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December 22, 2020

Pro Bono Newsletter – Racial Justice Initiative (December 2020)

This last year has brought with it unprecedented challenges to our personal and professional lives as we sought to deal with the widespread ramifications of the coronavirus pandemic. Amidst this backdrop, we all watched in horror as the brutal killing of George Floyd by the police was captured on camera, sparking activism, protests, and discussions about racism and inequality in the United States and around the world, including here at Gibson Dunn. Immediately the firm spoke out and, more importantly, acted to reaffirm its commitment to addressing and tackling racial justice and equity issues. As part of that, we refocused and recommitted our efforts to take on pro bono matters that directly impact systemic racism and racial justice, including police reform, criminal justice reform, equity in education and health care, and much more. We have also launched several racial justice-focused pro bono collaborations with many of the Firm’s corporate clients. In the past six months, nearly 400 lawyers have dedicated more than 16,000 hours to over 50 matters dedicated to achieving racial equity. As we all know, when this Firm puts its mind to a cause, we can achieve great things. And, just as we have with issues like LGBTQ rights and immigrant rights, Gibson Dunn is dedicated to playing a meaningful role in the fight against policies, practices, and actions that produce unequitable outcomes for people of color. Together we will achieve lasting, real change. View Newsletter
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July 30, 2020

Pro Bono Newsletter – Coronavirus Response Efforts (July 2020)

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, it introduced unimaginable challenges into all our lives.  But for those living in poverty or within marginalized communities, the impact of the disease was especially devastating. Gibson Dunn has remained steadfast throughout, while also pivoting and adapting to meet the needs of the moment, reaching out to help those most dramatically impacted and doing what we could to help.  Since March 2020, over 300 Gibson Dunn lawyers have dedicated more than 8,000 pro bono hours to these Coronavirus-response efforts.  By coming together during this challenging time we hope that we have made a difference in the lives of our pro bono clients, as well as in the broader communities in which we all live. Over the course of the last few months we have also seen the uprising of a powerful racial justice movement that has captured the hearts of people around the world.  Gibson Dunn has met this moment by recommitting to working towards racial justice with an overwhelming collective energy.  In just a few short weeks we have taken on new projects and cases that address a variety of racial justice issues, and put in place teams and structure to do so much more.  We look forward to seeing what is still to come in this important fight.  As the Firm charges ahead to tackle racial justice and systemic oppression, we also want to reflect on all that we have already accomplished together in 2020. View Newsletter
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June 24, 2020

Cyber Dignity: Digital Age Law for Teens and Young Adults

Palo Alto partner Carrie LeRoy was inspired by tragedies in her community involving cyber bullying and other forms of harassment via social media. Recognizing the disconnect between the practice of victim-blaming – which appeared to be rampant on social media – and the reality that the law strives to protect survivors and punish perpetrators, she developed a program now known as Cyber Dignity. The program trains pro bono attorneys to educate thousands of young people in the Bay Area and beyond, with a focus on teaching teenagers their rights and responsibilities in the areas of social media, cell phone use, and other technology. Its primary goals are deterrence of sexual assault and cyber bullying, empowerment of survivors, and engagement of bystanders. The curriculum addresses First Amendment rights in the social media space, accomplice liability via texting in the case of a suicide, documenting sexual assault online, and other timely and important issues. The Practising Law Institute (PLI) recently digitized the program as part of its pro bono curriculum, and in June 2020, Carrie was featured on Pro Bono Net’s Connecting Justice Communities blog.
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June 5, 2020

A Statement on Racial Justice and Equality from Gibson Dunn Chairman and Managing Partner, Ken Doran

