Baker McKenzie announced today that it formed an Anti-Racism Taskforce in the North America region, which will focus on promoting anti-racism and building greater inclusion and equity both within the Firm and in the legal industry. In addition, the Firm announced that it will provide associates billable hour credit for time devoted to diversity and inclusion initiatives.
The formation of the Taskforce and the allowance of billable hour credit for work on diversity and inclusion represent important steps for the Firm in promoting anti-racism. Just as addressing systemic racism in our country is essential to our democracy, analyzing, understanding and promoting anti-racism within the Firm and the legal profession is essential to the wellbeing of our Black colleagues, as well as all of our colleagues, and the future of our business.
The Firm’s Anti-Racism Taskforce will examine the Firm’s hiring processes, work allocation systems, partner promotions and other long-standing practices with a critical eye toward rooting out bias and increasing equity and inclusion. The Taskforce will work closely with the Firm’s leadership to bring about concrete change. The Firm’s recognizing and providing credit for attorney time spent on diversity and inclusion activities includes up to 125 hours annually in the US and Canada and 50 hours annually in Mexico.
The Firm was one of the first to make unequivocal statements about the impact of the brutal murder of George Floyd and the devaluation of the Black community and the lives of Black people lost to police brutality. Our statements can be found here and here.
North America Chief Executive Officer, Colin Murray, said, “At Baker McKenzie, we stand united as a Firm in saying that Black lives matter. We are adopting meaningful, concrete changes within the Firm to dismantle institutional bias and to walk down the path to full inclusion and equity.”Director of Global Diversity & Inclusion, Anna Brown, said, “Baker McKenzie is not neutral. We are committed to taking an affirmative stand and putting action behind our words. These actions are steps forward in those efforts, and we look forward to making meaningful, long overdue change."