Perkins Coie Pledges Resources and Action to Advance Racial Equality
In recent weeks, our nation has begun a reckoning with the racial inequality that has existed throughout our history and continues to impact the daily lives of Black people. This reckoning began with the tragic deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and others. It continues now with a broad social movement that extends across our country.
As a firm, we are committed to doing our part to end racism and to help create a more just and equal society. Our actions will build on the substantial work we are already doing to advance diversity, equity, and inclusion within our firm and in our society. Today, we make these new commitments:
- Financial Contributions to Promote Racial Equality: We will contribute at least $500,000 annually over the next five years to community-led as well as local and national organizations that promote racial equality through legal representation, policy advocacy, and community-based activities. We will seek out groups focused on pursuing social and economic justice that do not have ready access to other funding sources.
- New Pro Bono Initiatives Focused on Racial Equality: Building on our existing pro bono program, we will establish new firmwide initiatives that address racial inequality in policing, the criminal justice system, and economic justice. We will also work with other law firms to address issues of systemic racism through the newly formed Law Firm Antiracism Alliance.
- Civil Rights Legal Fellowships: We will establish a fellowship program for Perkins Coie associates, typically in their first year, to spend one year working in a civil rights organization or other organization that promotes racial equality.
- Entrepreneurship Program: We will establish a program to support Black and Latinx founders and entrepreneurs to achieve greater access to capital through networking opportunities, educational resources, seminars, and alternative fee arrangements.
- Supplier Diversity Program: We will accelerate and expand our Supplier Diversity Program, which we established in 2019.
- Observance: Continuing the practice that we began this year, we will make Juneteenth an annual firmwide holiday to provide an opportunity for reflection, education, and service to promote racial equality.
In addition, we will continue the implementation of our Strategic Diversity & Inclusion Plan. The plan, which was adopted in 2019, includes a comprehensive three-year program of action to increase prospects and reduce barriers for all diverse attorneys, with an emphasis on addressing the historic exclusion and significant underrepresentation of Black and Latinx attorneys in the legal industry. These efforts include continuing to:
- Increase diversity in leadership positions and in our equity partner ranks.
- Ensure that our compensation and evaluation systems, at every level, properly recognize and reward contributions to diversity and inclusion.
- Ensure that diverse lawyers are included in opportunities to originate new work and serve on and lead client teams.
- Maintain and grow our 1L Diversity Fellows Program.
- Hold ourselves accountable through regular benchmarking of our progress and reporting on that progress.
- Exceed the minimum requirements for participation in the Mansfield Certification Program.
- Develop a diversity and inclusion program focused on the recruitment, professional development, and advancement of our staff members.
As a law firm, as professionals, and as citizens, we will work together to champion and accelerate meaningful change. Removing barriers to success and achieving equality, dignity, and respect for all must be our constant pursuit.