Racial and Social Justice Initiatives
As a firm, Vinson & Elkins stands in support of our attorneys and staff of color, and our diverse communities that have been, and continue to be, deeply impacted by racial injustice, police brutality, and hate crimes. The tragic deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and others, and the horrific rise in violence against members of the Asian community over the course of the pandemic continue to shine a harsh light on the systemic racial injustices that must be addressed if we hope to build a society that provides equal justice and equal opportunities for all. We recognize that communities of color, including our colleagues and clients, are deeply impacted by these ongoing events.
We are steadfast in our conviction that there is no room in our organization or society for racism, discrimination, or injustice toward people of color. It is clear that as a law firm and as individuals, we must do more, and we will use our platform to continue the conversation and assist our communities in the path forward.
ACTION WE ARE TAKING
Social Action & Pro Bono
- As a firm, we publicly joined the call for elimination of social injustice and racial inequality against Black people, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI), and all people of color, including as a signatory of the National Asian and Pacific American Bar Association’s (NAPABA) Stand Against Hate statement.
- We are supporting racial and social justice initiatives through V&E’s pro bono program, including as a charter member of the newly formed Law Firm Antiracism Alliance (LFAA) to leverage resources to support racial equity in the law. We encourage all of our lawyers and staff to remain actively involved in pro bono matters and community activities supporting justice initiatives.
- V&E donated $100,000 to support the work of organizations addressing racial injustice, structural inequity, and economic disparity in the U.S. – The Bail Project, Equal Justice Initiative, and the National Bar Association.
- V&E leadership designated Juneteenth, the nationally celebrated commemoration of the ending of slavery in the U.S., as a firm-wide “Day of Service & Healing” holiday on June 19, 2020. Many in our V&E family took part in learning opportunities, marches, and other community and volunteer events.
- In 2021, V&E joined other AmLaw 100 firms and corporate and non-profit leaders as a signatory to the “We Stand for Democracy” statement in support of equal access to voting and denouncing voter disenfranchisement; and we further support voting rights through our pro bono work.
Education & Learning
- We have engaged skilled Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion practitioners for formal unconscious bias training programs for lawyers and staff across the firm; and we are continuing with additional programs such as powerful allyship.
- V&E is collaborating with Harvard Law School Professor David Wilkins on concrete action steps and to present a number of programs.
- V&E leadership has been facilitating honest conversations across the firm in a variety of formats with lawyers and staff.
- We have sponsored external programs that seek to enhance understanding of racial issues, such as “Difficult Conversations: Talking About Race @ Work,” and UH Law/SMU Law “Black Lawyers Matter” Symposium.
- We are regularly updating internal resources with educational materials, reading and viewing lists, and mental wellness resources. We encourage all at the firm to learn more about being an active ally and antiracist, including how we can better support our colleagues.
Commitment to the Future
- With the full support of firm leaders, V&E is participating in the 2020-2021 Mansfield Rule 4.0 Certification with the goal of increasing diversity in leadership.
- We are continuing to support our long-standing diversity pipeline initiatives for students – from middle school to law school – to help diversify our firm and the legal profession.
- The firm joined the Greater Houston Partnership’s Racial Equity Principles, the business community’s pledge to reforming systems of bias, strengthening underserved communities, advocating inclusion, and removing barriers to racial equity.
As a firm, we are committed to diversity and inclusion, and to continuing our work toward meaningful change in our society.
View the V&E Diversity & Inclusion Executive Committee here.
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