Black Lives Matter. Our Plan for Action.June 11, 2020
The death of George Floyd is yet another in a long line of brutal killings of members of the Black community at the hands of those sworn to protect and serve. In addition to joining the numerous business and corporate leaders declaring that this cannot be allowed to persist and reaffirming our commitment to racial equality and justice, we are also taking action to implement meaningful, specific change.
What We Believe
- We embrace that all lives cannot matter until Black lives matter.
- We proclaim that the disparate violence against our communities of color, and disregard for human dignity and respect, is unacceptable—especially from our government.
- We acknowledge that racism is systemic and persists in overt and insidious forms throughout our society.
- We understand that lasting solutions will require systemic change, for which we must strive individually and collectively.
- Perhaps most fundamentally, we recognize that good intentions do not immunize us from either fault or the impacts of such systemic failure.
What We’re Doing
Like many in our industry, we have a long-standing commitment to hiring, keeping, and promoting a diverse workforce and fostering an inclusive workplace. We also realize that these general commitments are not enough and that our focus must turn to specific, actionable, and impactful changes.
Earlier this month, we joined many in the local community by signing a letter urging Columbus City Council to support a now-passed resolution declaring racism to be a public health crisis in our city.
And while we continue to work with our team to take action to address racial inequities in our organization, our community, and throughout the legal profession, our immediate efforts include the following:
- We have accelerated and expanded our firm’s Annual Giving Initiative to provide immediate financial support to Campaign Zero, the movement to end police violence in America, and to the Columbus Urban League, a local leader in the effort to combat systemic inequities in our community.
- We are amplifying personal contributions of our employees by matching their donations to these organizations.
- We have reaffirmed our support for pro bono service by increasing the number of pro bono hours that count toward the billable hours of our attorneys and paralegals to 100 hours per year.
- We are re-evaluating our firm’s comprehensive political contributions with an increased scrutiny on issues of racism and equality.
- We are further increasing the opportunities we provide for dialogue and education to increase all firm members’ awareness of implicit bias.
As lawyers, we have both a unique opportunity and a unique responsibility to drive lasting structural change—so that’s what we plan to do. This is how we start.