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BCRI gets part of $6M donation from New York law firm, thanks to Jeffco

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The Birmingham Times

A New York-based law firm will donate a total of $6 million to the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute, the Equal Justice Initiative (EJI) in Montgomery and other civil rights groups from attorneys’ fees received from Jefferson County.

Jefferson County awarded the fees to New York’s Cravath, Swaine, Moore LLP this year at the conclusion of a case involving African American and female plaintiffs in an employment discrimination litigation brought by the NAACP that dates back to 1974. At the request of the national Lawyers’ Committee, Cravath took on the representation of the plaintiffs in 1983.

“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 organizations,” said Faiza J. Saeed, Cravath’s Presiding Partner.

EJI’s Legacy Museum, Fisk University and the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law will also receive donations.

Each of the institutions are continuing the mission of the civil rights movement and the pursuit of justice, both in Alabama and nationally, Saeed said.  Fisk University, one of the country’s premier Historically Black Colleges and universities, “is educating the leaders of the future,” she said.

Generations at Cravath contributed more than 100,000 hours on the case in pursuit of a better future for the people of Jefferson County, said the firm.

“I was honored 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,” said Rowan D. Wilson, Associate Judge of the New York State Court of Appeals. “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.”

Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP was founded in 1819 and is widely recognized as one of the world’s premier law firms. The firm has 476 lawyers in New York City and London.