Mattos Filho wins the 2020 Sim à Igualdade Racial Award
Affinity group Soma wins for employability in the racial commitment category
Soma, Mattos Filhos affinity group, won for employability in the racial commitment category of the 2020 Sim à Igualdade Racial (Yes to Racial Equality in English) award, presented by the Identidades do Brasil Institute (ID_BR). This recognition comes a month after the firm hired 17 self-declared black students who are in the first years of law school. Mattos Filho was the only law firm in Brazil to receive the award at the ceremony on October 10, at which personalities and institutions working for racial equality were recognized.
To attract, retain, and develop black talent in the firm, Soma was created from the need to promote change in the national legal market. A census conducted by the Aliança Jurídica pela a Equidade Racial (Legal Alliance for Racial Equity in English) in 2018 found that only 2% of professionals in the country’s largest law firms were black. “We are sure that we are on the right path for the validation of our practices of racial equity and that they are also included in the Brazilian legal market”, highlights Roberto Quiroga, managing partner of Mattos Filho.
Since its creation in 2018, Soma has produced quality content to discuss topics related to ethnic-racial issues, inspiring other Brazilian companies to follow its example. As part of the group’s initiatives, the Soma Talentos program was created, which is an affirmative action that is in the second edition and offers young people classes of legal English and Portuguese, in addition to behavioral skills training, mentoring with the firm’s partners, close monitoring with HR, among other activities. In all, in the two editions of the program, more than a thousand black youths enrolled in the selection process, more than 200 candidates participated in the dynamic, and 33 students were selected.
In the search for an even more inclusive work environment, in the two and a half years of the Soma group, several initiatives were promoted to integrate black professionals at the firm, instilling in them a sense of belonging. Soma, for example, fostered debates about types of racism and the role of white people in the anti-racist fight, provided four infographics – Racial discrimination; Whiteness and privileges; and Black women and Legal milestones – for the external public, and promoted tours on African heritage around São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro. In addition, the group cooperated with the 100% pro bono practice on the ethnic-racial front, working in free legal advice to individuals and civil society organizations.
Valuing diversity and inclusion
Mattos Filho develops several initiatives to discuss the challenges faced by minorities concerning diversity and inclusion, in society in general and in the job market more specifically. In addition to the racial pillar, whose affinity group is Soma, the firm’s diversity and inclusion program has four other pillars with five affinity groups: the gender equity pillar, whose groups are 4Women, focused on the professional development of women, and eMFamília, which seeks to promote the culture of parenting; the LGBTQIAP+ rights pillar, which has the #MFriendly affinity group; the pillar of inclusion of people with disabilities, whose affinity group is the eMFrente, and the pillar of religious freedom whose affinity group is the LiRe.