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Baker Donelson Designates Juneteenth as Permanent Firm Holiday

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Baker Donelson has designated Juneteenth, the oldest nationally celebrated commemoration of the ending of slavery in the United States, as a permanent firm holiday.

Juneteenth was initially designated as a holiday in 2020 as part of Baker Donelson's Solidarity Action Plan, developed in the wake of last year's nationwide racial reckoning. Baker Donelson closed all its offices on June 19, 2020, and designated it as a Solidarity Day of Action. Lawyers, professionals, and staff were encouraged to spend the day engaging in support and action to protect Black lives against systemic racism.

In 2020, members of the Baker Donelson family participated in a range of ways, including reading books such as White Fragility and Just Mercy, participating in local Black Lives Matter protests, having conversations with their children about racism, and volunteering with local organizations serving historically underserved and predominantly African American communities. One of the Firm's attorneys researched his state's voting rights laws. As a result, he has since expanded his practice to advise individuals convicted of a felony crime to restore their voting rights. He has handled approximately a dozen cases since last summer, with many of them resulting in successful restoration of voting rights for his clients.

This year, all Baker Donelson offices will be closed on Friday, June 18, and employees will once again be encouraged to spend the day as a time of service, education, and engagement. To help employees identify opportunities for engagement, the Firm developed a list of resources.

Baker Donelson's Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer Mark A. Baugh said, "Our hope is that this annual Juneteenth commemoration will not be just another day off, but rather an opportunity for each of our lawyers, professionals, and staff to develop their own personal plan to take concrete actions to help be a voice of love, support and justice."

Timothy M. Lupinacci, Baker Donelson's chair and CEO, added, "By commemorating Juneteenth each year, our goal is to show solidarity with our Black colleagues, clients and communities, as well as our continued commitment to work tirelessly to effect change in our world. Baker Donelson is proud to take this step in our ongoing role not only as allies but advocates and our obligation to protect and expand human rights and advance social justice for all."

Diversity and Inclusion at Baker Donelson

Baker Donelson strives to create an inclusive environment for all employees, welcoming people of all races, genders, ages, languages, ethnicities, cultural backgrounds, disabilities, sexual orientations and religious beliefs to assist clients in achieving their legal goals. As a Mansfield Rule Certified Plus 2020 firm, Baker Donelson affirmatively considers at least 30 percent women, attorneys of color, LGBTQ+ attorneys, and attorneys with disabilities in the candidate pools for recruitment, governance roles, equity partner promotions, and inclusion in formal pitch presentations to clients. Baker Donelson is a member of the Law Firm Antiracism Alliance (LFAA), a coalition of more than 200 of the nation's leading law firms focused on utilizing private bar resources to assist legal services organizations in furtherance of their missions to dismantle barriers to opportunity in communities of color, and is a member of Out Leadership, the oldest and largest global coalition of companies working to improve LGBTQ+ equality.

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Johanna Burkett
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