As the days and weeks since the tragic deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor march forward, it’s natural to start to wonder what, if anything, has changed. Biglaw made a big promises in the wake of protests supporting Black Lives Matter, but will that actually make a difference?
Of course, what the most powerful law firms should do to support racial justice is a question with a lot of different answers. Giving money is a big, and somewhat obvious, answer, as is doing some really vital pro bono work. But more is needed. Like rethinking what programs firms support, and even rethinking the traditional holiday calendar. Lots of firms got in on declaring Juneteenth a holiday, and now there’s another day earmarked for equal justice.
Fenwick recently announced a Voting Rights Initiative which includes declaring Election Day a paid public service holiday, designed to allow employees the time to vote and volunteer. In a statement about the new program, firm chair Richard Dickson said the move was linked to the firm’s commitment to equal justice:
“Our voting initiative ties directly to Fenwick’s Action for Change and our promise to work toward equal justice through civic engagement,” said Fenwick Chair Richard Dickson. “Voting is the most powerful lever in a democracy, and the most effective way to bring about change at the local, county, state and national levels. I hope that other law firms and more companies will join in making similar investments to promote the civic engagement needed for a properly functioning democracy.”
As with most Biglaw trends, we’ll be tracking exactly which firms are giving time off for employees to do their civic duty. If your firm is giving time off for Election Day or otherwise supporting voting rights, let us know. Our vast network of tipsters is part of what makes Above the Law thrive. You can email us or text us (646-820-8477).
Kathryn Rubino is a Senior Editor at Above the Law, and host of The Jabot podcast. AtL tipsters are the best, so please connect with her. Feel free to email her with any tips, questions, or comments and follow her on Twitter (@Kathryn1).