In a journal for the New York State Bar Association, Greenberg Traurig attorney Kelly McNamee argues that law firms should re-think their approaches to LGBT+ recruitment and retention. Sharing her own experiences with both law school and the firm application process, Kelly describes how workplace homophobia and how “diversity,” more broadly, is framed in Big Law firms causes many young, talented, LGBT+ lawyers to remain at smaller firms.
Kelly describes how LGBT+ legal circles have come to focus on gay white men because of the way many firms define and prioritize “diversity” within their ranks. She stresses the importance of addressing “what LGBT diversity efforts in private practice mean to the number of talented queer attorneys who do not fit the white, cisgender, and male epitome.” Kelly advocates for approaching diversity within an intersectional framework, where race, class, gender, and ability must be taken into account when it comes to such diversity protocols.
Kelly says a reorientation of these initiatives will benefit the firms as well. She writes:
“The brilliant transgender man who graduated summa cum laude from a top school, sat through 25 on-campus interviews, and failed to receive a single call back offer, would appreciate these discussions. The firm that attempted to recruit a black, gender non-conforming queer person with credentials to die for and a reluctance to even consider a position in private practice for fear of discrimination would be eager to participate in these discussions. And, I would wager, the white, privileged, gay men I had lunch with nearly 10 years ago, many who now sit in positions of power across the country, would welcome and seek to advance these discussions.”
Read more at the New York State Bar Association