The inexcusable murders of Black Americans, including George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor, are a blight on our civilized society. Their tragic deaths exemplify a long history of oppression and racism against Black Americans in this country and serve as a painful reminder of racial injustices and systemic inequalities that are deeply embedded in so many facets of our society. Their deaths require us to speak out and to act.
As attorneys, we commit ourselves to fairness, justice and due process for every person, and on this we say: Black Lives Matter. We must recognize that the law has played an undeniable role in perpetrating injustices against Black Americans. Our work forward requires a renewed focus on undoing historic harms perpetuated in the name of the law. Now more than ever, there is no higher calling for us as lawyers than to uphold the U.S. Constitution and to ensure that its inherent rights are applied equally to all people, and especially to those among us who have not historically received equal protection under the law. Within our Firm, we advance this calling by counting diversity and inclusion among our five core values.
But words of condemnation and a statement of support are not enough. Although we have made great strides, we know we can and must do better in improving the representation of diverse professionals at our Firm and in our leadership, and in maintaining a diverse and inclusive workplace that is free from racial discrimination and injustice.
We are committed to taking specific action to further realize these values, both within our Firm and in our communities:
- We will donate $100,000 to be divided among equal justice and civil rights organizations at the national and local levels, and will also increase our Firm donations to education programs that provide resources and opportunities to underserved communities where our Firm has offices.
- Through our continued participation in the American Bar Association’s Resolution 113 and Mansfield Certification Programs, we will increase our efforts in our hiring, retention and promotion of diverse attorneys in our Firm.
- We will establish a formal Diversity Supplier Program, committed to hiring and supporting minority owned businesses.
- Consistent with our long-time commitment to providing pro bono legal services, we will also encourage and support our attorneys’ pro bono efforts on cases and matters that seek to eliminate racial discrimination and advance equal justice causes.
- We will double down on our diversity and inclusion education efforts within our Firm, with an emphasis on interrupting bias.
In addition, our Diversity and Inclusion Committee is evaluating further actions our Firm can take in the ongoing effort to counteract racism and advance the principles of diversity and inclusion. The Firm’s Executive Committee and many diverse members of the Firm have engaged, and will continue to engage, in candid discussions about how this Firm can continue to pursue these efforts.
Recent events in our nation serve as a painful reminder of the discrimination and unconscious bias that Black Americans and other marginalized groups of Americans endure every day. To our Black colleagues, and all of our colleagues who have experienced racism, discrimination or unconscious bias: You are not alone – Locke Lord sees you, we are listening to you, and we stand with you.