April 19, 2021
Advancing the firm’s ongoing mission to pursue and ensure equality within the legal profession, lawyers at Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP contributed 9,000 hours to diversity and inclusion activities and the firm achieved 100% participation in D&I projects from its full-time U.S. lawyers during the firm’s recently ended fiscal year.
In April 2020, Hunton Andrews Kurth’s leadership challenged all of its full-time lawyers throughout the United States to participate in activities that advance diversity and inclusion within the firm, the legal profession and the community. Modeled after the firm’s pro bono initiative, which has achieved 100% participation for more than 10 consecutive years, the diversity and inclusion challenge was overwhelmingly successful during the 2021 fiscal year, which ended March 31.
“The only way to achieve widespread commitment and collaboration is to make diversity and inclusion a prominent and indelible part of your culture,” managing partner Wally Martinez said. “The firm’s goal is to be intentional about our diversity and inclusion initiatives and to keep diversity and inclusion top of mind in all that we do.”
Expanding on Hunton Andrews Kurth’s commitment to diversity and inclusion awareness, the firm’s D&I committee combined its 100% participation challenge with its D&I billable-hour credit for all U.S. lawyers. This credit provides up to 25 billable hours for eligible associates. Incentivizing such efforts reinforces the firm’s position as a leader in promoting diversity and inclusion in the legal profession. The firm also named new Office Diversity & Inclusion Initiative Leaders, each of whom are partner volunteers from Hunton Andrews Kurth’s 15 U.S. offices. They are charged with raising awareness and ensuring D&I resources and programs are accessible to employees throughout the firm.
To encourage D&I participation, the D&I committee promoted a wide range of activities, starting with its Racial Equality and Social Justice Resource Center (RESJRC). The RESJRC is a thoughtfully curated collection of reading and audio-visual materials that foster greater awareness, education and understanding. It includes pro bono work and mental health resources related to the exploration and eradication of racial inequality and social injustice.
Additional D&I engagement opportunities included: The RESJRC Town Hall Series on Race Relations, where staff and attorneys shared personal experiences on racism; Overnight Code, an entertaining conversation about the inspiring story of Hidden Figure Raye Montague, who revolutionized Naval engineering; A Conversation between Trailblazers, a lively conversation between Judge John Charles Thomas and LCLD president Robert Grey, two African American trailblazers in the legal field; and Our Pain, a compelling monologue by Wendell Taylor, managing partner of the firm’s Washington, D.C. office, sharing his personal encounters with racism.
Firm attorneys also participated in a Moment of Women, a gathering of the firm’s women, proudly wearing purple, on International Women’s Day; National Asian Pacific American Bar Association’s Stand Against Hate, matching volunteers with opportunities from bystander intervention training to create chaperone walks with Asian Americans in their communities; and the Law Firm Antiracism Alliance, a coalition of law firms from across the U.S., pairing attorneys with their legal expertise to amplify the voices of communities and individuals oppressed by racism.
Hunton Andrews Kurth’s commitment to diversity and inclusion is a long-term investment that has included electing partners from diverse backgrounds to lead the firm at the highest levels, including its managing partner, executive committee and D&I committee. Female or minority partners manage six of the firm’s U.S. offices, and diverse partners serve as head or co-head of key teams and practice groups.
The firm actively works with organizations that foster diversity and inclusion within the legal profession, supporting their work through service and sponsorship, such as the Leadership Council on Legal Diversity, the Minority Corporate Counsel Association, the Hispanic National Bar Association, the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association and National Association of Women Lawyers. The firm and individual lawyers have been recognized for their commitment to diversity and inclusion by organizations such as Diversity Lab’s Mansfield Rule™, the Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s Corporate Equality Index, National Diversity Counsel, Chambers and Partners USA, American Bar Association, American Lawyer, the Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles and Washington Business Journals, National Black Lawyers, Her Justice, Lawyers of Color and Profiles in Diversity.