This event took place on January 7, 2021.
Pro Bono work naturally aligns at the intersection with diversity and inclusion. In many cases, the same groups that are underrepresented in employment also are more likely to lack legal representation. Without that representation, fairness, and equality - fundamental goals of diversity and inclusion programs - are impossible to achieve. Pro bono service is the mechanism that can help balance the scales of justice.
Pro bono attorneys can work toward promoting diversity and inclusion in several areas, including criminal justice, immigration law and civil rights. The following are some examples of how Womble Bond Dickinson (US), LLP attorneys have engaged in pro bono work to promote diversity and inclusion:
- Claire Rauscher worked for 10+ years to obtain a release for Keith Wright, who was sentenced to life in prison for a minor non-violent drug charge. It's well-documented that Black defendants receive harsher sentences for the same charges, and this case absolutely was an example of an unjust sentence.
- Heath Misley, former firm attorney, traveled to Texas to help refugees at the US-Mexico border. These people asked the US for asylum, as they are fleeing crime-related violence in Central America. They are being detained by the federal government and need legal guidance navigating the system.
- Kevin Hall led the fight to overturn South Carolina's "No Promo Homo" law, which forbade K-12 schools from discussing same-sex relations and effectively stigmatized LGBTQ students.
In this webinar, Hall, Misley and Rauscher discussed their particular projects and offered practical tips for other attorneys looking to advance diversity and inclusion goals through pro bono work.