Husch Blackwell’s Practice Seeks to Help Businesses Close the Racial Wealth Gap

  • Recently launched practice founded by Dallas associate Carlos White
  • The team helps minority-owned client businesses grow

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(Reuters) – Husch Blackwell’s newly formed practice group dedicated to advising minority-owned businesses in growth mode stands out as unusual in an area cluttered with diversity in law firms and social justice efforts.

The 10-person Economic Development Impact team was founded by Carlos White, a Dallas-based partner who joined the firm in November 2020. He is also part of the firm’s franchise and distribution practice.

White told Reuters how he believes the new practice of the 800-lawyer firm can help change the economic trajectory of minority communities.

The conversation has been edited for clarity and length.

REUTERS: Are there other law firms focused on serving minority business owners?

WHITE: Sure, there are smaller minority law firms and things of that nature, but on this scale I don’t think so. From an AmLaw 100 or AmLaw 200, I don’t see this and I think, honestly and unfortunately, that this is largely due to the lack of diversity. You don’t have partners or lawyers who recognize these special opportunities.

We have recognized at Husch Blackwell that there is a vital next step towards the goal of closing the racial wealth gap for society as a whole. Besides being the right thing to do, it makes business sense given the growing number of minority businesses that are critical to the continued growth of the United States, as well as the ever-increasing purchasing power of minorities. .

REUTERS: It appears that educating clients is a big part of this practice group rather than just counseling them.

WHITE: Perfect – precisely. We have a survey that we created that our clients fill out, and we can talk to them about the tax credits they might be entitled to, the tax breaks, how to structure their business, and some of the issues.

And according to you, that reduces this information gap. There are many great consultants, other professional advisers, but at the end of the day the best advisor a small business can have to start with is a lawyer. This is because not only do you have attorney-client privilege, but you can also enter into deals, and this experience is invaluable in educating clients and advancing the types of goals they seek. fix.

REUTERS: What are the rates like for clients working with this team?

WHITE: We meet clients where they are. We have a certain threshold of pro bono hours, reduced rates as well as fixed rates.

I have recognized in my experience that there are too many ‘do it yourself’ people and this is largely due to the fact that they just don’t think legal services are feasible. .

You can use our practice group’s discounted general counsel offer to get five hours of service for approximately $ 1,500. With the sophistication of our law firm and networks, you just can’t beat that kind of price when it comes to just developing tactics to help a business meet its goals. It therefore depends on the income and resources available to the company. It’s a different price scale, but we have something for everyone.

REUTERS: What specific tools do you give to your customers?

WHITE: I represent a large African American franchisor called Williams Chicken – it’s one of the biggest black-owned franchisors. One of the things they were looking for was how to create more economic opportunities for managers.

I worked with the company, which wasn’t really used to using private offers, micro-type offers, to raise capital so their executives could buy franchises and grow their businesses.

REUTERS: Is Husch Blackwell looking to make the squad bigger?

WHITE: Yes, the IDE is in grow mode. Currently, we are working internally to provide existing lawyers with opportunities to build their relationships and origins. We are always on the lookout for enterprising lawyers who want to be a part of this group as we move forward and build the infrastructure.

Chinekwu Osakwe

Chinekwu Osakwe covers legal industry news with a focus on mid-sized law firms. Contact her at [email protected]

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