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Robinson Gray receives USC Law School’s first-ever MLK Distinguished Service Award

COLUMBIA, S.C. – Robinson Gray Stepp & Laffitte has received the very first Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Distinguished Service Award, given by the University of South Carolina School of Law.

The award, which was voted on by students, was announced on the evening of January 12, 2023, as part of the law school’s inaugural Celebration of the Life and Legacy of Dr. King. The theme for the celebration was “Our Beloved Community: The Rule of Law in an Unruly World.”

The program was followed by a community reception, held as an opportunity for students, faculty, staff, and community members “to reflect on the legacy of Dr. King and build bonds of friendship toward confronting the many challenges that face our nation,” according to Assistant Professor Etienne C. Toussaint, who notified the firm that it would receive the honor.

“This award recognizes your law firm’s demonstrated commitment to public service, social justice, diversity, equity, and inclusion in the legal profession,” Toussaint wrote in a letter to the firm.

In citing Robinson Gray’s commitment to those principles, Toussaint touched upon values that go to the core of what the firm sees as its role in the community and across South Carolina.

Robinson Gray embraces inclusiveness at all levels of the firm – from hiring and seeking to retain diverse lawyers and employees to celebrating our differences in race, gender, age, ethnicity, national origin, sexual orientation, and religious preference. The firm works hard to create and maintain an atmosphere that promotes respect.

As to social justice, there is no value more strongly held at Robinson Gray than service to the community. The firm’s attorneys firmly believe that everyone deserves quality legal representation despite one’s race, ethnicity, socio-economic background, or financial situation. In recognition of this commitment, the firm received the South Carolina Bar 2022 Pro Bono Award, and was named as a “Pro Bono Leader” for South Carolina by the American Bar Association in 2020 and 2021.

“To receive this recognition at any time would be a tremendous honor for Robinson Gray,” said Cal Watson, managing member of the firm. “To have received the very first such award given, and to have it announced as part of our community’s celebration of our nation’s annual commemoration of Dr. King’s life, vision and accomplishments, makes the honor all the greater.”