Our communities are being torn apart by incidents of unspeakable racism.  As these incidents grow in number so, too, grows the legitimate anger, hurt, distrust, fear and public outrage of those in our community who have been targeted.  These incidents include, but are not limited to, the death of Ahmaud Arbery, a 25 year old African-American who was shot while jogging through a neighborhood in southeast Georgia, the death of Breonna Taylor, a 26 year old African American woman killed by police after they forcefully entered her home on a no-knock warrant, and the recent death of George Floyd, a 46 year old African American man who was murdered in Minneapolis, Minnesota.  Mr. Floyd was in police custody – handcuffed and lying on the ground in prone position when one of the arresting officers placed his knee on the back of Mr. Floyd’s neck and kept it there for nearly nine minutes with other officers watching.  Mr. Floyd repeatedly called out that he could not breathe and onlookers protested that his life was in jeopardy.  Mr. Floyd suffocated and died from these injuries.  Both the death of Mr. Arbery and Mr. Floyd were captured on videotape which is very hard to watch, and impossible to justify. These traumatic events and resulting unrest during a global pandemic have left many of us at a loss and with an overwhelming sense of despair, anger, fear and helplessness during these trying times.  I know that many of our colleagues are struggling on a very personal level with these heinous tragedies and inequities.  We, at Gibson Dunn, stand with our colleagues and will fight racism wherever we see it as we continue to defend the rule of law, civil liberties and equal justice for all.  Our lawyers have been encouraged to take up that mantle, through pro bono efforts, charitable giving, or otherwise.  Our firm is already engaged in a variety of matters that impact on racial justice issues, including tackling police reform and criminal justice reform. We know that there is much more work to be done and we are not doing nearly enough, but I do believe that we have arrived at a pivotal moment in the fight for racial equality and I am proud to say that Gibson Dunn will play a prominent role in that fight. As an initial step, Gibson Dunn will contribute $100,000 to the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund (LDF).  LDF is America’s premier legal organization fighting for racial justice and has been a long-standing beacon of hope for communities of color.  Through litigation, advocacy, and public education, LDF seeks structural changes to expand democracy, eliminate disparities, and achieve racial justice in a society that fulfills the promise of equality for all Americans.  Gibson Dunn’s very own Ambassador Ron Kirk serves on LDF’s Board of Directors.  We are proud to stand alongside Ron in supporting LDF’s important work. Martin Luther King, Jr. notably stated "The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy."  In my communication earlier this year celebrating Dr. King’s life and legacy, I wrote that Dr. King’s work “is an amazing gift to the world – challenging the status quo and its many inequalities, yet he was hopeful, optimistic, empowering and inspirational about a better world that lies ahead.”  Gibson Dunn is committed to ensuring that a better and more equitable world lies ahead. Stay safe and healthy, and stand strong. Kenneth M. Doran Chairman & Managing Partner Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP
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June 2, 2020

President Obama Highlights Toolkit on Best Practices in Policing Created By the Leadership Conference with Assistance By Gibson Dunn

On June 1, 2020, President Barack Obama published a blog post titled “How to Make this Moment the Turning Point for Real Change,” sharing the link to a milestone community-based policing report and toolkit created last year by the Leadership Conference Education Fund—the education and research arm of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights—and describing it as a “starting point” to an effective policing reform agenda tailored to different communities.  Gibson Dunn partners and associates worked extensively on the report and toolkit. Published on March 28, 2019, the 416-page report titled “New Era of Public Safety: A Guide to Fair, Safe, and Effective Community Policing” is designed to be a guide to best practices for public safety and policing in the 21st century, grounded in the core theme of community policing.  As noted in the executive summary, “this report was developed to give individuals, communities, activists, advocacy organizations, law makers, and police departments the knowledge to carry out this important work.”  The accompanying toolkit is “intended to empower communities to hold police departments accountable by working together to address problems and to find the best way forward to coproduce public safety.”  The report and toolkit are available for download here and here. Since late 2016, Gibson Dunn had been closely involved in researching and drafting this report, with over 160 associates conducting research into best practices and recommendations to reform policing in collaboration with community advocates and law enforcement experts, including the Policing Project at NYU School of Law; Ron Davis, former director of the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS Office) of the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and Scott Thomson, chief of the Camden County Police Department and president of the Police Executive Research Forum. The Gibson Dunn team includes Marcellus McRae, Ben Wagner and Frances Waldmann
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April 22, 2020

Pro Bono Newsletter – Coronavirus Response Efforts (April 2020)

As we head into another week of the COVID-19 pandemic, we are all struggling to cope with the rapidly changing landscape.  Some of us have loved ones who have gotten sick or even passed away, others have loved ones living far away, and still others have loved ones fighting on the front lines of this pandemic as healthcare workers or first responders.  And yet, amidst this uncertain and unprecedented time, we have been struck by how much this community has come together; how we have found new ways to be supportive of one another, to communicate with one another, and to form much deeper bonds than once existed.  Part of this coming together has been forged through a common goal and purpose: to help those in our communities – near and far – who need our services the most. Delivering this help has required digging deep, working through challenging conditions, and often coming up with creative and innovative means to provide results.  Together we have accomplished so much already, finding ways to help the small business and immigrant communities and the healthcare workers fighting every day for all of us, just to name a few. View Newsletter
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