New York – LAWFUEL – Legal News Network – U.S. companies are making significant strides in their efforts to improve diversity initiatives for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) employees and clients, according to a survey of the nation’s largest employers.
This year, 138 companies received perfect scores for LGBT diversity, up from 101 companies in 2005, according to the Human Rights Campaign Foundation (HRC), the largest national advocacy group for LGBT Americans, which conducts the annual survey. Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP, was one of ten law firms to be awarded a perfect score.
“Orrick has long been a leader on diversity issues related to race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, and gender identity and expression,” said Lorraine McGowen, a New York partner who chairs the firm’s diversity committee. “We are proud of Orrick’s diversity programs and policies, which help the firm, and all of our lawyers and staff, thrive.”
Joseph Evall, a New York partner who heads Orrick’s LGBT initiatives, added: “We appreciate the recognition HRC is giving to Orrick’s LGBT diversity efforts. We believe that Orrick is a good and fair place for LGBT people to work, and look forward to Orrick’s continued service to the LGBT community through pro bono work and other efforts.”
Orrick has long provided domestic partner benefits to its employees. It encourages lawyers to participate in minority and LGBT professional associations by paying membership dues, and supports pro bono work by treating such work as billable client work for purposes of associate bonuses.
Orrick received a 2004 “Courage Award” from the NYC Gay and Lesbian Anti-Violence Project and has also done pro bono legal work for other LGBT organizations, such as the National Center for Lesbian Rights and the ACLU Lesbian and Gay Rights Project. In 2005, recognizing the success of its local LGBT and other affinity groups, Orrick’s diversity committee created firm-wide affinity groups to develop recommendations for the recruitment, retention and professional development of diverse attorneys. Orrick’s Executive Committee actively participates in these groups.
On September 7, the firm’s LGBT affinity group sponsored “Lavender Law,” a conference and career fair in Washington, D.C., which was attended by more than 250 LGBT students and potential employers as well as Orrick lawyers and staff from the firm’s New York, San Francisco and Washington, D.C., offices.
About Orrick’s Diversity Committee
Since 1990, Orrick’s Diversity Committee has advised management on a broad range of issues to ensure that Orrick is successful in hiring and retaining diverse lawyers. The committee oversees a diversity committee in each domestic office, and takes action to ensure that Orrick’s attorneys are diverse and to ensure that all Orrick lawyers are positioned to thrive personally and professionally. The firm-wide and office diversity committees assist in the firm’s lawyer recruiting efforts, associate orientation, the summer program, attorney training and development, the attorney mentoring program, pro bono work and community activities, and numerous other aspects of firm life. All attorneys are encouraged to support and participate in community bar associations and other organizations whose goal is to promote diversity in the legal profession.
Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP is an international law firm with more than 850 lawyers in North America, Europe, and Asia. The firm focuses on litigation, complex and novel finance, and innovative corporate transactions. Orrick clients include Fortune 100 companies, major industrial and financial corporations, commercial and investment banks, high-growth companies, governmental entities, start-ups, and individuals. The firm’s 16 offices are located in New York, Washington, D.C., San Francisco, Silicon Valley, Sacramento, Los Angeles, Orange County, Pacific Northwest, Hong Kong, London, Milan, Moscow, Paris, Rome, Taipei and Tokyo.