McCarter & English, LLP has announced the creation of the McCarter & English Social Justice Project to build upon its work to dismantle structural racism and combat the impact of racial inequality in its communities. The Social Justice Project will dramatically expand the firm’s existing diversity and inclusion work, as well as its community-based pro bono and service work under the leadership of co-chairs Michelle Pallak, Moy Ogilvie, and Simone Wilson-Brito.
The Social Justice Project will coordinate initiatives across the firm’s nine locations, focusing primarily on:
- Expanding the firm’s pro bono practice and community service in the areas of economic justice and criminal justice reform. The Social Justice Project will engage the firm’s lawyers and staff in:
- Addressing racial disparities in the criminal justice system, including by working to mitigate the racially disproportionate impact of a criminal record, through close collaboration with community reintegration programs;
- Collaborating on work that strengthens communities of color, including by expanding the firm’s eviction defense practice, its community economic development efforts, and by addressing pervasive educational disparities.
- Continuing to educate the firm’s lawyers and staff to deepen the understanding of pervasive racial inequities in the country, and the consequences of those inequities.
The firm also is establishing a full-time, six-month rotating fellowship dedicated to the Social Justice Project. The McCarter Social Justice Project Fellow will be immersed exclusively in social justice work and will work closely with the firm’s interdisciplinary teams of lawyers and professional staff to pursue the initiatives encompassed by the Social Justice Project. The position is similar to the firm’s successful Pro Bono Fellowship, instituted in 2018, where a full-time attorney is dedicated to working on the urgent legal needs of low-income Newark residents. The firm’s first Pro Bono Fellow, Abdul Rehman Khan, focuses exclusively on housing issues, representing tenants facing eviction, engaging in systemic advocacy, and partnering with community-based organizations to conduct know-your-rights and other community education endeavors.
In addition to the rotating McCarter Social Justice Project Fellowship, the firm is creating internships in several of its offices for third-year law students who will likewise dedicate their time to pro bono and community service work in the areas of economic justice and criminal justice reform. The firm plans to fill the fellowship and intern positions by the end of the summer.
“The firm has an unwavering commitment to addressing the unmet legal needs in our communities and championing causes of social justice that goes back generations. But the recent horrific manifestations of racism and violence, and the deep pain and grief across our country, have compelled us to closely examine our efforts and renew our commitment to listen, learn, and advocate for social justice,” said Joe Boccassini, the firm’s managing partner. “We have pledged, as a firm, to work to better understand the depth and consequences of racial inequality and to play an active role in eradicating it. For our lawyers and staff across the firm, this is a matter of conscience, and an obligation that is at the heart of our professional responsibilities. We understand that this is a marathon, not a sprint, and we believe it is time for us to pick up the pace.”
About McCarter & English, LLP
McCarter & English is a firm of more than 375 lawyers who deliver solid results and innovative solutions to clients nationwide. In 2019, the firm was recognized by the American Lawyer for Regional Litigation Department of the year in New Jersey, and Law360 as a New Jersey Regional Powerhouse and received the prestigious ABA Pro Bono Publico award. More than 40 percent of Fortune 100 companies, as well as mid-market and emerging growth companies, rely on McCarter for cutting-edge transactional work and complex litigation matters. Clients benefit from McCarter’s relationship-driven approach, a deep understanding of their businesses and legal needs, a lean and efficient service model, and a determination to help them move their businesses forward. For more information, visit www.mccarter.com.
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