A report on Law Society activities for LGBT History Month 2019
A conscious effort to increase regional engagement was a great success for the Law Society and the LGBT+ Lawyers Division (LGBT+LD) after a number of firms and organisations across England and Wales accepted our offer to work together.
New skills were learned and new audiences reached; contentious topics were discussed; and membership of the LGBT+ Lawyers Division hugely increased.
Common themes emerged and will help our work in supporting LGBT+ solicitors and colleagues, as well as LGBT+ rights in general.
Speed networking - London (1 February) and Cardiff (21 February)
Chris Seel gave networking advice at the Cardiff speed networking event
Attendees from across the legal profession learned general and LGBT+ specific skills from members of the LGBT+LD committee, and practised them in both formal and informal networking sessions.
Guidance on networking skills is being produced to reflect these practical sessions, and will be published on our website.
Regional diversity and inclusion forums - Bristol (6 February) and Birmingham (13 February)
The LGBT+LD committee took part in the Birmingham diversity and inclusion forum
Members of the LGBT+LD committee joined these regular meetings to discuss what the division is doing and hear about the issues being faced within firms and organisations.
Common themes included lack of numbers (meaning that multi-organisational networks may be needed) and lack of understanding of parts of the LGBT+ community.
Watershed moments past and present - London (13 February)
LGBT+LD committee member Jonathan Wheeler, managing partner at Bolt Burdon Kemp, and others discussed LGBT History Month milestones for Bindmans LLP's celebration of LGBT History Month.
Hate crimes discussion - London (15 February)
Panellists at RPC discussed the effects of the Admiral Duncan bombing
Chris Seel, diversity and inclusion adviser at the Law Society, chaired a panel discussion at RPC on the effects of the Admiral Duncan bombing 20 years ago.
Panellists highlighted the need to remain vigilant and call out/report hate crimes wherever they occur - including in the workplace.
Trans discussions - Bristol (21 February) and London (27 February)
Bridget Garrood spoke about trans equality at Leigh Day
At RPC in Bristol, LGBT+LD committee memer Bridget Garrood, partner at Cartridges Law, discussed how much change the Gender Recognition Act has made in the 15 years since it was enacted.
At Leigh Day in London, she also participated in an update on trans equality.
Breakthrough moments: LGBT people and the law - Leeds (27 February)
Irwin Mitchell hosted Leeds' cross-industry/profession LGBT Diversity Group's panel event, in which Law Society diversity and inclusion adviser Chris Seel shared his experiences of working in the law for almost 30 years.
Diversity discussion - Cheltenham (28 February)
Representatives from Charles Russell Speechlys and Cheltenham Junior Lawyers Division met to discuss diversity
Charles Russell Speechlys and Cheltenham Junior Lawyers Division discussed practical issues with achieving LGBT+ inclusion, and Chris Seel shared what the Law Society and the LGBT+LD are doing to promote diversity and inclusion.
The latest in our series of podcasts featured LGBT+LD committee members sharing what LGBT History Month means to them, how they mark it, and why it is still important.
Press and newsletter features
Law Society Gazette
Items from LGBT+ Lawyers Division committee members:
- Opinion piece - Paul Maddock, associate at DWF, explored LGBT+ regional networks.
- My Legal Life - Bridget Garrood, partner at Cartridges Law, discussed her life and career.
Other LGBT+ content:
- Campaigner Wesley Gryk gave an interview.
- Alison Stanley, partner at Bindmans, reflected on some of the watershed moments in legal developments affecting LGBT+ rights.
- Eduardo Reyes reviewed Gently Down the Stream.
Ewan Watson gave his tips for setting up in-house LGBT+ staff networks
- Writing for the Law Society blog Max Rossiter, trainee at RPC, talked about the importance of being an ally.
- Chair of the LGBT+LD Katrina Robinson MBE was interviewed for our monthly D&I newsletter.
- Committee member Ewan Watson, vice president of legal and business affairs at Warner Bros, International Television Distribution, recorded a short video with his tips for setting up an in-house LGBT+ staff networks - kindly produced by Crafty Counsel.