Winston & Strawn’s Pro Bono Racial Justice & Equity Council



Winston & Strawn is pleased to announce the establishment of the firm’s Pro Bono Racial Justice and Equity Council (the “Council”), to develop and implement our newly formed CEASE Initiative.

Working in collaboration with partners and attorneys across the Winston global community, and in conjunction with the Pro Bono Department, the Council will develop pro bono projects that will most effectively impact five critical areas, or pillars for change, as defined by the CEASE Initiative:

Criminal Justice and Criminal Justice Reform

  • Promote police accountability and vigorously represent those subjected to abuse
  • Advocate for the elimination of incarceration for low-level crimes and unjust sentencing policies
  • Provide direct representation to Black persons and persons of color in criminal defense, appellate, and post-conviction matters, particularly where the representation has the potential to impact the Council’s mission more broadly

 Educational and Vocational Opportunity

  • Assist organizations that provide educational opportunities, vocational training, and practical employment skills to disadvantaged communities
  • Promote access to education by defending against biased disciplinary actions
  • Fight for the removal of a criminal record as a barrier to employment
  • Promote access to quality education by challenging discriminatory funding and admission policies and practices

Access to the Political System

  • Ensure voter protection
  • Guarantee polling access
  • Remove bars to enfranchisement

Social Welfare

  • Assist organizations providing social services to communities of color
  • Provide civil legal services to persons and organizations in connection with legal issues disparately impacting Black communities and communities of color
  • Support urban anti-violence efforts and organizations
  • Challenge racist and white supremacist institutions

Economic Development

  • Assist organizations dedicated to economic and employment development of Black communities and communities of color
  • Provide disadvantaged neighborhoods holistic development assistance, including broad-based legal services, legal assistance to small businesses, organizational leadership, financial support, and other forms of assistance
  • Assist Black-owned small businesses with formation and other business-related legal advice

Performance Goals

  • Continue Winston & Strawn’s significant and longstanding dedication to pro bono legal work, with greater focus on issues affecting persons of color, and specific attention to causes impacting Black people as set out in the five CEASE Initiative pillars
  • Establish performance metrics and assess progress against stated goals commencing in calendar year 2021 to be re-examined annually, to ensure the significant and ongoing impact of all five CEASE Initiative pillars
  • Develop and advance relationships with public interest and advocacy organizations and commercial clients to cultivate opportunities needed to accomplish CEASE Initiative goals
  • Integrate the CEASE Initiative with the firm’s ongoing efforts to address issues impacting various diverse constituencies, including but not limited to Winston Pride (LGBTQ+), Women’s Leadership Initiative, LLAW (Latinx), and WALI (Asian-Pacific Islanders)
  • Create excitement throughout the firm and encourage participation in the CEASE Initiative by every attorney. Identify opportunities for litigators and transactional attorneys alike to provide legal representation in furtherance of the CEASE Initiative goals
  • Advise firm management with respect to the allocation of resources needed to accomplish CEASE Initiative goals


Through the focused efforts outlined in the CEASE Initiative pillars, Winston & Strawn pledges the significant commitment of firm resources as follows: