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Instant Insights / A National Conversation on Racism: the Legal Profession's Role in Driving Equality

The tragedy of George Floyd's death at the hands of a white police officer has spurred a renewed conversation about who we are as a country. In the legal sphere, we are seeing members of the community come together and look inward, asking what they can do to better confront racism and inequality. At ALM, our reporters and editors have interviewed diverse law firm leaders, general counsel and law deans, as well as allies, about where the blindspots are and where we go from here. A collection of some of that coverage, along with photography from the protests and spot news, is below.

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Damien Atkins, general counsel for The Hershey Co.

Before Damien Atkins was the general counsel of The Hershey Co., before he served as the top lawyer for Panasonic USA and before he was an in-house leader for AOL, he was an associate at a New York law firm where the primary billing partners were white men.

This was the late 1990s. And a general counsel named Vernon Baker of ArvinMeritor Inc. gave Atkins a “huge break,” simply by making a point of saying, “I’d like to see some African Americans on my matters,” Atkins remembers.  

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Phillip Bantz

Phillip Bantz is a reporter for Corporate Counsel. Follow him on Twitter @PhillipBantz.

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