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A MESSAGE OF SOLIDARITY – Greenberg Traurig’s Social, Racial & Economic Justice Action Plan

In the face of injustice, Greenberg Traurig’s Social, Racial & Economic Justice Action Plan commits to upholding the rule of law and equality for all. More deeply than ever before, we join the voices against racism, including antisemitism. We are listening. We see you. We are with you. As lawyers we have a responsibility to drive change, fight injustice, and advocate for justice. Never has it been more critical than now for us to recognize that role and opportunity and to act on it. We do a great deal. But it’s not enough. The many acts of violence and breeches of trust that fill our headlines today are stark reminders that we need to do more and stand up and ensure justice and respect for all. This is our time to listen. To have those uncomfortable conversations. To have the courage to act and to do our part. It is way past time.

More than ever, all of us need to come together.


Diversity, equity, inclusion, and respect for the individual are part of GT’s core values. We have redoubled our commitment to live and act on those values through the pillars of our Social, Racial, and Economic Justice Action Plan. These pillars focus on serving as community leaders, supporting, and training our talent, and supporting programs that address systemic racism in our society and seek to provide impoverished communities and individuals with essential economic, social, and cultural rights.

GT is proud to commit $5 Million over the next five years to support programs that address the causes and effects of systematic racism in our society, and seek to provide impoverished communities and individuals economic, social, and cultural rights.  One of the marquee components of this commitment will be supporting GT’s Equal Justice Works fellows dedicated to addressing racial, social, and economic justice issues.

GT has updated guidelines for the firm’s U.S. associates intended to reward and incentivize participation in Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion as well as Community and Civic activities effective July 1, 2020. Associates will receive up to 50 hours of billable equivalent credit for work on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion initiatives and 25 hours for activities that serve to advance Community and Civic interests. The firm’s associates also receive 100 hours of billable equivalent credit for pro bono legal work, 25 of which are mandatory for associates.

Greenberg Traurig has rolled out the Social Justice Action Academy with aims to: 

  • Educate and train GT employees on matters of race, justice, and equity;
  • Facilitate and encourage Courageous Conversations on the topics of race and social justice; and
  • Drive forward meaningful change consistent with the action plan.

The Equality Toolkit, a key Academy offering, is designed to address the need for education, resources, and information to equip members of the GT community to be leaders within the firm, with our clients and business partners, and the communities in which we work and live on topics of race, inclusion, and equity and combatting hate, including antisemitism.

The Academy’s “Courageous Conversations” includes a series of internal and external programs where we will have the chance to hear about personal experiences, as well as what others are learning – all with the goal of elevating our collective empathy and creating positive change.

Past guests and topics include: 

Nov 20, 2022

Neurodiversity & the Law, addressed the tools that listeners can use to work alongside neurodiverse people, and the important legal components involved, including ADA accommodations. Neurodiversity, is a concept about differences in the brain, that cause people to interact with the world around them in a variety of ways including in the ways people socialize, learn, and perform various mental tasks. Speakers were Gary Lesser, President, Florida Bar; Michael Alessandri, Ph.D., Executive Director of the University of Miami-Nova Southeastern University Center for Autism and Related Disabilities; Gary A. Costales, Costales Law, Labor and Employment Attorney; Raquel Regalado, Commissioner, Miami-Dade County District 7, and William E. Pelham, Jr., Ph.D., Director of the Center for Children and Families at Florida International University. From GT, GT Real Estate and Land Use Shareholder Iris Escarra and GT Director of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Debra Sydnor.

 Aug 4, 2022

How Equal Justice Works Fellows Transform the Legal System for Marginalized Communities – Part one. Attendees were invited to hear from former and current EJW Fellows about how they have turned their passion for community change and empowerment into successful careers advocating for the marginalized and underserved. Program one focused on the laws meant to educate and protect students with disabilities; how and why some states and localities at times fail to comply with these laws; and how non-profit lawyers advocate for this vulnerable population. Speakers were Matthew Lenaghan Deputy Director, Advocates for Children of New York; former EJW Fellow; Ericka Sanchez Executive Director, Foundation for Those with Special Needs, former EJW Fellow; and Claire Nilsen Blumenson Executive Director & Co-Founder, School Justice Project, former EJW Fellow. From GT, Pro Bono Chair Caroline J. Heller provided introductions and Global Pro Bono Program Manager Elba B. Gutiérrez, and Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Manager Rita M. Treadwell co-moderated.

