The stark images from the video of George Floyd’s death led to the most significant collective demonstration of civil unrest in generations. This event was a tipping point, the latest in a series of police and community violence against people of color, most especially Black and African Americans. This Center was created to acknowledge past inaction and take concrete steps toward addressing systemic inequalities.
We cannot ignore that America’s foundation is rooted in slavery, an institution that persisted for more than 200 years. That legacy did not end in 1865 with abolition. We note our country’s troubled past and present with lynchings, Jim Crow laws, mass incarceration, voter suppression, economic redlining, zoning laws, and lending and hiring practices that created concentrations of poverty, unequal education, inadequate health care, and disproportionate rates of unemployment in the Black community. Justice in this country has not been blind or equal. While we acknowledge some progress, we recognize that the legacy of slavery persists to this day in both overt acts of discrimination and in more subtle and pernicious attitudes, behaviors, and laws.
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ArentFox Schiff’s commitment to public interest dates back to the Firm's founding partners. The Center is a continuation of this pledge and embraces a thematic approach to the Firm’s substantial pro bono commitment, devoting over 11,600 hours by 243 lawyers, paralegals, and legal professionals from inception in June 2020 through July 2023 that specifically further the goals of racial justice and equity. Among our accomplishments, we highlight our Partnership with Thurgood Marshall Civil Rights Center and Affiliations with NAACP LDF, LCCRUL, and more.
Learn more about our work
We supported the Thurgood Marshall Civil Rights Center at Howard University in drafting legislation to introduce in Congress.
Texas Voting Rights
We represent NAACP LDF in a challenge to voting laws passed by the Texas legislature after the 2020 election.
Center for American Progress
We were engaged to provide advice on the laws of various states relating to the process for the certification of elections, remedies for failing to do so properly, and other matters relating to free and fair elections.
Washington Lawyers’ Committee
ArentFox Schiff assisted the Washington Lawyers’ Committee with racial disparities research in connection with traffic stops.
“As a law firm, we have a central role to play in the process of reconciliation. As lawyers, we have a special responsibility to promote values of justice, fairness, and equality in the law and in practice. ArentFox Schiff has the resources, talent, and prominence to effect change and bring about meaningful reform.”
– Mark M. Katz, Of Counsel, Chairman 2010-2021
“ArentFox Schiff was founded in part because of lawyers who experienced a system of prejudice and exclusion, and we have worked to create a welcoming and nurturing environment for lawyers and staff from all backgrounds. With the legacy of the Firm’s founder Al Arent clearly in mind, we acknowledge the urgent need to take action and do more.”
– Cristina A. Carvalho, Partner, Firm Managing Partner 2016-2023