Helsell Fetterman LLP Commits to be an Anti-Racist Law Firm
Today, Helsell Fetterman LLP publicly affirms its identity as an anti-racist law firm. Our law firm commits to do the hard and necessary work to eradicate racism, confront bias, and achieve justice.
In making this commitment, Helsell Fetterman announces that it stands against racism, and we pledge to address racism within and beyond the walls of our law firm and to address harmful effects inflicted by racist speech and behavior and the systemic structures that stand as obstacles to racial equity.
As an anti-racist firm, Helsell Fetterman recognizes and accepts that: being anti-racist is more than not being racist; being anti-racist is more than prohibiting race discrimination in our work place; and being anti-racist is more than taking a position against racism and social injustice. Being anti-racist is about affirmatively engaging in an active and conscious process of identifying and dismantling racism by changing systems, organizational structures, policies and practices, and attitudes.
As anti-racist, our law firm pledges to purposefully identify, discuss, and challenge issues of race and color and the impacts they have on our law firm, our people, and systems. We will also challenge ourselves to understand and correct any inequities we may discover and gain a better understanding of ourselves with purposeful process.
Specifically, Helsell Fetterman commits:
- to explicitly and publicly affirm its identity as an anti-racist firm;
- to reflect an anti-racist commitment in the operations and culture of our law firm through policies, practices, and interactions;
- to develop and work to implement strategies, policies, and practices that dismantle racism within all aspects of our law firm, the bar, and our society;
- to be intentional and meaningful in choosing how our law firm expends its resources; and
- to continue to learn about the negative impacts of racism and how to dismantle and eradicate it, and develop our operations and culture as we gain a deeper understanding of our role and identity as an anti-racist law firm.
We understand that actions, rather than words, will be necessary for Helsell Fetterman to meet its commitment, and the firm empowers all of its personnel to pursue and act on its commitment.
Speaking to Helsell Fetterman’s commitment to be an anti-racist law firm, Managing Partner Scott Collins said, “Our success in bringing diversity to our law firm creates a greater responsibility to promote equity and inclusion both inside and outside our firm. Events over 2020 brought to light the particularly pernicious and destructive effects that racism has on our BIPOC colleagues and community. After deep reflection across our firm, making a commitment to anti-racism with definitive actions, and not just words, is an important next step in promoting our DEI.”
Steps to Fulfill the Commitment
In furtherance of its commitment, Helsell Fetterman has taken or will take the following steps:
- Commitment Statement: Helsell Fetterman has adopted and announced a written Anti-Racism Commitment statement.
- Anti-Racism Policy: Helsell Fetterman has adopted and internally announced an Anti-Racism Policy prohibiting conduct by partners and employees that exhibits racism. Helsell will also apply the Anti-Racism Policy to the law firm’s clients and other third parties when their interactions with Helsell personnel and other conduct exhibit racism.
- Client Engagement: Upon engagement by a new client, Helsell Fetterman will inform the client of its Anti-Racism Policy and expectations for client conduct with respect to race during Helsell Fetterman’s services. The firm is currently drafting language to include in its client engagement agreements.
- Attorney DEI Compensation: Recognizing the importance of work performed by our attorneys in promoting Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) within the firm, the bar, and the greater community, Helsell Fetterman will compensate our attorneys for DEI leadership work.
- Juneteenth: To honor and celebrate the events of June 19, 1865 and the significance of those events, Helsell Fetterman has declared Juneteenth as an annual, paid holiday for employees.
- Training: Helsell Fetterman will provide ongoing training that educates and prepares employees, supervisors and partners to identify, avoid, and respond to racist conduct. Our firm’s diversity committee is currently creating a training program.
- Vendor Diversity Program: When renewing or entering vendor engagements, Helsell Fetterman will consider BIPOC-owned vendors and strive to prioritize support of BIPOC-owned businesses. Additionally, the firm encourages its attorneys, when recommending vendors for client matters, to consider qualified BIPOC businesses. Our diversity committee is creating a list of BIPOC-owned businesses for reference in vendor selection.
- Firm Philanthropy: In its philanthropy and charitable giving, Helsell Fetterman will prioritize organizations whose missions are aligned toward improving opportunity for underserved BIPOC persons or communities and/or anti-racism in our community.
- Other Outreach: Helsell Fetterman will engage in other outreach that benefits BIPOC persons or communities and/or anti-racism efforts, and organizations whose missions are aligned toward serving such persons, communities or anti-racism. For example, each month, Helsell Fetterman Spotlights a BIPOC-owned business by purchasing its goods or services for Helsell Fetterman’s workforce in an effort to promote, support, and showcase the business.
Helsell Fetterman recognizes there is much work to be done and is committed to listening to and working with its colleagues and communities of color in seeking a more just and inclusive society.
A “Next Step”
Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion have long been valued at Helsell Fetterman. While the firm is not finished, it is proud of the progress it has made in bringing diversity into its workforce.
With Helsell Fetterman’s diversity comes a heightened responsibility of promoting equity and inclusion of its diverse workforce. Committing to be anti-racist is an important next step for Helsell Fetterman in advancing DEI within the firm. Our commitment provides important support to our BIPOC attorneys and staff who have faced, and continue to face, the deleterious effects of racism in our society.
In making its commitment to be an anti-racist law firm, Helsell Fetterman hopes that other law firms and others will join in committing to be anti-racist and to eradicating and dismantling racism in our community. For only when we all work together can we ultimately dismantle racism and achieve racial and social justice.
BIPOC = Black, Indigenous and People of Color