“While at Sidley, I’ve received a fantastic LGBTQ+ mentor, worked on local pro bono efforts with the support of Sidley and my peers, and been encouraged to take on pro bono initiatives that impact and improve the LGBTQ+ community.”
What do you think Sidley is doing right in terms of supporting LGBTQ+ law students and lawyers?
Having worked before at other firms, I can honestly say that Sidley’s commitment to and promotion of the LGBTQ+ community was one of the factors that weighed heavily on my mind when deciding to lateral. From Sidley’s long-standing 100% rating on HRC’s Corporate Equality Index to its deep pro bono roots with HRC, Lambda Legal and other national, state and local rights organizations, Sidley signals as an institution that LGBTQ+ equality is one of its core beliefs. While at Sidley, I’ve received a fantastic LGBTQ+ mentor, worked on local pro bono efforts with the support of Sidley and my peers, and been encouraged to take on pro bono initiatives that impact and improve the LGBTQ+ community. Moreover, Sidley’s benefits provide meaningful and equal parental leave for all parents (regardless of gender or orientation), and Sidley’s support of Pride signals both internally and externally that LGBTQ+ equality is part of our firm’s culture.
Sidley recently launched a new policy that allows all lawyers and staff the option of adding preferred pronouns in Outlook email signatures. What are your thoughts on the policy and has it affected your client relations at all?
Sidley’s decision to allow the use of personal pronouns in firm signature blocks is a low-cost, high-return way of supporting our transgender colleagues, clients and business contacts. Even if you don’t believe that you personally “need” to share your preferred gender pronouns, by doing so, you help make it less awkward and daunting for those in our Sidley community that do benefit from sharing their pronouns. As we all know from experience, it can be incredibly isolating to be the “only one” doing something; doing something that everyone else is already doing, though, is much less challenging.
Speaking from personal experience, my clients have either reacted incredibly positively, sparking up a conversation with me about how impressed they are with Sidley at the forefront of this change, or they didn’t notice, care or feel the need to remark on the addition of the pronouns to my signature block. Either way, I had no negative reactions at all and felt the benefit far outweighed the “cost.”