Robert Hays, chairman of King & Spalding, shared the following message internally:
Dear colleagues –
The outrageous death of George Floyd and other recent tragedies have left us heartbroken and feeling for all who have been impacted by racism in any form. We are frustrated and saddened by what it reveals about the amount of work that still needs to be done to overcome injustice and inequality in the U.S. and across the world.
As members of the legal profession, we have a heightened responsibility and opportunity to work towards ensuring equal justice for all. While the firm has long led and supported initiatives focused on social justice, following the recent tragedies, a number of individuals at the firm have redoubled our efforts with some of our long-standing partners to offer our support and engagement and work to find new and more effective ways we can contribute. One example of an organization where more investments are being made is the Atlanta Bar Association’s Equal Justice in Law Enforcement Initiative, which our partner Harold Franklin launched as the Bar president in 2016 and which brings together the legal community, law enforcement and community members to strengthen relations and educate citizens about their rights. Another is the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under the Law, a national organization that has engaged the private bar in pro bono work since its founding in 1963.
As we get more information about specific pro bono or community service activities beyond the things the firm and many of you are already doing, we will share them. In the meantime, every one of us can and should reach out to a colleague who has been affected by the recent events and let them know how much they mean to us and the firm.
Going forward, we want to enhance participation in all offices. Let’s each consider how we can contribute more to the change we need - with our time, skills, resources, and ideas. As we do that, we will continue to be guided by an unwavering commitment to respect and equality for all and our values of service to the broader community, including through pro bono, volunteering and philanthropy. There is no single action that will eliminate racism but meaningful progress will require our empathy and collective efforts to ensure the next chapter is different.