Black Lives Matter

Kohn, Kohn, & Colapinto, LLP has long stood with those who demand justice in the face to all to frequent injustices in the United States and worldwide. The murders of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and the countless other police related killings and acts of racial violence and oppression fill every member of our team a sense of personal inner unrest and anger.

Our work at Kohn, Kohn, and Colapinto is rooted in unearthing misconduct and holding wrongdoers responsible, advocating for the first amendment rights of whistleblowers, and supporting those who courageously speak out against injustice and misconduct. As whistleblower attorneys, we remain committed to the First Amendment right to speech and protest and commend those who have marched and rallied in support of Black lives.

The entire legal community bears the responsibility to ensure that every person has meaningful access to justice. At this time national attention is being rightfully brought to how the legal community has failed to uphold its responsibility to communities of color, and Black communities in particular. As attorneys we must remain acutely aware of how the legal system denies Black people the same dignity or respect granted to white people. Indeed, we have seen firsthand that Black whistleblowers face significantly harsher retaliation than their white counterparts as whistleblower attorneys. This problem is one that we take with the utmost seriousness as the right to speak out about wrongdoing is historically bound with the Civil Rights Act of 1871, the thirteenth, and fourteenth amendments granting rights meant to correct racial inequality in the United States. As a firm, we strive to represent all of our heroic clients equally, however that is not enough to effect racial equality on a larger scale. To do more, we want to express our support for the Black Lives Matter Movement and its calls for systemic and institutional change at every level by dedicating ourselves to taking the following steps:

Taking responsibility for supporting diversity in our field and supporting whistleblower advocates

The William Worthy Jr. Diversity Fellowship

Kohn, Kohn & Colapinto, LLP would like to take this opportunity to announce its partnership with the Whistleblower Fellowship Program in the creation of the William Worthy Jr. Diversity Fellowship in an effort to diversify the voices contributing to our firm’s pro bono work with the Fund and provide paid opportunities to social justice activists and populations traditionally underrepresented in the legal sector. This fellowship will provide recent college graduates the opportunity to work with the partners at Kohn, Kohn & Colapinto and engage in journalism and social/legal activism for the Fund in the tradition trailblazed by William Worthy Jr., a courageous black journalist, civil rights activist, whistleblower advocate, and educator. We also encourage students of color to apply for our existing legal internships (details here). Kohn, Kohn & Colapinto, LLP is, has been, and will continue to be, an equal opportunity employer and is excited about the opportunity to support the development of new lawyers and journalists with a passion for justice.

Raising public awareness

Kohn, Kohn, and Colapinto, LLP has represented whistleblowers who have reported racial and sexual discrimination and we are recommitting to sharing their stories, some of which can be found here. These stories are essential chapters in the longer history of whistleblower victories and understanding whistleblower protections.

Additionally, we believe that law enforcement insiders must come forward and expose the injustice rampant within the criminal justice system. Pursuant to this goal we have created an FAQ on making such reports. Kohn, Kohn, and Colapinto’s experience with representing whistleblowers with discrimination claims uniquely positions our partners as experts and we have decided to produce a segment on how Federal Employees might succeed in such cases during the Whistleblower Summit of 2020. This short lecture is publicly available here.

Additionally, because four of our attorneys are graduates of Northeastern University School of law, we would like to take this opportunity to share the work of the Civil Rights and Restorative Justice Clinic at Northeastern University School of Law, which aims to document every racially motivated killing in the American South between 1930 and 1970. This educational resource tells the stories of individuals who are often deliberately omitted from narratives on our nation’s history. We encourage donations supporting this important work.

Continuing education for our Attorneys

Our firm is recommitting to operating in a manner that would be considered actively anti-racist. Pursuant to this goal, all attorneys have taken a pledge to continue educating themselves about the history of systemic racism in the United States including its current manifestations which directly impact our clients when their claims involve discrimination, to the ways in which Black lives are impacted everyday – such as by understanding the school to prison pipeline or institutional racism in corporate environments. Additionally, Kohn, Kohn, and Colapinto, will finance our attorneys’ participation in civil rights focused continuing legal education programs (contingent on the availability of such courses through the D.C. Bar).

It is vital that the legal community rise to the occasion, participate in the current movement for change, and advocate for justice and human rights for all Americans – regardless of their skin color. Our community must use its privilege and skills to dismantle systemic racism. It is our responsibility, and the credibility of our profession depends on our ability to provide equitable legal services.