Cravath donates $6 million it earned in a four-decade-old discrimination case
$6 million was awarded as fees in a discrimination case that the firm fought on a pro bono case basis
The US firm Cravath Swaine & Moore has announced that it will donate the entire $6 million awarded to it as fees in a long-running employment discrimination litigation in Alabama.
The donation would go towards supporting a range of civil rights causes. The firm was representing African-American and female plaintiffs on a pro bono basis in a discrimination case.
The issue was triggered by local government employers discriminating against African-American and female job candidates and later centred around Jefferson County's failure to comply with consent decrees to improve its hiring processes.
The firm said that it will donate the money to the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute, the Equal Justice Initiative (EJI), the EJI's Legacy Museum, Fisk University and the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law.
"As we reflect on the culmination of four decades of effort to make real the promise of civil rights reforms in Jefferson County, Alabama, we feel privileged to carry forward that commitment by supporting the work of each of these remarkable organisations," Faiza Saeed, presiding partner at Cravath, said.
Since Cravath took on the case in 1983, Cravath lawyers contributed more than 100,000 pro bono hours to the cause of providing a "better future for the people of Jefferson County".
"I was honoured to lead this work as a Cravath partner for 25 years before joining the bench, and it remains among the most meaningful cases I worked on as a practicing lawyer. To see it conclude with a measure of justice achieved in Jefferson County is tremendously gratifying, and a testament to the longstanding commitment from the firm to pro bono work and the difference it can make in progress and reform," former Cravath lawyer Rowan Wilson, who is now associate judge of the New York State Court of Appeals, was quoted as saying.
Fisk University is one of the US's leading historically black colleges. The donation to it is Cravath's latest effort to support the university. The firm had launched the Cravath Scholars programme in 2019 to help high-achieving students by providing them with tuition assistance and a summer internship at the firm's New York office.
Cravath Swaine & Moore is known for its complex and high profile litigation and mergers and acquisitions work with offices in New York and London.