Interview with the chair of the LGBT+ Lawyers Committee
Katrina has been chair of the Law Society’s LGBT+ Lawyers Division Committee since August 2017 and has a lot to show for it.
The division’s numbers have skyrocketed in recent months and the whole committee’s incredibly hard work has not gone unnoticed.
Even though Katrina has a packed schedule for LGBT History Month, she found the time to answer some questions about her experiences with being a part of the LGBT+ community and what her aspirations are for the future of the division.
Do you think the legal profession engages with History Month as much as they should?
Larger firms and government legal teams really do engage very well. Smaller and mid-size practices could become more engaged with their local LGBT+ or Pride groups. The support of local diversity groups will undoubtedly promote the firm and profits, of course.
Do you have any ideas for how people could mark this month at work?
Network with LGBT+ solicitors from local firms and in-house teams.
Raise money for a local or national LGBT+ charity by enlisting your colleagues to do something fun and interesting!
Do you feel like being out has affected how people behave towards you at work?
Yes, they see me as more approachable and many identify with the discrimination I have faced in the past (because of their own protected characteristics).
More importantly, because I can bring my whole self to work I am happier and more productive and that is recognised by senior colleagues.
How do you feel about your experience of working with the LGBT+ Lawyers Division?
Absolutely fantastic! The committee are so passionate about our objectives and we work very well with the other diversity committees as well.
Those who discriminate rarely restrict their actions to just one group of people, so working together is very beneficial for us all.
What aspirations do you have for the division?
To continue to assist LGBT+ lawyers at every step of their career as well as giving advice to firms and in-house teams about supporting their LGBT+ colleagues.
We also want to continue to increase our membership and hold events across England and Wales.
Do you feel like the LGBT+ community is well represented in the legal profession?
I believe we are in larger cities in England and Wales and in larger firms. Although, there is still a noticeable absence of LGBT+ lawyers in more senior head and partner roles and this is true also for all diverse communities.
I believe this is often because of unconscious bias and so we still have much work to do.
Have you seen any significant change in the world’s perception of LGBT+ people over recent years?
I absolutely have and it's marvellous! For example, I never would have dreamed that equal marriage would be possible in England, Ireland and America, etc.
There is also much more recognition of trans rights as well, although still lagging behind other equality improvements.
I am saddened by the fact that the death penalty still exists in so many countries for our community so we cannot rest on our laurels.
Do you feel like the legal profession is progressive? If not, what would you realistically like to see change?
Yes in many areas, but not in recruitment.
The Law Society have great Social Ambassadors and I would like more firms to actively recruit from students who have not attended traditional universities. There is a great deal of untapped talent waiting for a chance to shine.