Ballard Spahr has launched the Racial Justice and Equality Initiative, a new pro bono plan of action dedicated to combating racial injustice and inequity through litigation, firm Chair Mark Stewart announced today.

The initiative will be staffed with litigators from the firm’s more than 250-lawyer Litigation Department. In keeping with the firm's statement of Where We Stand, these litigators will take on pro bono cases that specifically address racial justice issues, such as policing, education, and voting rights. It will also work to establish partnerships with firm clients and public interest organizations dedicated to promoting racial justice, for which the firm will also provide financial support.

In conjunction with this initiative, the firm’s Media and Entertainment Law Practice Group has committed to providing pro bono representation to media outlets and content creators focused on and serving communities of color throughout the country. The group has begun proactively reaching out to these outlets to understand and assess their legal needs.

“We recognize that, as professionals, we are in positions of privilege, and that with this privilege comes the responsibility to both acknowledge the inequities of our system and to fight them actively,” said Mr. Stewart. “By putting the vast talents of our lawyers—who have a long history of litigating these issues—and the resources of this firm behind this fight, we hope to be a part of the change that must happen nationwide.”

The Racial Justice and Equality Initiative will be led by a team of six attorneys across three of the firm’s 15 offices nationwide: New York-based Marjorie J. Peerce, Las Vegas-based Maria Gall, and David H. PittinskyLeslie E. John, M. Norman Goldberger, and Kahlil C. Williams, each based in the firm’s Philadelphia office. The Media and Entertainment Law Practice Group’s efforts will be led by Washington, D.C.-based Charles D. Tobin. These leaders will work closely with Chief Diversity Officer Virginia G. Essandoh, Pro Bono Counsel Lisa B. Swaminathan, and Litigation Department Chair Jason A. Leckerman in this effort.