In collaboration with TLSC’s Medical-Legal Partnerships (MLPs), seventy Kirkland & Ellis attorneys conducted in-depth research identifying current laws surrounding police departments and anti-force policies.
Last year, in the wake of George Floyd’s murder and ongoing social justice movements, TLSC attorneys Kassi González and Keegan Warren-Clem recognized an opportunity to apply medical-legal principles to racial justice advocacy. They established a unique pro bono project with the goal of mitigating the health-harming effects of systemic racism by looking at police use-of-force as a matter of public health.
Inspired by two of the force-restrictive policies advocated for by Campaign Zero’s #8Can'tWait campaign, the project engaged seventy Kirkland & Ellis attorneys in conducting a 50-state survey of current laws about De-Escalation and Warning Before Shooting. This research allowed our legal teams to examine the variance that exists state-by-state, and to provide succinct data that can be used to advocate for best practices and consistent policies nationwide. According to Campaign Zero, more restrictive use of force policies can reduce killings by police and save lives.
Using Kirkland & Ellis’ research, TLSC developed a series of webpages hosted by the Texas MLP Coalition, a statewide network that aims to improve health. The research is displayed via interactive maps of the U.S. that link to relevant statutes, policies, and case law. The goal is to make this information easily accessible as a resource for advocates as well as to enable legal epidemiological research (which asks how the law affects the length and quality of people's lives).
This year, the project will continue by examining two more use-of-force policies, including ‘Duty to Intervene’ and ‘Shooting at Moving Vehicles and Fleeing Suspects.’ We expect Phase Two research to be published on the website in spring 2022.
The time and energy Kirkland & Ellis attorneys invested in this project amplifies our impact on advocacy — from local to national. TLSC is honored to have the support of such dedicated partners in the social justice movement.
Since 2020, Kirkland & Ellis attorneys have donated 1,360 pro bono hours to Texas Legal Services Center, with an estimated value totaling approximately $1,137,513. A significant portion of their generosity is focused on bringing systemic change to law enforcement policy nationwide.
You can support this project by making a gift today.