MATA Statement Regarding the Death of George Floyd

Dear Friends and Colleagues,


The Massachusetts Academy of Trial Attorneys has long been an advocate for equal justice and institutional and personal accountability.  We join our colleagues in the legal community and citizens across the nation to mourn the death of George Floyd.  We also call for an end to the systemic inequalities in our justice system which killed Mr. Floyd and have caused many like him to suffer abuse, indignities and death since our nation’s founding.


We salute those who are exercising their First Amendment rights to speak out against these atrocities and advocate for equal rights for all under the law.  Our own local  history demonstrates that protest can be a necessary part of progress.


We hope that lawyers will use this as a time of self-reflection. MATA recognizes that our organization and the bar as a whole have not met the challenge in making our association, profession and justice system more diverse.  A system that does not reflect America cannot adequately represent America.  This disconnect results in repeated tragedies and crimes against society. 


Fifty-seven years ago, in response to the threats on the University of Alabama campus following desegregation attempts, John F. Kennedy said: I hope that every American, regardless of where he lives, will stop and examine his conscience about this and other related incidents. This Nation was founded by men of many nations and backgrounds. It was founded on the principle that all men are created equal, and that the rights of every man are diminished when the rights of one man are threatened….Now the time has come for this Nation to fulfill its promise.”


By 2020, we should have moved well beyond this basic expectation and fulfilled the promise our nation makes to its citizens, to treat them equally.  We can and must do better.


Locally and nationally, there are many outstanding civil rights and legal services organizations that are fighting to address the issues we are facing.  We hope you will look into these groups and support one that speaks to you.  As lawyers, we all enjoy a certain level of privilege in the world.  Those of us with this kind of privilege should commit to listen more, learn more, and work harder to make our system fairer for everyone.  Please do not let this moment go to waste.



Kathy Jo Cook

President, Massachusetts Academy of Trial Attorneys







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Credit: Trial Lawyers Association of DC.






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