Chicago Committee on Minorities in Large Law Firms | Colorado Law Firm Group | Crowell & Moring LLP | Dorsey & Whitney | Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson | Hale and Dorr | Hogan & Hartson | Holland & Knight | Leonard, Street & Deinard PA | Morrison & Foerster LLP | Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom | Sullivan & Cromwell | Sutherland, Asbill & Brennan | Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz | Wilmer, Cutler & Pickering
The Chicago Committee presents independent programming as well as programming in cooperation with various national, state, city and minority bar organizations and law schools. Its goals are to:
The Chicago Committee collects, develops and disseminates strategies to assist firms in recruiting and hiring minority lawyers. Its publications include: "Strategies for the Development of Minority Recruitment and Retention Programs in Law Firms"; "When Bigger is Better," about the pros and cons of large firm practice; and "My Firm's Better Than Your Firm," about the differences among firms. It also conducts a Road Shows Program, as part of an ongoing effort to increase the pool of talented minority applicants for its member firms. The Road Shows Program consists of panels of three to six minority lawyers who visit various law schools outside Chicago to discuss large firm practice and to encourage students to consider Chicago's large law firms as a place to launch their careers.
The Chicago Committee maintains a list of more than 250 minority associates and over 100 minority partners at the 50 largest law firms in the city of Chicago. We organize annual meetings of minority partners in large Chicago law firms. And we conduct on-campus panel discussions with minority law students at schools in Chicago and around the country to describe large firm practice, to explain the credentials necessary for employment with large firms, and to encourage minority law students to apply for employment with large Chicago firms. A variety of other programs, including a tips seminar and luncheons with minority judges and other role models, provide summer associates with information concerning pitfalls, problems, and strategies for success, mentors to contact, and background information on the firms and the City, and educate them about the legal profession and the Chicago legal community.
We of the Colorado legal community take great pride in our profession. Ours is a profession representing the rights of the privileged, the underprivileged, the many, and the few. We, as attorneys, should understand better than most the meaning of the words "Equal Opportunity." Yet we are acutely aware that, in Colorado, as elsewhere, equal opportunity in the legal field has not been fully available. We have made progress in the seven years since the Pledge was first signed, yet there are still far too few attorneys of color recruited, hired, trained, retained, and invited to join the partnership ranks in Colorado law firm-large, medium or small.
We believe that Colorado law firms must make positive and determined efforts to remedy this failure. We remain committed to recruiting, hiring, training, retaining, and inviting to partnership African American/Black, Asian Pacific American, Native American Indian, and Hispanic attorneys.
We have learned since the Pledge was first signed that the necessary changes will not be achieved by words alone. We now believe that in order to achieve the goals stated in the Pledge, it is necessary for us to not only commit philosophically to those goals, but to commit resources towards activities which we as a group believe will have a positive impact.
We are but a microcosm of the greater society within which we live. However, we propose to lead rather than follow, move forward rather than stand still. Although the specific goals set forth in this Pledge are directed toward attaining racial and ethnic diversity in Colorado law firms, each signatory believes that diversity, in its many facets, including, without limitation, racial, ethnic, sexual orientation, religious, differently-abled, and gender enriches us all.
& Moring LLP
An example of the Firm's pro bono work is Thomas County Branch of the NAACP v. City of Thomasville School District. As a result of legal representation by Dorsey & Whitney, and the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, some 2,500 African American school children in Thomasville, Georgia are entertaining the possibility of equal schooling for the first time. In Thomasville, African American children are segregated from white students and receive far inferior educational instruction. They attend segregated schools or are segregated from white children in schools with substantial numbers of both white and black students, while the most experienced teachers are assigned to schools with white students. In addition, white students are predominately placed in gifted and talented classes, yet black students have few educational resources, such as books and computers. On October 2, 1998, the Lawyers' Committee and Dorsey & Whitney filed a federal lawsuit on behalf of nine parents of African American school children and the county. The complaint charged the Thomasville school system with operating racially segregated and unequal schooling for white and black students. Dorsey & Whitney and Lawyer's Committee are continuing discussions with the school district regarding resolution of this case.
