a specific affinity as part of a DEI strategy.. Members ERG members may be asked to advise on the development and implementation of DEI strategies.

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