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Greenberg Traurig Expands Social, Racial, and Economic Justice Action Plan

The global law firm has committed $5 million over five years to help combat systemic racism, support impoverished communities

NEW YORK – July 28, 2020 – Global law firm Greenberg Traurig, LLP has launched several new initiatives within its Social, Racial, and Economic Justice Action Plan. These efforts include additional activities that serve communities and provide training for the firm’s attorneys and business staff.

“Greenberg Traurig is proud to commit $5 million over the next five years to support programs that address the causes and effects of systemic racism in our society and seek to provide impoverished communities and individuals with essential economic, social, and cultural rights,” said Brian L. Duffy, CEO of Greenberg Traurig. “Through a range of targeted activities and new initiatives, our Social, Racial, and Economic Justice Action Plan is now further enhanced with the goal of achieving even greater impact.”

One foundational component of the firm’s plan is its dedicated funding for additional Greenberg Traurig Equal Justice Works fellows focused on addressing racial, social, and economic justice issues. Already the largest sponsor of Equal Justice Works since 1999, the firm will initiate a new effort in December by providing fellowship funding to select law school students who will deliver critically needed legal services at nonprofit host organizations focused on these issues. The fellows will begin to implement their plans in September 2021.

The firm also launched Greenberg Traurig’s Social Justice Action Academy, which aims to:

  • educate and train Greenberg Traurig 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.

“We look forward to taking an active role in addressing many of the leading issues in social justice through the programs of Greenberg Traurig’s Social Justice Action Academy,” said Ernest Lamont Greer, co-president of Greenberg Traurig. “Under the direction of Chief Diversity Officer and Shareholder Nikki Lewis Simon, the academy promises to be a highly relevant resource for education and meaningful discussions aimed at bridging the gaps in understanding the causes and effects of racism and creating a platform for change.”

A key offering of Greenberg Traurig’s social justice academy is The Equality Toolkit, which is designed to equip members of the Greenberg Traurig community with the education, resources, and information needed to be leaders within the firm, with clients and business partners, and within their local communities on topics of race, inclusion, and equity.

The academy’s “Courageous Conversations” program includes a series of internal and external programs where attendees will have opportunities to hear about personal experiences with social injustice and racism and new initiatives to right these wrongs – all with the goal of elevating Greenberg Traurig’s collective empathy and creating positive change.

On July 28, the first public Courageous Conversation, “Running a Business in a Socially ‘Woke’ World,” will feature Marc Morial, president and CEO of the National Urban League, in conversation with Greenberg Traurig Co-President Ernest Lamont Greer and Shareholder Johnine P. Barnes.

Greenberg Traurig has also updated its guidelines for the firm’s U.S. associates intended to reward and incentivize participation in diversity and inclusion activities, as well as in community and civic activities. Effective July 1, 2020, associates will receive up to 50 hours of billable equivalent credit for work on diversity and inclusion initiatives and 25 hours for activities that serve to advance community and civic interests. The firm’s associates can also receive up to 100 hours of billable equivalent credit for pro bono legal work; this includes 25 hours that are mandatory for associates.

Greenberg Traurig’s Social, Racial, and Economic Justice Action Plan Includes:

Community Leadership

  • Commit $5 million over five years to support public interest fellows addressing the causes and effects of systemic racism in our society, and working to provide economic, social, and cultural rights to impoverished communities and individuals.
  • Join in creating the Law Firm Anti-Racism Alliance, among more than 125 firms participating.
  • Observe the Juneteenth holiday in the United States as a firm.
  • Sponsor GTDRIVES for Social Justice “Day of Giving,” which raised nearly $110,000 in June for more than 31 charitable organizations focused on racial, social, and economic justice reform, and coordinate related staff and lawyer volunteer opportunities.
  • Observe #BlackoutTuesday on the firm’s social media platforms.
  • Observe eight minutes and 46 seconds of silence on June 9 in honor of George Floyd’s funeral in support of social justice and equality.

Commitment to our Talent

  • Incentivize and reward associates by considering billable hours for diversity and inclusion related work, as well as community and civic activities.
  • Launch an initiative comprising attorneys from across the firm to augment Greenberg Traurig’s current justice oriented pro bono work by identifying new pro bono opportunities in the areas of racial, social, and economic justice.

Thought Leadership and Training

  • Host the Running a Business in a Socially “Woke” World Courageous Conversation with Marc Morial, president and CEO of the National Urban League, July 28.
  • Host ongoing GTDRIVES Social Justice: Courageous Conversations; Empowered Convictions; Committed Collaboration webinars for attorneys and professional staff.
  • Launch GT Social Justice Action Academy, which includes the Equality Toolkit, Courageous Conversations, and Curated Trainings and Webinars.
  • Host multiple internal Courageous Conversations across the firm. 

About Greenberg Traurig, LLP: Greenberg Traurig, LLP (GT) has approximately 2200 attorneys in 41 locations in the United States, Latin America, Europe, Asia, and the Middle East. GT has been recognized for its philanthropic giving, diversity, and innovation, and is consistently among the largest firms in the U.S. on the Law360 400 and among the Top 20 on the Am Law Global 100. Web: Twitter: @GT_Law.