Through the Gale Ep2: Can Big Law Be Anti-Racist?


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Can “Big Law,” the segment of the legal industry that regularly provides assistance, representation and counsel to the nation’s largest and most powerful corporate and economic actors, be an effective force for racial equity in the nation?

When the pandemic and the racial uprisings of 2020 laid bare America’s racial inequality, many big law firms pledged to be “anti-racist.” Since then these firms have launched new “diversity and inclusion” efforts to address representation within their firms, and expanded their commitment to pro-bono and legal service. Many large firms have also joined the Law Firm Anti-Racism Alliance, collaborating to promote racial justice within the law. But as large corporate entities, big law firms exist primarily to service their clients. Are these legal entities which are intertwined with a highly stratified economy, capable of contributing to an anti-racist society? If so, what are the crucial steps? In the third installment of our podcast, Professor Scott Cummings (UCLA) and Debo Adegbile (WilmerHale) join the hosts to address the role of “Big Law” in shaping a multiracial democracy.

Episode Details

Released: August 17, 2022

Length: 50:45


Photo of Debo P. Adegbile

Debo P. Adegbile. Partner, Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr LLP.

Photo of Scott L. Cummings

Scott L. Cummings, Robert Henigson Professor of Legal Ethics Professor of Law at UCLA School of Law.

Hosted By:

Photo of Alexis Banks

Alexis Banks '22 is an incoming associate at a New York Big Law firm. She is interested in the intersection of storytelling, social movements, and the law, with a particular interest in how mass media and popular culture serve as a frame and a reflection of our society and the way we understand history, race, politics, and social equality.

Photo of Sneha Pandya

Sneha Pandya '21 works in the U.S. Senate. She is interested in racial justice, economic justice, and climate justice in the financial regulatory space, administrative and constitutional governance, and constitutional history.

Photo of Marica L. Wright

Marica L. Wright '22 was an active member of the Frederick Douglass Moot Court Team, Empowering Women of Color, and the Admissions Ambassadors during her time at Columbia Law, and she served as president of the Black Law Students Association. She is interested in racial justice, anti-racism in legal education, and anti-racism in the legal profession at large.


Written and produced by Alexis Banks, Sneha Pandya, and Marica L. Wright.
Edited and recorded by Devan Kortan and Jake Rosati.
Special thanks to Michelle Wilson, Julie Godsoe, Cary Midland, and Kara Van Woerden.

Sound Clips:

Instrumentals courtesy of Free Music Archive.


Civil Rights and Discrimination | Law | Law and Race | Legal Profession


Center for Constitutional Governance

Through the Gale Ep2: Can Big Law Be Anti-Racist?