It's Black History Month, the annual celebration of African American contributions to culture, society, and, of course, law.
While Black History Month is hardly the card-sending, cocktail-houring, office-partying event that some other winter holidays are, it's still worth celebrating in your firm. Here's how.
1. Social Media and Email
We'll start with the easiest. If you've got a social media presence, use this to highlight black history. Tweet about historical African American contributions, for example, or share a bio of your favorite black jurist on Facebook. For more internally focused nods to Black History Month, consider sending out an email or series of emails to your firm's staff as part of your celebrations.
2. Speaking Events
Consider hosting a speaking event for Black History Month. These events can be directed at you and your staff or open to the public. For example, you could bring in a speaker to discuss the importance of diversity in the workplace, and the effect of subtle biases in impeding diversity.
Alternatively, you could host an even for the public, focused on African American contributions to the legal system or current civil rights issues. Public events are even better if you co-host them with a similar group, such as another law firm, nonprofit organizations, or local law schools, allowing you to pull resources for the event.
3. Happy Hour
If you host a Black History Month event, consider following it with a mixer or happy hour. Invite other firms, local bar associations, and members of minority law student organizations to make the night a true networking event -- and not just another excuse to drink on the firm's tab.
4. Pro Bono Work
Commit to completing a certain number of pro bono hours for Black History Month. You could do a one-off, clinic-style pro bono event or partner with access to justice and civil rights organizations.
5. Build Your Diversity Pipeline
Most importantly, you can celebrate the diverse contributions of Americans by bringing some more diversity into your law firm. Commit to developing a diverse firm by building relationships with minority-focused organizations and legal associations and creating internship and mentorship programs focused at diverse talent.