How has your employer reacted to the civil unrest? Would an employer's response affect your choice to accept a job?

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How has your employer reacted to the civil unrest? Would an employer's response affect your choice to accept a job?

Post by Anonymous User » Mon Jun 08, 2020 11:22 am

Curious to see how various firms and other employers have responded to the recent civil unrest sparked by George Floyd's death. Have they sent emails stating that management supports or is against the protesters? Have they offered mental health resources? Have they circulated educational materials regarding racial injustice? Have they fired employees who participated in protests? What if the employee was arrested in the protest?

Also, when choosing a job in the future, would an employer's response to these types of events be a factor in whether or not you chose to accept a job offer there? If yes, would it be a dealbreaker, or just a small factor among many other factors?

I'll start. I work at a V30 firm in NY. Our firm has sent many, many emails expressing sympathy for people of color in these troubled times. It's very clear that the firm stands on the side of the protesters. The firm is actively seeking pro bono opportunities that fight against racial injustice and inequality and has donated at least $100,000 to various public interest organizations in response to the protests. I'm surprised the firm is willing to take such a strong stance. Personally, if I was choosing a job, an employer's response to these types of things would not be a factor in my decision UNLESS the employer was literally representing Trump or his close affiliates (that is where I would draw the line). Neutrality/silence would be acceptable for me. I am a POC and appreciate all the statements of support, donations, etc. but to be completely honest, other factors (pay, strength of practice groups, exit opportunities, hours) matter much more for me personally than the employer's stance on politics. Also I'm cynical and I see it all as a ploy for positive publicity since, despite all my firm's statements about support for POC, I only know of one black partner and a handful of other POC partners among hundreds of white male partners. I would exchange more POC and women as partners for all the firm's donations, statements of support, pro bono efforts, etc. in a heartbeat.

Thoughts?

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Re: How has your employer reacted to the civil unrest? Would an employer's response affect your choice to accept a job?

Post by Anonymous User » Mon Jun 08, 2020 12:10 pm

Thanks for posting about this. My firm is a amlaw 100 firm w/ Midwest base. They sent out an email with the classic PR approved rhetoric “We see you. We hear you.” They haven’t said they are donating. I would imagine they’d say so so if they were. Nothing mentioned regarding pro bono but seems like they’d approve if attorneys took the initiative in doing pro bono work with community orgs. They’ve sent emails with resources on implicit bias and race. Nothing profound. It is somewhat frustrating but expected.

The fact that the firm OP describes made a big donation is a positive IMO.

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Re: How has your employer reacted to the civil unrest? Would an employer's response affect your choice to accept a job?

Post by LBJ's Hair » Mon Jun 08, 2020 12:24 pm

I support the donations, emails. Dislike the office-wide/firm-wide "discussions."

Do we really need to listen to Jeremy, the white second-year in capital markets, tell us how much he hates police brutality? Like me too, I agree with the sentiment, but who is this for and who does this help.

EDIT: To clarify, people can and should organize their own discussions, Zooms. That's great. What I don't like are these quasi-mandatory events where the whole office or firm logs into a Zoom call, some partner gives a speech, and then it's an open mic.
Last edited by LBJ's Hair on Mon Jun 08, 2020 12:42 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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Re: How has your employer reacted to the civil unrest? Would an employer's response affect your choice to accept a job?

Post by Anonymous User » Mon Jun 08, 2020 12:32 pm

I'm a non-black POC. I am totally supportive of my firm's efforts to connect with its black associates during a difficult time. However, the non-stop emails and "open dialogue" is annoying. Also, the idea that we all have to conform to what is considered the "moral view", and that there are people openly campaigning for left-wing candidates on firm listservs. Let's be honest, the current discussion in law firms and corporate America is completely one sided and any dissent would not be tolerated. All this will do is drive people with dissenting views underground and into anonymous channels. I further don't appreciate being spoken for just because I fall into the "POC" category.

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Re: How has your employer reacted to the civil unrest? Would an employer's response affect your choice to accept a job?

Post by Anonymous User » Mon Jun 08, 2020 12:33 pm

My firm sent out a press release to make them look like they were doing what everybody else was. I’m a black lawyer and we amongst ourselves organized a discussion.

Other than that, they haven’t done shit and I’m pissed. No colleague even reached out to see how I was doing last week.

I’m going to leave the firm ASAP.

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Re: How has your employer reacted to the civil unrest? Would an employer's response affect your choice to accept a job?

Post by floatie » Mon Jun 08, 2020 12:42 pm

Incoming associate at a V5, non-black POC and a woman. My firm has donated and is organizing pro bono opportunities, but I'm skeptical of how much firms care about diversity, as are many of my incoming black and non-black POC colleagues. It's personally frustrating for me to see firms say they care about diversity, but also to see class after class of mostly white men promoted to partner and to hear about the host of microaggressions POC associates face. If law firms aren't equally committed to discussing and combating implicit bias/racism within their firms, then their external statements seem performative.

