Advancing Racial Justice

Latham’s commitment to civil rights and racial justice forms a cornerstone of our pro bono program. In recent years, we have significantly expanded this work as a reflection of our values and our belief that advancing racial justice must be supported by words as well as actions. As a result, we have devoted substantial resources to matters promoting civil rights and supporting those affected by institutional racism, including donating free legal services to frontline racial justice organizations, emerging entrepreneurs, and other groups supporting underrepresented communities.

In 2023, President Joseph Biden designated a new national monument to commemorate Emmett Till and Mamie Till-Mobley, thanks to advocacy by Latham and the Emmett Till Interpretive Center (ETIC). Till was a 14-year-old Black boy from Chicago who was kidnapped, tortured, and lynched in August 1955 for whistling at a white woman while visiting family in Mississippi. His murderers were tried and acquitted by an all-white jury. With guidance from Latham, ETIC collaborated with several groups, including the National Trust for Historic Preservation, the National Parks Conservation Association, and members of the Till family to advocate for federal recognition and permanent preservation of historic sites connected to the legacy of Emmett Till. Many were at risk of severe decay or destruction by vandalism. Featuring three sites in two states, this monument will ensure that future generations continue to learn from this important chapter of US civil rights history.

"We are privileged to work alongside and represent organizations advancing racial equality and justice, and to help make a meaningful contribution to the lives of those who have suffered from discrimination. Whether the change is incremental or systemic, it is important work that allows us to align our actions with our values."

Isuru Devendra, Associate, Londo

Through Latham’s ongoing collaborative legal clinic with the Greater Manchester Immigration Aid Unit and several other law firms, we advise individuals impacted by the Windrush scandal in the UK. In 2018, reports surfaced that the Home Office and government departments had been treating long-term residents with lawful status or citizenship as illegal migrants and were denying their rights and benefits. Many of these individuals had immigrated from Caribbean countries at the behest of the government and been in the UK for decades. Collectively, they were known as the Windrush Generation, named for the HMT Empire Windrush, the ship on which many people arrived in 1948. After the UK government recognized the harm caused, a compensation scheme was launched for those affected. Our lawyers advise individuals as they apply for compensation for a wide range of losses potentially stemming from loss of employment, detention, deportation removal, returns, health issues, loss of housing, and denial of education. To date, the clinic’s clients have received over £400,000 in compensation through this scheme.

Our colleagues from Brussels developed and delivered the content for a series of interactive workshops for the Minorities, Accountability, Rights, Independence & Organizational Development (MARIO) project of PILnet, an NGO that acts as a global network for public interest law. The capacity-building training covered European institutions, the EU legislative process, and other EU mechanisms for the protection and advancement of ethnic, national, religious, or linguistic minorities and Indigenous peoples.

Colleagues in London supported Runnymede Trust, a think tank whose work is rooted in challenging structural racism and its impact on communities, by preparing and negotiating a partnership agreement with a charity that supports people affected by school exclusion. Latham also continues to advise many nonprofits fighting for racial justice and equality, such as Mississippi Center for Justice, BIGKid Foundation, OneTech, PEAS (Promoting Equality in African Schools), and Lafiya Nigeria.