June 9, 2020

Our Commitment to Racial Justice and Equality

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Our Milbank community is appalled and saddened by the murders of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, and George Floyd. We also acknowledge the disproportionate number of Black Americans who have died of COVID-19. We are struggling with these events. There are many within the Milbank community and the communities where we live and work who are pained by these tragedies, most especially our Black family members, friends, colleagues and neighbors. We see you, we are listening to you, and we support you.

These events are reflections and manifestations of systemic racial bias, which is not new but to which the world is now paying long overdue attention. This racial bias often results in microaggression, or encounters where Black people are viewed as threats, solely because of the color of their skin, like the encounter between Amy Cooper and Christian Cooper in Central Park.

It’s important that we talk to each other and listen to each other, but it’s not enough just to recognize racism and social injustice – we need to do something about it.  

We must foster change within our firm. No organization is immune from the challenges posed by racial bias. As a firm committed to social justice and racial equality, we must also consider where racial disparity exists in our own organization and not tolerate our shortcomings. We need to build a more diverse and inclusive firm by taking meaningful action to support and advance our Black lawyers and staff. Over the last week we have engaged in a number of constructive and eye-opening internal conversations on steps we can take to improve.

We must continue to contribute to racial justice organizations. We have a long tradition of supporting organizations representing those who have suffered discrimination and injustice. As announced a week ago, we are making a donation to the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights, and the Equal Justice Initiative, to further their collective efforts. It is imperative we continue to lend them our support so that they can continue to lead in the struggle for racial equality and justice.

We must use the law to make a difference. We continue to be actively engaged in cases seeking systemic change and redress. We can and will do more pro bono work. We are currently working on a number of civil rights matters and will be sharing more details in the coming days and weeks.

We encourage those within the Milbank community and our broader communities to get involved. We all must work together to build a more fair and just society.

Scott A. Edelman, Chairman and Partner, and Jerome McCluskey, Chair of Diversity & Inclusion Committee and Partner