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Re: How has your employer reacted to the civil unrest? Would an employer's response affect your choice to accept a job?

Post by Anonymous User » Mon Jun 08, 2020 1:54 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Mon Jun 08, 2020 12:32 pm
I'm a non-black POC. I am totally supportive of my firm's efforts to connect with its black associates during a difficult time. However, the non-stop emails and "open dialogue" is annoying. Also, the idea that we all have to conform to what is considered the "moral view", and that there are people openly campaigning for left-wing candidates on firm listservs. Let's be honest, the current discussion in law firms and corporate America is completely one sided and any dissent would not be tolerated. All this will do is drive people with dissenting views underground and into anonymous channels. I further don't appreciate being spoken for just because I fall into the "POC" category.
um corporate america is not left. it's neoliberal in its support of diversity, at best, but objectively does not care about individuals.

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Re: How has your employer reacted to the civil unrest? Would an employer's response affect your choice to accept a job?

Post by Anonymous User » Mon Jun 08, 2020 2:05 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Mon Jun 08, 2020 1:54 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Mon Jun 08, 2020 12:32 pm
I'm a non-black POC. I am totally supportive of my firm's efforts to connect with its black associates during a difficult time. However, the non-stop emails and "open dialogue" is annoying. Also, the idea that we all have to conform to what is considered the "moral view", and that there are people openly campaigning for left-wing candidates on firm listservs. Let's be honest, the current discussion in law firms and corporate America is completely one sided and any dissent would not be tolerated. All this will do is drive people with dissenting views underground and into anonymous channels. I further don't appreciate being spoken for just because I fall into the "POC" category.
um corporate america is not left. it's neoliberal in its support of diversity, at best, but objectively does not care about individuals.
OP of that post here and I actually agree but I would say that's consistent with the modern mainstream left. "Woke" on identity issues and basically coopted by corporate America on economic issues.

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Re: How has your employer reacted to the civil unrest? Would an employer's response affect your choice to accept a job?

Post by Anonymous User » Mon Jun 08, 2020 2:23 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Mon Jun 08, 2020 12:32 pm
I'm a non-black POC. I am totally supportive of my firm's efforts to connect with its black associates during a difficult time. However, the non-stop emails and "open dialogue" is annoying. Also, the idea that we all have to conform to what is considered the "moral view", and that there are people openly campaigning for left-wing candidates on firm listservs. Let's be honest, the current discussion in law firms and corporate America is completely one sided and any dissent would not be tolerated. All this will do is drive people with dissenting views underground and into anonymous channels. I further don't appreciate being spoken for just because I fall into the "POC" category.
Strongly agree.

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Re: How has your employer reacted to the civil unrest? Would an employer's response affect your choice to accept a job?

Post by kovdak02 » Mon Jun 08, 2020 2:29 pm

I don’t think there are two legitimate sides to issues of racism, police brutality, or the murder of George Floyd, but then again my firm hasn’t experienced any listserv emails to support left-wing candidates. That would be out of place here; the most political our listservs get are invitations to the firm’s table at FedSoc or ACS events. So maybe we are having different experiences.

My firm may be doing more with various diverse affinity groups, but all I’ve seen are a couple firmwide acknowledgments plus one office-wide Zoom meeting about hours and clients during quarantine that included a reference to everything going on. The firm also publicized its donations to racial justice causes.

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Re: How has your employer reacted to the civil unrest? Would an employer's response affect your choice to accept a job?

Post by Anonymous User » Mon Jun 08, 2020 5:05 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Mon Jun 08, 2020 2:23 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Mon Jun 08, 2020 12:32 pm
I'm a non-black POC. I am totally supportive of my firm's efforts to connect with its black associates during a difficult time. However, the non-stop emails and "open dialogue" is annoying. Also, the idea that we all have to conform to what is considered the "moral view", and that there are people openly campaigning for left-wing candidates on firm listservs. Let's be honest, the current discussion in law firms and corporate America is completely one sided and any dissent would not be tolerated. All this will do is drive people with dissenting views underground and into anonymous channels. I further don't appreciate being spoken for just because I fall into the "POC" category.
Strongly agree.

Yes, me too. Not sure how to address this (and maybe now is not the best time), but it's a real thing.

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Re: How has your employer reacted to the civil unrest? Would an employer's response affect your choice to accept a job?

Post by cavalier1138 » Tue Jun 09, 2020 9:04 am

Note: This thread should be confined to discussing what firms have done and whether it would be a factor in choosing to work there.

