A Message of Unity from McCarter’s Leadership Team
The Power of One
As trusted advisors and advocates for our clients, colleagues and communities for nearly two centuries, personal responsibility is one of the pillars of McCarter’s distinctive culture. Within our firm, we have come to refer to it as the “Power of One.” Over the last few months, we have witnessed the “Power of One” in action – how each of us bears a responsibility toward our neighbors and our communities, and how we each have the ability to be a force for healing and change.
The recent horrific manifestations of racism and violence, and the extraordinary outpouring of pain we have witnessed across the country over the last few days, have only reinforced those values, reminding each of us of our obligation to be a voice against injustice. As counselors and advocates, our training instills in us a certain degree of empathy. We learn to place ourselves in the position of our client in order to chart a path forward that advances their interests. It is that trained empathy that places so many lawyers in positions of public service — we may not be able to carry our neighbor’s burden, but we at least challenge ourselves to try to imagine the weight of that burden. We must do that again today.
In the face of yet another unspeakable injustice and the unfortunate aftermath that is now unfolding, and as we grieve the senseless loss of life, each of us – regardless of our backgrounds – must stop and consider what it must feel like to be judged not because of your actions, but because of the color of your skin. We must stop and consider what it must feel like to know that, in addition to the challenges everyone must overcome in pursuing their goals, you will have to struggle against deeply ingrained prejudices simply because of how you look. And we must think about the profound impact those countless silent indignities would have on each of us if we had to endure them day after day. It’s difficult to think about, but we have no choice. The transformation of a society begins with, and requires, the transformation of one heart, and the others it leads by example.
As part of our obligation to pursue transformation and healing, and in the spirit of leading by example, McCarter has redoubled its efforts to address the unmet legal needs in our communities. Our pro bono program is continuing to grow, as we work with our community partners and public interest groups to champion causes of social justice, from equal access to safe and affordable housing, to resisting the criminalization of poverty. But there is much more work to be done, and we are resolved to continue and enhance those efforts in earnest. In the coming weeks, McCarter will assemble a task force, dedicated to pursuing the legislative and policy reforms that must be implemented in order to defeat the bias that has plagued our institutions and communities for far too long. Our Diversity & Inclusion Committee is also developing additional programming to further educate our lawyers and staff on the history of racial inequality in our country, and the profound damage it has done to our society over the course of history. As a Firm, we recognize that education, awareness and open dialogue are the first steps toward healing, and the most powerful motivators of meaningful change. We invite our friends and clients to join us in this important work, and consider supporting some of the organizations that are at the forefront of these efforts, including the NAACP Legal Defense & Education Fund, the Southern Poverty Law Center, the Equal Justice Initiative, Color of Change, Volunteer Lawyers for Justice, and the ACLU.
We keep the families and loved ones of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and all those suffering from the violence erupting throughout our country, in our thoughts and prayers. In the midst of the health and cultural crises in which we now find ourselves, the McCarter family chooses to look forward, confident in our ability to transform our society one heart and one community at a time. We have no choice but hope.
Joe Lubertazzi and Joe Boccassini