A Statement from our Managing Partner

Date   Jun 11, 2020

All human beings are created equal and are endowed by God with certain inalienable rights – life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, so declared our founding fathers 244 years ago.  America has never been better than when all Americans unite to answer a common call – whether to fight in a world war or to put a man on the moon.  But, it’s also true that Americans have always struggled to overcome the nightmare of slavery that existed before the Civil War and the ugly stain of a failed Reconstruction that followed Abraham Lincoln’s death.  Our ideals have always been lofty, but as proud as we are of all the good our country has done, we cannot blind ourselves to areas where we have fallen short.

George Floyd’s senseless, tragic death is but a recent example of our national failure to eradicate racism and injustice wherever it exists, whether in our institutions or in our collective conscience. It ignited weeks of protests across the country and across the world that many of us have not experienced during our lifetimes.  While our country has made substantial progress, we have not yet fulfilled Martin Luther King, Jr.’s dream of being a nation that lives up to its promise of equality. Because many Black Americans have achieved financial success, obtained excellent educations, and risen to prominent positions - including that of President of the United States, it would be easy to think we’ve achieved the goal of true equality.  However, George Floyd’s death is a stark reminder that we have much more work to do. Living in fear of racism and injustice is not freedom, and it can never meet the promise of “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” Those who love this country - regardless of race or political affiliation - cannot rest until all Black Americans feel safe, secure, and confident that justice in America is truly justice for all.  

At FordHarrison we know that lofty goals and high ideals alone aren’t enough to achieve the kind of change the country needs and demands. We are proud of the firm’s past efforts to improve diversity and inclusion, and we are committed to do even better.  We recognize that stopping racism and injustice once and for all requires the people who make up FordHarrison to step forward and find new ways to make a difference in this important cause. As President Obama recently said, “If we want our children to grow up in a nation that lives up to its highest ideals, we can and must do better.” I’ve listed some of our major commitments below.  We encourage you to unite with your colleagues, friends, and neighbors to answer this call in your own way.  

As a firm, together we commit to:  

  • Top-down continuing education for all firm leaders on leading in a diverse and inclusive workplace where all voices are heard.
  • Pro bono representation of underserved Black communities where we have a presence across the country. We commit to increase our pro bono hours by more than 25% over the next five years, and will treat approved pro bono matters the same as any other client matter for the purposes of attorney compensation and advancement. 
  • Strengthening our mentoring program to provide champions for lawyers of color, focusing on their growth and advancement, and ensuring that their voices are heard in our organization.  
  • Offering a diversity and inclusion webinar series first to our employees and also to our clients and the communities we serve, free of charge. This series would address a broad spectrum of topics such as racism in America, cultural competence, LGBTQ+ issues, appearance discrimination, and generational diversity.