MWA Partner Joseph L. Richardson discusses what justice means in pursuit of racial and economic parity and highlights steps we can all take to push forward together.
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 racist policies.
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.
- B.A., University of Redlands, 1993
- J.D. Northwestern University School of Law, 1996
- American Association for Justice
- Los Angeles County Bar Association
- National Bar Association
- Richard T. Fields Bar Association
- Riverside County Bar Association
- San Bernardino County Bar Association
- State Bar of California
Consumer Attorneys Association of Los Angeles
Consumer Attorneys of California
- “Life as a Courtroom,” Peabody Institute, Johns Hopkins University, August 2019
- “Dramatic Irony: Legal Rights and Ethical Leadership,” AFLV West Conference, San Diego, April 2019
- “Rules Surrounding Employee Accommodations for Cancer Patients,” Oncology Social Worker Symposium, University of California Riverside, February 2019
- “Sprains, Strains and Fractures: Athletes and the Law,” Cal State University Fullerton, November 2018
- “Sprains, Strains and Fractures: Greeks and the Law,” UCLA, December 2017