Proskauer stands against racism. While our work towards racial justice is longstanding, we know that we must do much more.
Racism is a global issue that impacts society at large, but we know that change begins within our own institutions. At Proskauer, we continue to focus on combating bigotry and prejudice while enhancing diversity and inclusion.
- Raising Collective Consciousness
We have an ongoing featured speaker series and regularly scheduled forums to explore specific concepts relating to racism, equity, and inclusion. These discussions are open to the Proskauer community, including our clients and alumni.
The first of our Exchange Forums - "A Conversation on Being Black in America and Effective Allyship" - was held on Juneteenth 2020 and attended by over 1,000 people from our Proskauer community. Hosted by our Black Lawyer Affinity Group, the discussion was facilitated by culture change expert Michelle Silverthorn.
The second in our series – "A Path Forward: Privilege, Power and the Impact of Race" – featured guest speaker Tim Wise, one of the nation's most prominent anti-racist authors and educators. Tim led a conversation on privilege and inequality, and offered strategies for affirmatively taking steps to create a more inclusive and equitable environment.
In recognition of Black History Month, the third installment of our A Path Forward speaker series – "The Historical Context of Racism in America" – featured Professor Eddie S. Glaude Jr., the Professor of African American Studies at Princeton and an acclaimed author, in conversation with Proskauer partner and Chicago office head Nigel Telman. The virtual event explored the historical context of racism in America.
- Commitment to Diversity and Inclusion, Retention, Promotion and Training
Proskauer is heavily invested in its diversity initiatives. We are working to meaningfully increase the pipeline of diverse lawyers and business services professionals in our Firm.
Our approach is guided by our Diversity Task Force and informed by feedback from our people. The Task Force is a leadership group empowered to develop major, targeted initiatives to raise the bar for the Firm’s diversity and inclusion strategy and to ensure that all voices are heard and elevated. It includes three members of the Firm’s Executive Committee, the Firm’s Managing Partner, two department chairs, three office heads and recruiting team members, among others.
Accordingly, the Task Force has implemented mandatory bias awareness training, which has been undertaken by all members of the Firm. We also have training focused on inclusive hiring, mentoring/sponsoring across difference, and inclusive leadership. Our goal is to train every member of our workforce on diversity and inclusion concepts to ensure that everyone is equipped to champion diversity and inclusion at Proskauer and as members of the larger legal industry.
We know that transparency and accountability is essential. We will continue to regularly share our diversity plan and the progress that we make with our employees and our clients.
- Collaboration with Racial Justice and Community Organizations
It is critical that we continue to collaborate with racial justice institutions, community organizations, other leading legal organizations, our clients and alumni to create sustainable and impactful solutions to combat racism. We are focused in particular on justice reform and mass incarceration, as well as voter protection.
As part of our work for racial justice, Proskauer commits to providing at least 25,000 hours of our time to racial justice causes each year – and since 2020 we have far exceeded that goal, contributing over 80,000 hours to more than 500 matters.
Our work has particularly focused on criminal justice, voting rights, immigration cases, advice to minority-owned small businesses and micro-entrepreneurs of color, non-profits with racial justice missions, and anti-poverty and anti-violence matters. We were proud to collaborate with the Diversity and Inclusion Sports Consortium, and the Minority Corporate Counsel Association, non-profits committed to advancing diversity and inclusion.
We have partnered with the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund (LDF) to create a fellowship for one of our associates to work directly with the LDF on strategic matters focusing on eliminating disparities and achieving racial justice and equality. Proskauer also advised the Alabama African American Civil Rights Heritage Consortium, Universal Hip Hop Museum, and 16th Street Baptist Church Community Development Corporation, non-profits dedicated to preserving and celebrating Black History.
- Empowering Engagement
Proskauer is a community of over 1,500 individuals around the world, and we know that each of the communities in which we live and work faces its own set of unique social justice issues and complexities. To enable our own people to engage with causes they are passionate about, in addition to our own Foundation, we have created an employee-donation match program to support public organizations fighting for racial justice.