Balch & Bingham’s “Owed No Duty” Goes Contrary to Southern Company’s Values

Southern Company has released its annual corporate responsibility report and they list their values including:

Unquestionable Trust

Honesty, respect, fairness and integrity drive our behavior. We keep our promises, and ethical behavior is our standard.

As we approach more publicly-traded companies about the controversies surrounding Balch & Bingham, Balch’s alleged dishonesty, disrespect, unfairness, and lack of integrity are garnering attention, especially now that Balch has declared in court filings that Balch “owed no duty” to Dave Roberson, the ex-Drummond Company executive who was lied to repeatedly by Balch-made millionaire Joel I. Gilbert.

Balch’s owing no duty exemplifies the arrogance of a firm that once was at the pinnacle of power two-years ago and now is mocked and laughed about in the highest of social circles.

Another Southern Company value also exemplifies a deep difference:

Total Commitment

We are committed to the success of our employees, our customers, our shareholders and our communities. We fully embrace, respect, and value our differences and diversity.

Balch & Bingham does not appear to embrace, respect, or value differences or diversity.

Balch has yet to apologize to the North Birmingham community for ex-partner Joel I. Gilbert’s horrendous conduct, including the targeting of poor black children. North Birmingham is an area that is 92.5% African-American.

With what looks like the only African-American female attorney in Balch’s Birmingham office, Kimberly Bell, to be allegedly let go, fired, or laid off while Balch trumpeted the hiring of a white male attorney in a one-man office in Augusta is beyond shameful.

The alleged actions appear to highlight institutional racism that Balch’s leadership could be ignoring.

As we wrote earlier this week:

Of the 203 profiled attorneys, partner, and staff on Balch’s website we reviewed last week, only three were African-American women, while two additional attorneys were African-American men.

All five African-Americans attorneys, partners, or Of Counsel appear to each be in a different regional office (Atlanta, Birmingham, Gulfport, Jackson, and Montgomery).

When you add the new additional attorney in Augusta, less than 2.5% of Balch and Bingham’s attorneys, partners, and top staff is African-American, according to a review of Balch’s website.

In the 9 different cities in which Balch has an office, the average African-American population is 52%.

For Southern Company CEO Tom Fanning to quietly distance the company from Balch & Bingham is of no surprise.

Who’s next?