The global law firm Winston & Strawn today announced the formal launch of its Pro Bono Racial Justice and Equity Council (the “Council”). An expansion of the firm’s ongoing efforts to combat racial injustice and inequality, the Council was created in June 2020 and is charged with the development and implementation of Winston & Strawn’s pro bono efforts addressing five critical pillars serving the public interest (CEASE):
· Criminal Justice and Criminal Justice Reform
· Educational and Vocational Opportunity
· Access to the Political System
· Social Welfare
· Economic Development
In support of the pro bono efforts and mission of the Council, the firm has pledged 100,000 pro bono hours through 2025 – double the percentage of pro bono hours previously dedicated to racial injustice and equity matters – reflecting a £37.5 million investment over the next five years. The firm is already providing support on matters falling under the five CEASE pillars, including preparation of an amicus brief regarding a conviction procured by a coerced confession; providing corporate governance and investment advice to nonprofits and investors launching initiatives wholly focused on Black-owned business and entrepreneurs; and representing local chapters of civil rights organizations in litigation challenging voting rights.
“We are honored to co-chair this Council,” said co-chairs Bryan Goldstein and Ryan Dunigan. “We’ve seen an immediate response from partners and associates throughout the firm who are committed to working with us to fight for justice and equity for persons of colour, with specific attention to causes impacting Black people.”
“Fighting systemic racism and inequality demands clarity of purpose, practical experience, and sustained, focused effort,” said Tom Fitzgerald, Chairman, Winston & Strawn. “With the CEASE Initiative as our compass, we are building on Winston’s longstanding commitment to pro bono legal work to enact lasting change across a broad spectrum of need in the struggle for racial justice.”
To read more about Winston & Strawn’s Pro Bono Racial Justice and Equity Council’s CEASE mission, click the following link.
In addition to the work already underway by the Pro Bono Racial Justice and Equity Council, progress has been achieved on a number of other commitments announced in June including:
- Creation of the Winston & Strawn Racial Equality Taskforce, to provide oversight and firm-wide accountability across five areas including Attorney Hiring/Recruiting, Professional Development and Advancement, Training and Education, Community/External Engagement, and Staff Inclusion.
- A firm donation of $100,000 to the Equal Justice Initiative, in addition to employee and matching firm donations totaling $97,000 to six non-profit organizations that support racial justice.
- Formalized review of internal systems, processes, and practices, including ongoing assessment of the firm’s recruiting strategy, work assignment system, mentoring systems, and performance evaluation system, to identify areas of racial inequity and potential remedies and ensure that all individuals have equal opportunities to succeed.
Winston & Strawn LLP is an international law firm with 15 offices located throughout North America, Europe, and Asia. More information is available at www.winston.com.