Hale and Dorr's Youth and Education Initiative: In 1997, the Firm partnered with four different organizations to provide a wide menu of volunteer opportunities, and to work with organizations that would benefit significantly from a model that incorporates financial support, volunteer service, and in-kind support. In addition to specific volunteer programs, non-lawyer managers and directors offer advice and assistance in their areas of expertise, including human resources, information technology, finance, accounting, graphics and office systems. The Firm hosts several trainings, meetings and events for the non-profits, and attorneys serve on advisory boards. Incorporating these diverse voluntary efforts into one program, our unique model has helped build the infrastructure of our four partner organizations, which may, in the long run, be our most important contribution. The Youth and Education Initiative provides for inner city youth a more positive exposure to law and the judicial system, and gives them an opportunity to feel empowered in their day-to-day lives.
Our partners include Citizens Schools, which provides summer and after-school educational opportunities for more than 1600 middle school children who participate in apprenticeships taught by more than 1200 citizen volunteers. Hale and Dorr has taught apprenticeship classes in law, puppet making, and reading, and introduced Citizens Schools to the Federal Court Public Education Project. Another partner, Teen Empowerment, seeks to provide young men and women (ages 14-20) the opportunity to develop and demonstrate leadership skills in their communities. Hale and Dorr's summer internship program employs three Teen Empowerment students. The interns' summer experience culminates in a mock trial with summer interns from Cathedral High School. Hale and Dorr also participates in Teen Empowerment's annual Peace Conference in Boston. And another partner, Cathedral High School, serves the educational activities of high school students from over 21 different ethnic backgrounds. Hale and Dorr holds two annual college application workshops there, and an annual Career Day. In addition, attorneys from the Firm have helped Cathedral High students prepare for a state-wide mock trial competition.
The success of our Youth and Education initiative is due to many factors. First, this Initiative was championed and supported by the Firm's Managing Partner, and other senior partners have provided significant time, leadership, and visibility to the effort. Second, the Firm allocated resources to manage the relationships with the non-profit organizations, including hiring a full-time Public Services Manager with experience in the non-profit world. Third, the Firm also assembled teams led by partners, but including associates and staff, to work with each organization and with the Public Services Manager to further develop the Initiative and ensure that the volunteer experiences are fulfilling, efficient, and add value for both Hale and Dorr and the organizations.
Much of the firm's pro bono work continued to focus on the special needs of the District of Columbia. We assisted the District itself in its effort to reform its child support enforcement system, in complex litigation involving Dupont Circle, and in efforts to reform the system for delivering medical care to inmates of the D.C. Jail. We continued to work toward successful opening of the Developing Families Center, an organization that will operate a comprehensive service center for low-income and troubled families in Northeast Washington. And we focused on the needs of District children not only by assisting the Developing Families Center and by helping reform the District's child support enforcement system, but also by taking on scores of individual domestic matters involving child custody and support and protection against domestic violence.
Our work for equality and civil rights continued on numerous fronts. We continued our battle on behalf of the African American community threatened for a second time with dislocation by the siting of a new Route 50 on Maryland's Eastern Shore, a battle that has now resulted in a very favorable settlement with federal and Maryland highway officials. Once again, we handled voting rights matters around the South, from North Carolina to Augusta, Georgia, to Bossier Parish, Louisiana. We continued to pursue equal justice in public accommodations through our monitoring role in the Denny's litigation and through efforts to combat discrimination at Motel 6's across the country. We represented a whistleblower who was fired for complaining about the practice of the United States consulate in Brazil of adjudicating visa applications based on race and ethnicity. We handled innumerable asylum and other alienage and immigration matters as well, including our role as class counsel in a Seattle case seeking to prevent the INS from stripping citizenship from naturalized citizens without having to go to court first.
