Reed Smith Launches Global Racial Equality Task Force

Reed Smith has become the latest major law firm to launch a global racial equality task force, the firm announced in a statement.

Comprising a 36-member committee, the new racial equality task force comes in response to “recent global events that have brought to the fore generations of systemic racial injustice against Black people and other ethnic minorities,” the firm said.

As part of the move, the firm intends to set improvement measures in the hiring, retention and promotion of Black and other ethnic minority lawyers and staff working at the firm.

Global managing partner Sandy Thomas will chair the task force, which also comprises the firm’s seven-member senior management team, as well as other lawyers and professional staff, according to the statement.

The task force will carry out the firm’s newly-instated racial equality action plan (REAP) which aims to “re-imagine organisational business practices and habits to promote racial equity.”

The REAP is designed also to help the firm improve fairness and well-being for Black people and other ethnic minorities working at the firm, and to solicit ideas on how to uphold racial equity; pursue pro bono engagements “with the specific goal of advancing a more equitable society”, and to carry out work in criminal justice reform and voting rights.

Thomas said in a statement: “Striving toward racial equity is critically important as we move our communities forward. As stewards of the law, it is our responsibility to ensure that the credo of ‘equal justice for all’ is pursued and applied every day, to help provide a voice to all people.

“Our commitment is inspired by people from across the firm and is led from the top. We are proud to declare who we are and what we stand for – and on an issue of such importance, we do so unequivocally. While we appreciate that there are limits to the contribution one law firm can make, we are determined to realize change wherever possible.”

The move follows that of Baker McKenzie, which established a global race and ethnicity task force in July. Allen & Overy also implemented new ethnicity targets and a race ‘stay gap’ that same month.