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My Pride Story
Washington, DC associate David Courchaine shares his Pride story

David Courchaine is an associate in our Global Antitrust/Competition and White Collar/Investigations Practices in Washington, D.C.  He devotes significant time to assisting LGBTQ+ and other clients pro bono.  He is a co-chair of White & Case's US Spectrum LGBTQ+ Affinity Network.

What does it mean to be part of the LGBTQ+ community?
I have a strong sense of pride as a member of the LGBTQ+ community.  A great advantage of membership is an instant feeling of connection and fellowship with other members.  But I also recognize that being LGBTQ+ frequently comes with challenges, and for some, great difficulties.  

For me, being part of the LGBTQ+ community means that I have a duty to find ways to encourage other LGBTQ+ individuals in their pursuits and make efforts to help them find acceptance and success where I can.

What does it mean to be your whole, authentic self at work?
When I am at work, I am focused on delivering high quality work product and advice for my clients.  Being out as LGBTQ+ at work has not changed that, but it has helped me to build a stronger connection with my colleagues, including those who also identify as LGBTQ+ as well as those who do not.  

This connection helps me to feel more at ease, open, and trusting with members of my team, and I believe that makes the overall team stronger.  In my experience, there is a direct correlation between the strength of a team and the quality of the work product the team generates. 

What does the Firm do to foster a stronger sense of belonging for all?
White & Case takes diversity seriously and has devoted significant resources to its internal affinity networks, including the Firm's Spectrum LGBTQ+ Affinity Networks in the United States, London, and Germany.

Spectrum's membership is significant and growing all the time, drawing LGBTQ+ lawyers and business services professionals, as well as allies, from more than a dozen of the Firm's offices across the globe.  

I have had the great pleasure of taking on leadership roles in Spectrum, working to enhance the Firm experience of LGBTQ+ and non-LGBTQ+ colleagues alike through education, celebration, and other forms of engagement.  I believe such engagement makes everyone in the firm's offices feel a stronger sense of belonging.

How does your experiences as a LGBTQ+ person positively impact your work and career? 
Attending Lavender Law—an LGBTQ+ conference and career fair organized by the National LGBT Bar Association each year—has showcased for me the huge quantity of talented LGBTQ+ attorneys that are active in virtually all fields of the law.  

At the conference, I have engaged with numerous business leaders and industry professionals and have made significant connections on a national level.  Through conversations with LGBTQ+ professionals, I gain new perspectives on what issues in the law are most pressing to businesses.  

Being an active member of the LGBTQ+ legal community and participating in conferences and events like Lavender Law provides me with opportunities for social engagement that help me grow my business network and stay up-to-date regarding which legal services are most in demand.

Why is being part of Spectrum important to you?
We have come a long way in supporting LGBTQ+ rights at White & Case, in the United States, and in society more broadly.  But there is still work to do.  For example, US Spectrum is actively reviewing White & Case policies to ensure greater gender inclusivity. 

Spectrum is important to me as a firm-backed social network within which I can help empower and enable other members of the Firm to support the LGBTQ+ community.  We need this support to maintain the progress we have already made for LGBTQ+ rights and to implement new initiatives to make further progress towards fully LGBTQ+ equality.

What's your advice for the next generation of LGBTQ+ lawyers?
I encourage all new LGBTQ+ lawyers to make a real effort to be ‘out' in their workplaces.  This is the most important and effective way to maintain/create LGBTQ+ equality.

How are you planning to celebrate Pride virtually this year?
This June, among other activities, I am going to watch and re-watch loads of LGBTQ+ movies with my husband and, while social distancing appropriately, with family and friends.