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Celebrating Pride around the world

June 2024: At White & Case, we celebrate Pride year-round, but each June, we take a moment to specifically honor and spotlight our LGBTQ+ colleagues and people around the world. This year, we are doing this through the lens of "Pride and Partnership," and focusing on how LGBTQ+ communities and allies have worked together to achieve positive change.

Luke Miller (Associate, New York), Oliver Summers (Advisor, Early Careers Recruitment, Melbourne) and Jean Renaldy (Associate, Singapore), all members of our Spectrum LGBTQ+ network, share their perspectives on successful partnerships.

Tell us about your experience of collaboration between LGBTQ+ communities and allies.

Oliver Summers: As part of the APAC Early Careers Team, I'm able to facilitate partnerships between the Firm and LGBTQ+-identifying students as part of the region's wider early careers engagement. By utilizing my network of LGBTQ+-identifying individuals and allies within the Firm's Spectrum LGBTQ+ network, I'm able to showcase our commitment to diversity and our inclusive environment at student events. This ensures we recruit top early careers talent that are aware of, and aligned with, the Firm's values.

Luke Miller: Recently, New York City-based members of the Spectrum LGBTQ+ affinity network and Firm allies organized a "Day of Service" at Gay Men's Health Crisis (GMHC), the oldest volunteer kitchen to serve meals to members of the New York community living with HIV and AIDS—many of whom are LGBTQ+.

We had an incredibly rewarding experience working with the organization, and we hope to repeat the "Day of Service" model in the future. We also plan to explore an expansion of our involvement with the organization's legal services programming to see how Spectrum and Firm allies can utilize our expertise in the legal field to work with this community again.

How has the partnership between LGBTQ+ communities and allies positively impacted the Firm?

Jean Renaldy: More and more, equality in the workplace is a key aspect of attracting top-tier talent. With the international nature of our work, we need to ensure that the Firm is seen as upholding the global standards for diversity and inclusivity, so that we are able to attract the best talent out there.

OS: The intersection of my day job and my involvement in the Spectrum LGBTQ+ network positions me well to support and empower juniors, both LGBTQ+-identifying and allies, to drive initiatives that matter to them. By providing them with opportunities to showcase their talents and contribute beyond their day-to-day work, they're able to build their internal brand and presence, which is invaluable for their professional development at the Firm and in finding a sense of belonging.

A recent example of this was a panel for IDAHOBIT, which was facilitated by a paralegal in the Melbourne office, and highlighted one of Australia's existing pro bono partnerships through an LGBTQ+/gender lens – through spotlighting this client, we were able to further our pro bono efforts with them.

JR: It sends the right message to the Firm's employees that it is committed to diversity. It also fosters awareness among the broader Firm community of the challenges faced by the LGBTQ+ community.

From a personal standpoint, through one of the events we did with a local NGO in Singapore focusing on LGBTQ+ rights, I was able to discuss with colleagues, my difficulty in having to have a long-distance relationship with my partner given that Singapore does not currently recognize any form of same-sex relationship as dependents. It made the issues more human, and I did feel that the team were able to build a much more inclusive work place just by having these events which raised awareness to the different experiences and challenges facing the community.

How can we continue to build on the successes of past partnerships to drive further positive change?

LM: One area where there is significant enthusiasm among the Spectrum community is the possibility of getting involved in impact litigation to counteract the current attacks on transgender individuals across the US.

While the Firm already works with the Transgender Legal Defense Fund (TLDEF) to assist with name and gender marker changes on identification documents, we hope to expand our partnership with TLDEF to represent clients in court battles as well, whether that be in the form of amicus briefs, counsel in class action litigations, or elsewhere.