Head on over to the Lounge if you want to debate the relative merits of supporting protesters vs. ordering federal agents to tear-gas U.S. civilians for a photo op.

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Re: How has your employer reacted to the civil unrest? Would an employer's response affect your choice to accept a job?

Post by Anonymous User » Tue Jun 09, 2020 10:33 am

I'm the OP - just wanted to add another thought. My firm didn't do pay cuts fortunately but I know of other firms that did pay cuts but just donated anywhere from $100,000 to $300,000 to various organizations in response to this. I guess a few hundred thousand dollars is nothing compared to the savings brought on by cutting pay across the board but personally I still would have been a little salty. To me, it looks a firm like that values PR more than its actual treatment of associates.

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Re: How has your employer reacted to the civil unrest? Would an employer's response affect your choice to accept a job?

Post by Wild Card » Tue Jun 09, 2020 11:53 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Mon Jun 08, 2020 11:22 am
Personally, if I was choosing a job, an employer's response to these types of things would not be a factor in my decision UNLESS the employer was literally representing Trump or his close affiliates (that is where I would draw the line).
It is a high honor for a law firm to represent the President of the United States and high-ranking members of the Executive Branch.

I don't care because I just want a job. I am not privileged enough, in the literal sense, to care. And the vast majority of top law firms espouse extremist leftist ideologies.

The issue for me is when politics interferes with one's standing at the firm. For instance, if a partner constantly makes extremist statements at practice group lunches and is soliciting validations of those statements from associates one by one, this is a problem.

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Re: How has your employer reacted to the civil unrest? Would an employer's response affect your choice to accept a job?

Post by Anonymous User » Tue Jun 09, 2020 11:55 am

Kirkland pledged $5 million and me and my colleagues had the same thought re: donations. That has to be a sign that the economic issues with furloughs, salary cuts etc. are not going to find their way this high up the Vault chart. Otherwise it would be a bad look internally (obviously a great look externally to go way over the top on racial justice donations).

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Re: How has your employer reacted to the civil unrest? Would an employer's response affect your choice to accept a job?

Post by Anonymous User » Tue Jun 09, 2020 12:14 pm

Wild Card wrote:
Tue Jun 09, 2020 11:53 am
Anonymous User wrote:
Mon Jun 08, 2020 11:22 am
Personally, if I was choosing a job, an employer's response to these types of things would not be a factor in my decision UNLESS the employer was literally representing Trump or his close affiliates (that is where I would draw the line).
It is a high honor for a law firm to represent the President of the United States and high-ranking members of the Executive Branch.

I don't care because I just want a job. I am not privileged enough, in the literal sense, to care. And the vast majority of top law firms espouse extremist leftist ideologies.

The issue for me is when politics interferes with one's standing at the firm. For instance, if a partner constantly makes extremist statements at practice group lunches and is soliciting validations of those statements from associates one by one, this is a problem.
The partners at my firm did exactly this during a group lunch. I didn't say anything because it was a one-off, but if they do it again I'll be making an anonymous complaint.

We are all grown ups--we know the difference between mourning the death of an innocent man and generally advocating for equality on the one hand, and pushing certain policies or ideologies on the other.

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Re: How has your employer reacted to the civil unrest? Would an employer's response affect your choice to accept a job?

Post by nixy » Tue Jun 09, 2020 12:38 pm

I really don’t think any biglaw firms espouse actual extreme leftist views and the idea that they do is just indicative of how weirdly the US defines politics.

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Re: How has your employer reacted to the civil unrest? Would an employer's response affect your choice to accept a job?

Post by Anonymous User » Tue Jun 09, 2020 1:03 pm

nixy wrote:
Tue Jun 09, 2020 12:38 pm
I really don’t think any biglaw firms espouse actual extreme leftist views and the idea that they do is just indicative of how weirdly the US defines politics.
If equality, racial justice, helping the indigent are extreme leftist views, Bush 43 was a normal moderate leftist and Joe Biden is basically a communist.

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Re: How has your employer reacted to the civil unrest? Would an employer's response affect your choice to accept a job?

Post by JusticeSquee » Tue Jun 09, 2020 1:45 pm

Wild Card wrote:
Tue Jun 09, 2020 11:53 am
Anonymous User wrote:
Mon Jun 08, 2020 11:22 am
Personally, if I was choosing a job, an employer's response to these types of things would not be a factor in my decision UNLESS the employer was literally representing Trump or his close affiliates (that is where I would draw the line).
It is a high honor for a law firm to represent the President of the United States and high-ranking members of the Executive Branch.

I don't care because I just want a job. I am not privileged enough, in the literal sense, to care. And the vast majority of top law firms espouse extremist leftist ideologies.

