Partner Joseph L. Richardson leads the firm’s
Racial & Economic Justice practice. This practice group is designed to be a voice for the community;
it is intentionally and uniquely positioned to bring actions against entities
and institutions whose policies disproportionately harm people of color
in the workplace and the consumer/small business marketplace. The group
encompasses areas including employment, civil rights, and consumer and
small business class actions.
In addition to litigation, Mr. Richardson also leads the department in
advocacy – partnering with leaders (business, community, political,
religious and others), and community institutions including schools and
nonprofits to shed light on and combat racial and economic inequality.
Mr. Richardson also leads the effort to identify meaningful pro bono opportunities
for the attorneys of the firm, whose professional pro bono work will be
directed in helping individuals and small businesses that are harmed by
Mr. Richardson uses his bridgebuilding skills in his legal representation
and jury trials, where he has been able to present in a way that allows
very different people to find commonality with his clients. He has been
involved in employment, class action, and other litigation involving treatment
of disadvantaged individuals, and has secured successful verdicts and
million-dollar settlements for clients. He has also advocated for churches
and non-profit entities.
Mr. Richardson’s background informs his work. Born and raised in
South-Central Los Angeles, he discovered an early passion for arguing
legal and political issues. In 1989, Mr. Richardson attended University
of Redlands, where he was student body president, hosted comedy shows
and won Senior of the Year. He interned in Congress in Washington D.C.
and wrote commentary on legal and political issues. At Northwestern Law
School, Mr. Richardson was an SBA student government leader, hosted on
campus cabarets, and travelled with the Kellogg School of Management to
Ghana as part of their Global Initiatives in Management program.
All his life, Mr. Richardson has been a leader and bridgebuilder, brokering
difficult conversations with diverse people – and holding them to
account when necessary – for the benefit of the community. He has
held elected leadership roles at every school he attended from elementary
school on. In 2017, Mr. Richardson began a campaign for Redlands City
Council which lasted more than a year, involved more than 100 meetings
with stakeholders, knocking on over 3,000 doors, and garnered support
from diverse individuals and groups, including public safety and labor.
Placing second, he received nearly 2,000 votes, and made major progress
toward becoming Redlands’ first African American city councilman.
In 2019, Mr. Richardson was appointed a member of the Redlands Planning
Commission. Since 2015, he has been an adjunct law professor at LaVerne
College of Law, teaching California Civil Procedure and Trial Advocacy.
Mr. Richardson is a frequent public speaker on legal and ethical responsibility,
leadership, civil rights, and today’s fronts in the search for justice.
He is also a frequent media contributor, appearing on local and national
television and writing on constitutional and justice issues. Personally,
he has stayed involved in the community through the Family Services Association
of Redlands, and the Garner Holt Foundation. He lives and practices in
his college town of Redlands, California.