Law Firms

Several law firms plan to make Juneteenth a permanent paid holiday; will it become an industry standard?

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Juneteenth flag on the map of the USA

Image from Shutterstock.

The “vast majority” of several dozen law firms contacted by Law360 Pulse plan to make Juneteenth a permanent holiday after observing it last year.

About 50 law firms made Juneteenth a paid holiday last year. All of the several dozen firms in that group that were contacted by Law360 Pulse said they are making Juneteenth a holiday again this year, Law360 reports.

Most in that group said they would make Juneteenth a permanent paid holiday, while a few firms indicated that they were still considering their future plans.

Juneteenth is June 19, which falls on a Saturday this year. As a result, law firms are observing the holiday on June 18.

Among the top five law firms on the Law360 400, two—Latham & Watkins and Morgan, Lewis & Bockius—said they were making the holiday permanent. Kirkland & Ellis and Greenberg Traurig said Juneteenth was a paid holiday again this year but didn’t respond when asked whether the holiday will be permanent. Jones Day did not respond to Law360’s requests for comment.

Law.com also contacted several large law firms and said at least nine are making Juneteenth a permanent holiday. In addition to Morgan Lewis, which was on the Law360 list, they are: Morrison & Foerster; Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison; Jenner & Block; Debevoise & Plimpton; Akerman; Foley Hoag; Davis Wright Tremaine; and Seyfarth Shaw.

Some firms took a slightly different tack. Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati will make Juneteenth a day of service on which employees can do volunteer work, while Squire Patton Boggs will make Juneteenth a day of reflection and host forums with diversity consultants, according to Law360. Duane Morris will host a town hall moderated by the law firm’s chief diversity and inclusion officer, Law.com reports.

June 19 is the day in 1865 when a union general announced the end of slavery in Texas, according to History.com. The day has become a broader celebration of the end of slavery.

Industry watchers told Law360 that it’s too early to be certain whether Juneteenth will become a permanent holiday for BigLaw, “but it looks like the practice is on track to becoming an industry standard,” according to Law360. Also concurring that Juneteenth will become a permanent feature are the leaders of several BigLaw firms, including Clifford Chance; Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld; and Sidley Austin, Law360 reports.

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