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Hanson Bridgett's Public Commitment to Racial Justice and Equity

June 9, 2020 (San Francisco, CA) – Over the past week, while we grappled with our response to the murder of George Floyd at the hands of the Minneapolis Police Department, we have taken stock of our own failures to speak publicly about the injustices in our society and the civil unrest experienced in our communities. As lawyers, we cannot and will not remain silent as our employees, clients, and fellow Black Americans are denied their most basic human rights.

When we were admitted to the practice of law, we swore an oath to uphold the Constitution of the United States, which guarantees equal protection of the laws to all American citizens. In our chosen profession, we use our voice and our power each day to advocate on behalf of clients in courtrooms and conference rooms, but all too often silence ourselves when it comes to issues adversely impacting our most vulnerable fellow citizens. While we hold diversity, inclusion, and equity as core principles at our firm, we understand that we need to do much more. We have a duty to speak up and work further to more aggressively address the illnesses of racial inequality and police brutality devastating our Black communities.

Just as the three officers who passively watched the murder of George Floyd were complicit in the violation of Mr. Floyd’s humanity, our past silence on these issues has revealed our own complicity. We cannot stand by and watch these atrocities against the Black American community, against George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and all other named and unnamed victims, and remain silent. The murders of these Americans and countless others remind us of the unequal protection under the law that people of color, and especially Black people, experience each day. Even while we praise ourselves for the social and economic progress we have made in other aspects of our society, we must acknowledge that many still struggle daily to achieve even the most basic of human rights.

This time must be different. We cannot simply compartmentalize our frustration and return to our usual routines. To our loved ones, friends, and colleagues who have been committed to this fight all along, we promise to join you, to reject silence, to confront and end racism and white supremacy, and to do everything in our power to end the injustice.

As a society, we now know this can be done. We are in the midst of witnessing an unprecedented investment of resources by our government to confront COVID-19 and to confront protestors seeking justice for George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and countless others. We must now demand and be a part of an even greater societal investment to eradicate the far more pernicious scourge of racism in our country, which has and will continue to cause the death and murder of millions.

As a firm, we are taking immediate action to re-evaluate and improve our own investment in and commitment to justice and equity by:

  1. Forming the Real Action Calling for Equality (RACE) Task Force, co-chaired by our Managing Partner, which will be charged with developing and implementing our action plan;
  2. Empowering our attorneys to use their individual voices and unique legal expertise to speak up and work aggressively to address racial inequality by forming new relationships and reforming existing relationships with public interest organizations for increased pro bono services related to racial justice and equity;
  3. Further increasing racial and ethnic diversity within our firm, especially within leadership ranks, by supporting the retention and promotion of attorneys and staff members of color, and addressing reasons for attrition among those groups;
  4. Identifying opportunities to support minority-owned businesses as vendors, suppliers, and prospective clients; and
  5. Pivoting our community investments to substantially increase financial support for organizations that work to advance equality, end police brutality, and right the historical wrongs visited on Black Americans.

We are also exploring opportunities for impact litigation and developing a fellowship program to give our attorneys the opportunity to devote a year of practice full-time to working on civil rights and social justice issues, such as reforming qualified immunity laws and strengthening police accountability programs.

These are first steps, and we commit to transparently accounting our progress in these efforts. This will not be a one-time statement from us, but is rather the first of many as we take the "real action" contemplated by our task force. As a California law firm, it is our responsibility to lead and support our allies in this cause, and we will not fail again.

Andrew Giacomini, Managing Partner
Kristina Lawson, Managing Partner-Elect

About Hanson Bridgett LLP

Hanson Bridgett LLP is a full service AmLaw 200 law firm with more than 200 attorneys across California. Creating a diverse workforce by fostering an atmosphere of belonging and intentional support has been a priority at Hanson Bridgett since its founding in 1958. We are dedicated to creating an environment that provides opportunities for people with varied backgrounds, both for attorneys and administrative professionals. We are also committed to the communities where our employees live and work and consider it part of our professional obligation to serve justice by encouraging and supporting pro bono and social impact work.

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