The issue for me is when politics interferes with one's standing at the firm. For instance, if a partner constantly makes extremist statements at practice group lunches and is soliciting validations of those statements from associates one by one, this is a problem.
Please provide a few examples of "top law firms" espousing "extremist leftist ideologies."

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Re: How has your employer reacted to the civil unrest? Would an employer's response affect your choice to accept a job?

Post by MarkmanPapers » Tue Jun 09, 2020 1:46 pm

nixy wrote:
Tue Jun 09, 2020 12:38 pm
I really don’t think any biglaw firms espouse actual extreme leftist views and the idea that they do is just indicative of how weirdly the US defines politics.
Looking at the client list of any major biglaw firm and then describing such a firm as "extreme leftist" is...certainly a take.

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Re: How has your employer reacted to the civil unrest? Would an employer's response affect your choice to accept a job?

Post by Anonymous User » Wed Jun 10, 2020 12:14 am

I wish my firm would just stop trying to set up discussions to talk about police brutality, race, diversity, etc. We have two black partners and all but one partner on our exec comm is white. Our diversity chair is a white woman.

I didn’t come to this firm because of its diversity.

If anything, this whole charade as exposed the flaws we have with diversity at my firm.

One thing I support is making Juneteenth a national holiday/firm holiday so I can get an extra day off. And if anyone gives me shit for not working that day, I’ll just call them out for it.

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Re: How has your employer reacted to the civil unrest? Would an employer's response affect your choice to accept a job?

Post by Anonymous User » Wed Jun 10, 2020 9:32 am

Lol my ex-firm sent an email about how well the firm is doing during the pandemic instead of addressing current events (have friends who still work there and send screen shots to our group). I'm not at a firm now but my employer has been similarly silent with no institutional email. Instead on a smaller group call, was told we are going through some "strange times" (that's one way to put it) and to take care of our mental health and do what is best for ourselves. Definitely has colored my perception and I think more poorly of the employer and the actual people involved. However, not enough to want to leave my job because at the end of the day, money and opportunity are the more relevant factors. I will note that I had one manager at least personally reach out to me to talk about the civil unrest, and to see how I was doing generally, so I respect him more.

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Re: How has your employer reacted to the civil unrest? Would an employer's response affect your choice to accept a job?

Post by nealric » Wed Jun 10, 2020 2:36 pm

Wild Card wrote:
Tue Jun 09, 2020 11:53 am
Anonymous User wrote:
Mon Jun 08, 2020 11:22 am
Personally, if I was choosing a job, an employer's response to these types of things would not be a factor in my decision UNLESS the employer was literally representing Trump or his close affiliates (that is where I would draw the line).
It is a high honor for a law firm to represent the President of the United States and high-ranking members of the Executive Branch.
I would have agreed with your 4 years ago. Now, I'm not so sure. I think it depends on the capacity in which the president is represented and the tactics used in doing so.

But I do agree with you that firms should not solicit political responses from employees. Employers shouldn't be lording power over their employees for political purposes. People should be able to express or not express their political viewpoint in a respectful way without retribution.

At the same time, people (including partners) are human, and it's hard not to think less of someone if you discover they support something you strongly disagree with. Management also have an ethical (if not legal) obligation to make all of their employees feel included and supported, and that may require making statements that some employees disagree with. As such, I would reconsider accepting an offer with an employer I felt did not support all of its employees, or worse practiced active discrimination.

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Re: How has your employer reacted to the civil unrest? Would an employer's response affect your choice to accept a job?

Post by Anon-non-anon » Wed Jun 10, 2020 6:09 pm

MarkmanPapers wrote:
Tue Jun 09, 2020 1:46 pm
nixy wrote:
Tue Jun 09, 2020 12:38 pm
I really don’t think any biglaw firms espouse actual extreme leftist views and the idea that they do is just indicative of how weirdly the US defines politics.
Looking at the client list of any major biglaw firm and then describing such a firm as "extreme leftist" is...certainly a take.
Even looking at the client list of the supposedly "lefty" firms is... pretty enlightening.

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Re: How has your employer reacted to the civil unrest? Would an employer's response affect your choice to accept a job?

Post by Windjammer » Thu Jun 11, 2020 1:29 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Wed Jun 10, 2020 12:14 am
We have two black partners and all but one partner on our exec comm is white. Our diversity chair is a white woman. [...] If anything, this whole charade as exposed the flaws we have with diversity at my firm.
This. Most law firms demographics* are such that their internal emails or public postings have a hard time escaping this impression:
https://www.theonion.com/company-issues ... 1843952628

*For industry wide figures, see the 2018 NALP study on how BigLaw's actual hiring and retention rates of black associates is stagnant or regressive. https://www.nalp.org/0218research

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