The following is one example of Holland & Knight's commitment in this area:
In the 1920s, Rosewood, Florida, was a prosperous working class African American community whose residents were independent, free and industrious people. In 1923, however, the community was decimated by an allegedly revenge attack by whites. At least six African Americans were killed, and the town was burned to ashes. The governor and the local sheriff ignored the events. The surviving African Americans escaped into the nearby wilderness. In 1992, Holland & Knight filed a claims bill to compensate the twelve known Rosewood survivors for their losses. As a result, a study was commissioned to determine the events of the Rosewood Massacre. The claims of the survivors that the state was on notice of the likelihood of an attack on Rosewood and failed to act to prevent the tragedy were substantiated. Compensation in the amount of $2.1 million has been distributed to the survivors and their descendants.
Located in a marginalized district of Minneapolis, nearly 95% of the clinic's patients have household incomes at or below the poverty level, the majority are persons of color, and more than a third are Asian refugees. Through the clinic, hundreds of clients have received assistance with family law, housing, consumer, employment, immigration, and public benefits issues. Firm lawyers also write a regular column on legal rights in the neighborhood newspaper, and publish brochures on common legal topics that are translated into several languages. They also work closely with community nonprofit groups to sustain affordable housing in the neighborhood, and deal with environmental hazards.
Morrison & Foerster also has a long history of commitment to providing free legal services to indigent persons and in matters of public interest. Our attorneys have volunteered their time and expertise in class action cases to benefit tens of thousands of people, and in thousands of other cases to help individuals who otherwise would have been denied access to the justice system. Pro bono activities at our offices around the country cover the full range of public interest work, from staffing legal service clinics and counseling over 150 nonprofit organizations to handling high-impact litigation. Our greatest efforts have focused on assisting children in poverty, school education issues, civil rights and civil liberties cases, international human rights and political asylum matters, and issues of housing and homelessness.
Morrison & Foerster believes it is an essential part of a lawyer's professional responsibility to perform pro bono work and engage in other activities that benefit the community. The firm handles pro bono engagements according to the same standards of practice applicable to paying clients, including the same supervision, support and staffing. All time spent on client pro bono work counts towards an attorney's minimum hours expectation. Pro bono work also receives the same consideration during associate evaluations. Morrison & Foerster is a Charter Signatory to the American Bar Association's Pro Bono Challenge. In 1999, our partners and associates expended over 47,000 hours representing pro bono clients, which is equivalent to almost 4% of our billable time. Approximately 117 partners and 204 associates participated in pro bono activities.
Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom
In a current non-litigation case, Skadden, Arps is representing the Community Development Bank, N.A. involving its establishment and regulatory approvals. Additionally, the firm sponsors two externships with the Legal Aid Society's Community Law Office, and Lawyers Alliance for New York.
This is just one example of Sullivan & Cromwell's commitment to providing pro bono service to people of color. Through a formal pro bono program, the Firm undertakes both litigation and transactional matters, and represents individuals as well as non-profit and charitable organizations. The Firm considers work performed on pro bono matters in our attorney evaluations.
Sutherland, Asbill's Washington, D.C. office handles cases referred to it by the Washington Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs, the D.C. Bar Pro Bono Clinic, and Lawyers for Children, among others. Sutherland lawyers in our Atlanta office have staffed the Atlanta Legal Aid Society's Saturday Morning Program, assisted the Atlanta Volunteer Lawyers Foundation in providing free legal services to the indigent, volunteered for the "1000 Lawyers for Justice" project, and defended indigent persons in the criminal legal system in Fulton County, Georgia, among others activities.
The firm is committed to promoting diversity. We are a signatory to the Association of the Bar of the City of New York's Statement of Goals for Increasing Minority Representation and Retention, and have recently signed the Reaffirmation of these goals. In addition to the Statement of Goals, the firm has significantly increased the percentage of persons of color who have been hired as associates in the past three years.
As evidence of Wilmer, Cutler's ongoing commitment to pro bono work, the Firm has created and staffed the full-time position of Pro Bono Counsel, who coordinates and administers pro bono matters for the Firm, and helps develop new pro bono projects. Wilmer, Cutler's pro bono work often involves civil rights issues, representation of persons on death row, and matters affecting persons of modest means; as well as assisting organizations that serve them in such areas as landlord-tenant law, child custody matters, and social security and welfare controversies.
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