Buckley’s Unity Initiative for Equal Justice
Buckley believes that, as legal professionals, we have a unique obligation and ability to use the law to help create a better, more just society where all citizens are treated equally, have equal opportunity, and have the reality of the Constitution’s protections.
The senseless killings of Black Americans sparked a national movement protesting those crimes and, more broadly, protesting systemic racism in our country, including in our law enforcement and legal systems. Addressing these issues requires hard conversations, tough self-reflection, coordinated action, and meaningful changes, or else real equality, equal protection under the law, and dignity and respect in our treatment of others will remain illusory for too many.
We started the Unity Initiative for Equal Justice to make our contribution to this movement. Through the initiative, we have launched a number of internal education and awareness programs to shape firm culture so that an inclusive community is a living reality for everyone in our workplace. We have also coordinated the efforts of attorneys and staff seeking to volunteer their time and talent to support pro bono clients and other organizations in the communities where we live and work.
Our efforts – internal and external – are organized around several working groups, each with a focus on important aspects of the initiative’s greater mission:
We pursue, as individuals and as a firm, service and engagement to make each of the communities where we live and work a better and more equitable place. We seek to support community service in which our attorneys and staff are already engaged, particularly activities that serve or empower people and communities of color, and identify other similar opportunities, whether firmwide or individual, one-time or ongoing — including those that may receive financial support from the Kolar Foundation. By tracking engagement, we recognize one another and inspire each other to stay involved in the pursuit of racial justice.
We build and participate in coalitions that combat racial inequality. We collaborate with public, private, and nonprofit organizations that advance diversity and inclusion, including in the legal profession, and with those that promote best practices for the fair treatment of diverse consumers of financial services.
We seek opportunities for firm personnel, both lawyers and staff, to support those exercising their constitutional right to protest in pursuit of racial justice and related issues. We will work with legal defense and First Amendment organizations to identify individuals and groups needing representation during and after mass protest events; pursue training opportunities for firm personnel on protest rights and protester representations; and send monitors to protests to observe and provide know-your-rights resources to protesters.
We seek to expand the firm’s pro bono work on racial justice, and the number of individuals within the firm involved in those efforts. We will build on the firm’s current efforts, including impact litigation and individual representation, and through internal discussions and in concert with the Law Firm Anti-Racism Alliance and other external partners, identify additional areas of work that address systemic racism in our communities.
We recognize that the urgent national demand at the heart of the Black Lives Matter movement to address systemic racism and pursue equal justice compels internal reflection by the firm and its employees to determine whether we collectively uphold the standards that the Unity Initiative champions. We encourage open and frank conversations about race and prejudice, through which we learn from the personal experiences of our colleagues. We will place trust and respect for one another at the center of our interactions as we aim to unearth and eliminate hidden biases, whether personal or institutional, and shape our culture so that an inclusive community is a living reality for everyone in our workplace.
We seek to cultivate an environment that promotes understanding, recognition, acceptance, and appreciation of diversity, multiculturalism, and social justice through collaborative education and peer-to-peer support.
We seek ways to improve how we recruit, hire, retain, train, and advance partners, lawyers, and staff so that we achieve our goal of greater diversity throughout the firm.
We strive to promote the well-being, mental health, resilience, and wellness of Buckley employees in a way that respects the dignity and humanity of all, with the goals of improved morale, productivity, and thriving relationships with self and others. We work with other Unity workstreams and the firm more broadly to determine the interests and needs of our employees, and identify and develop educational programs and resources that meet them. We also raise awareness of existing resources offered through firm-provided services and benefits.