“While the number of all LGBTQ+ lawyers within the legal profession needs to increase, there should also be a particular focus on recruitment of LGBTQ+ lawyers of color, female-identifying LGBTQ+ lawyers — whether cisgender or transgender — and non-binary LGBTQ+ lawyers.”
How did you choose to make Sidley your professional home? Did the firm’s LGBTQ+ initiatives or support for diversity and inclusion play a role?
When we embark on the arduous journey of choosing a professional home after law school, it can be difficult to discern the difference between large law firms. However, after my interview with Sidley, the firm immediately stood out from the rest. Not only did Sidley check all the boxes — sophisticated and interesting clients, exciting transactions and incredibly sharp and welcoming lawyers — but the firm’s dedication to diversity and inclusion, particularly in the realm of LGBTQ+ initiatives, made Sidley the clear choice. I was already aware that Sidley was a leader within the legal profession for LGBTQ+-related advocacy, whether via the firm’s robust pro bono program or its partnerships with Lambda Legal and other LGBTQ+ bar associations. But on a more micro level, it was clear to me that Sidley cared for, and supported, its LGBTQ+ lawyers. Through Sidley’s mentoring programs and other fellowship programming, I’ve had the privilege of getting to know Sidley’s LGBTQ+ lawyers from all over the world and across different practice areas.
In your opinion, what more needs to be done or should be done in terms of creating a more diverse and inclusive work environment for the LGBTQ+ community within the legal profession?
While Sidley has done an outstanding job of ensuring a diverse and inclusive work environment for its LGBTQ+ lawyers, there is always more work to be done. While the number of all LGBTQ+ lawyers within the legal profession needs to increase, there should also be a particular focus on recruitment of LGBTQ+ lawyers of color, female-identifying LGBTQ+ lawyers — whether cisgender or transgender — and non-binary LGBTQ+ lawyers. This focused recruitment can start when these lawyers are in law school or university during a time where they are developing their passions, voices and opinions. We should ensure these students have access to LGBTQ+ lawyers of similar background through mentoring programs or other targeted networking opportunities. I look forward to being a part of Sidley’s continued efforts on this front.
Is there anything you would like to mention about your involvement in advocating for LGBTQ+ rights and equality?
In 2018, I learned of several “religious freedom bills” that were quietly being signed into law across the United States. Such laws allow adoption agencies to refuse to allow parents to adopt children based on the agency’s “sincerely held beliefs.” Frustrated by this license to discriminate and its potential impact on my future and that of my LGBTQ+ colleagues, I published an article about these “religious freedom laws” in which I set forth a constitutional and policy-based analysis resulting in a favorable outcome for the impacted parents. As we see more legal development in this area and a case involving these laws inevitably makes its way through the courts, I look forward to being a part of the push for change in any way possible.