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 three working groups, each with a focus on important aspects of the initiative’s greater mission:
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 collectively uphold the standards our Unity Initiative champions. 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 encourage open and frank conversations about race and prejudice, through which we learn from the personal experiences of our colleagues. We place trust and respect for one another at the center of our interactions as we aim to uncover 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 pursue, as individuals and as a firm, service and engagement in our communities to make them stronger and more equitable. We support the community activities in which our attorneys and staff are engaged, particularly those that serve or empower people and communities of color, and identify similar opportunities — including some that receive financial support from the Kolar Foundation. Through engagement, we build and participate in coalitions that combat racial inequality, and collaborate with public, private, and nonprofit organizations that advance diversity and inclusion, especially, but not limited to, in the legal profession and with those that promote best practices for the fair treatment of diverse consumers of financial services.
We recognize that a diverse workforce is critical to our success as a firm. To that end, we emphasize diversity in our recruiting efforts, and foster a culture of inclusion so that all of our employees are secure in bringing their authentic selves to work. We strive to promote the well-being, mental health, resilience, and wellness of our employees in a way that respects their dignity and humanity, in pursuit of a shared culture that encourages thriving relationships and productivity. We work through the Unity Initiative and the firm more broadly to determine the interests and needs of our employees, and develop educational programs and resources that meet them. We also raise awareness of existing resources through firm-provided services and benefits.