Milwaukee-based Hupy and Abraham’s commitment to diversity is firmly rooted in its history. One of the firm’s founders, the attorney Lloyd Barbee, filed the first school-integration lawsuit to move forward in Milwaukee in the 1960s.
“It’s something we take very seriously,” said the firm shareholder Jason Abraham. “We understand that certain groups can be marginalized in our society and we look at it as an obligation to try to do whatever we can to bridge that gap and have everyone thrive … I think you’re a better organization and better country if everyone’s needs can be met and everyone can be heard.”
The firm’s internal efforts have led to the hiring of a diverse workforce – 15 percent of the firm’s employees are people of color. In addition, the firm has formed a bilingual team dedicated to not only translating for clients who don’t speak English but helping them all the way through a case.
“It just shows people that we’re sensitive and understand that there are lots of different groups of people that need legal services, and you want to make them feel comfortable when they call the firm,” said Abraham. “And we want our employees who are either of color or Hispanic to understand that we care about their environment, we care about where they come from, we care about making their communities a better place.”
The firm also invests time and money in both organizations and causes that work to promote diversity in the general community.
Abraham’s firm, for instance, has supported the NAACP Freedom Fund Dinner. For a decade, the firm was a partner of the NAACP, giving $10,000 a year in college scholarships. Each year, Abraham, representing a local firm, would present checks to 10 students alongside large companies such as Coca-Cola Co. and MillerCoors.
“What a great organization that works so hard in the African-American community to make a difference and make sure people of color are treated fairly,” he said.
Now, Abraham says, the firm is taking more of a grass-roots approach. In the past three years, the firm has given more than a half a million dollars to various groups.
Hupy and Abraham, for instance, supports and lends time to programs to benefit inner-city children. It has helped organize backpack giveaways and supported schools such as the Malaika Early Learning Center, which specializes in providing high quality education to economically disadvantaged children in Milwaukee.
The firm has also supported and participated in PeppNation Sports Leadership Camps, which helps at-risk children develop their athletic abilities and sends them to college with scholarships.
Hupy and Abraham also donates time and money to various legal organizations dedicated to helping low-income people and families such as the Legal Aid Society of Milwaukee, Centro Legal and the Milwaukee Justice Center.
“We have a mission statement that we are going to give back based on our successes,” Abraham said. “We’ve been successful client by client, individual by individual – so we like to give back in that way.”