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Life at White & Case
Introducing Spectrum – our LGBT+ network

White & Case's Spectrum LGBT+ Affinity Network reflects our commitment to our lawyers and business services employees who identify as LGBT+, as well as those who do not identify as LGBT+ and wish to support the network as allies.
 
"When I started at the Firm, it was important to me that there was an LGBT+ affinity group," says London legal assistant Peter Saban. "I needed to feel that there were people like me who were succeeding here, and that there were people who could support me both at work and socially."

London professional support lawyer Kate Buttrey explains more: "It's important for the Firm to support LGBT+ colleagues both because it is the right thing to do and because it makes good business sense. The benefits of supporting and encouraging diversity in the workplace are numerous, including the development of a creative and innovative workforce and the attraction and retention of the best talent."

LGBTQ+ diversity: Valued by our clients

For associate Nathaniel Crowley, co-chair of Spectrum in London, an active LGBT+ network is also something that clients expect. "A visible network demonstrates our commitment to diversity."

Partnering with our clients is another important aspect of Spectrum's activities, as Nathaniel explains. "We have a great partnership with BNP Paribas; we jointly collaborate to celebrate Pride in London." Each year, different offices celebrate Pride around the world, with clients, families and friends encouraged to get involved and join in the fun. 

“A visible network demonstrates our commitment to diversity.”

Friendships, networking and support

"As the only gay woman in my law class, it certainly felt lonely at times," says New York associate Michaela Pickus. "Now I've made some of my best friends at the Firm through the Spectrum network."

As well as peer support, our local groups around the world organize social and networking opportunities, both internally and with the LGBT+ networks of White & Case clients and other law firms. Frankfurt partner and chair of the German Spectrum network Dennis Heuer explains more: "Spectrum events are a chance for members to share common goals, get involved and shape the firm's corporate culture. It also provides a safety zone for people struggling with embracing their differentness and seeking the support of like-minded colleagues."

The network also regularly hosts or sponsors programs and seminars, such as the US LGBT Bar Association's annual Lavender Law conference, or PROUT AT WORK in Germany. Such events not only provide valuable education on legal and other issues affecting the LGBT+ community, they are also great opportunities for professional development.

Recruiting the diverse talent of the future

New York associate Brigid Bone says that she has been impressed with White & Case's commitment to recruiting diverse candidates. Dennis Heuer mentions in the coming months, Spectrum Germany will host a new kind of recruiting event: "This will be targeted exclusively at people who self-identify as diverse in terms of their sexual orientation and/or cultural origins." 

Nathaniel Crowley often talks to LGBT+ students on campus to give them an insight into working at White & Case, and agrees with Brigid that it's a great chance to tell students how they can succeed at a global law firm without hiding any part of their identity. She says, "This is somewhere that you can bring your full self to work."

Growing membership and celebrating Pride

David Courchaine, Washington, DC associate and co-chair of the US network, recalls the Pride celebrations in New York and Washington, DC. "Spectrum members, old and new, turned out in droves to celebrate along with their friends and family and with key clients of the Firm, including BNP Paribas (New York event) and our pro bono partner Whitman-Walker Health (DC event). In New York, more than 120+ people gathered at Cafeteria Diner, directly on the Pride parade route. In DC, close to 100 people gathered in style at a DuPont Circle hotel also right on the parade route, and many members joined in with Whitman-Walker's float to walk in the parade."

He confirms that it's an exciting time, with new members and exciting plans. "In 2019, Spectrum saw huge growth in membership and we recently confirmed five new action committees, covering topics including Leadership Lunches and a forthcoming Speaker series."

The importance of allies

For New York partner Arlene Arin Hahn, supporting Spectrum as an ally is an important part of her role on the Global Diversity Committee. "I'm involved both as an ally and as a strong proponent of their agenda and goals." 

So what does being an ally mean? "Firstly, you have to be protective of your colleagues; protecting them against bias and giving them a safe place to work. It also means being proactive and making sure that you're being inclusive in everything you do." 

The final word goes to London legal assistant Edwina Morgan, who says that "I don't see myself just as an ally, I see myself as a member of a group that's celebrating diversity."

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Find out more about our commitment to diversity and inclusion