Joshua Jones is a managing associate in the Investment Funds group, based in the London office.
You are currently a member of the London LGBTQ+ networking group and the Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Committee Associate Leader for the London office. Can you tell us about these groups and your roles?
The London LGBTQ+ group is the office networking group for those who identify as part of the LGBTQ+ community and allies. We have a broad remit of furthering the recruitment, retention, and promotion of LGBTQ+ lawyers within the office. The group is self-governed and supported by the fantastic London Diversity team. Currently, we get together for quarterly networking events and are planning outreach events for LGBTQ+ students for the next graduate recruitment cycle. As the Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Committee Associate Leader for the London office, I relay the activities of the LGBTQ+ group and other affinity groups within the London office to the global Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion committee, raising any concerns and sentiments coming from our associates on diversity matters.
Do you think your professional experience has been different as a member of the LGBTQ+ community?
For me, I don’t feel my career has been materially impacted by being gay. I am incredibly fortunate to have entered the profession at a time when being a gay man was no longer considered taboo — at least in professional circles in a cosmopolitan city such as London — and to have never experienced any direct discrimination in my professional life. I’m acutely conscious that gay lawyers in the generations before me, and other parts of the LGBTQ+ community to this day, including, in particular, the transgender and nonbinary communities, may not enjoy the same acceptance that I have experienced. There is still work to do to protect and enshrine LGBTQ+ rights. In a turbulent political climate, we unfortunately cannot take for granted the progress that has been made.
How important do you think diversity, equity, and inclusion is to the next generation of Sidley lawyers?
It is clear that the next generation of lawyers is not willing to confine their support of inclusion, justice, and equality to their personal lives, and that they expect and demand that these values are shared and authentically promoted in the workplace. In particular, I have seen young lawyers and candidates who don’t themselves identify as part of a diverse community asking more questions and supporting the firm’s commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion. I think this speaks to the fact that the next generation sees that valuing the contributions of different voices and lawyers from different backgrounds as being reflective of a positive culture more generally.