May 25, 2022 “China Initiative”: Will anything change? As we celebrated Asian American & Pacific Islander Heritage Month, attendees joined a Courageous Conversation addressing the impact of legal issues and criminal justice disparities faced by these communities, as well as the positive impact of community advocacy. They learned how to be allies and, if qualified, how to use their legal backgrounds to support Asian communities on difficult issues such as racial profiling, violence, and discrimination. Speakers were Gisela Perez Kusakawa, Assistant Director of the Anti-Racial Profiling Project at Asian Americans Advancing Justice, and Dr. Anming Hu, Associate Professor at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. From GT we had Andrew Chongseh Kim, Litigation Associate and Daniel Taylor, Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Manager.    
Sept. 30, 2021 W. E. B. Du Bois: Agent of Change – His Relevance Today, the first in a series of roundtable discussions about Dr. Du Bois and his impact. Featured speakers include Arthur McFarlane II, the great grandson of Dr. Du Bois; Whitney Battle-Baptiste, Director of the W. E. B. Du Bois Center and Professor for the Department of Anthropology at the University of Massachusetts Amherst; and Adam Holmes, Assistant Director of the W. E. B. Du Bois Center. From GT David Dykeman, Co-Managing Shareholder Boston Office & Patent Attorney; Nikki Lewis Simon, Shareholder and Chief Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Officer; Mistie Weishaar, Marketing Manager; and Alex Longoria, Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Coordinator.    

June 2, 2021

A “Look Back”: A Year Since George Floyd with keynote speaker Juliette Pryor, Executive Vice President, Corporate Secretary and General Counsel, Albertsons Companies, talked about her experiences individually and as a leader in the past year since George Floyd’s death in the midst of a pandemic, where we “go” from here to achieve equity, and discuss what challenges might lay ahead. 


May 27, 2021

The Rise of Anti-Asian Sentiment and How to Impact Change, an Asian American & Pacific Islander Heritage Month Conversation with special guests Congresswoman Grace Meng (D-NY 6th District); and A.B. Cruz, III, President of the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA); and GT attorneys Chinh H. Pham, Shareholder and Co-Chair, Asian American Affinity Group; and Sandy Chiu, Law Clerk/JD Intellectual Property & Technology, addressed the rise of Anti-Asian sentiment, how to impact change, and the importance of participation from Asian Americans in government.


March 3, 2021

How Inclusion Powers the Economy with Raphael Bostic, President & CEO, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta shared how organizations and their leaders can participate in the betterment of communities and businesses through the promotion of equality and opportunity. Attendees gained a deeper understanding of how inclusion impacts the economy and why it is good for business. 


Feb. 10, 2021

Allyship in Black and White moderated by Charlton Copeland, Professor of Law & Dean's Distinguished Scholar at the University of Miami School of Law, with GT attorneys, Laurie Gildan, Shareholder Real Estate; Glenn Meier, Of Counsel Litigation; and Michael Nicodema, Shareholder Litigation, shared personal experiences of allyship and discussed how individuals from majority groups can be allies for marginalized or underrepresented persons. 


Jan. 14, 2021

Taking Action on Criminal Justice Reform was a follow up to GT’s earlier program in which GT attorney, Karen Kennard, courageously shared the personal story of her family’s experience with the criminal justice system when her oldest brother, Tim Cole was wrongly convicted of a crime. Bobby Harris, President/CEO Unincarcerated Minds Inc.; and Caroline Heller, Shareholder and Global Pro Bono Program Chair Litigation, joined Karen for a roundtable discussion on criminal justice reform and actions anyone can take to create lasting impact, regardless of their background. 


Oct. 27, 2020

GT attorney Karen Kennard, Shareholder Governmental Law & Policy, discussed Criminal Justice reform and the profound impact it has had on her and her family. Her oldest brother, Tim Cole, was the first person in Texas to receive a posthumous exoneration and posthumous pardon. The Texas exoneration compensation system and the Texas Innocence Commission are named in his honor. 



GT’s ongoing “Courageous Conversations” series invites firm members and guest speakers to share their diverse experiences and to inform our colleagues and clients on critical issues impacting our communities.


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