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My Pride Story
Frankfurt colleague Michael Reuter shares his Pride story

To celebrate global Pride month, a number of our LGBT+ lawyers, business services colleagues and allies are sharing their own #MyPrideStory. Michael Reuter is part of our Business Development team, based in Frankfurt.

What does it mean to be part of the LGBT+ community?
The LGBT+ community helped me to come out many years ago when I was a youth. It also helped me with my second coming out at my job, so I know how important this community can be. Being part of the community comes with a certain responsibility to support others who are not yet ready for their coming out or who face sexual discrimination or just have questions.

With the Germany Spectrum LGBT+ affinity network, we have a great community within the Firm to support each other. It is a great, inclusive community that includes both LGBT+ people and straight allies.

What does it mean to be your whole, authentic self at work?
When I applied for my first job, the headhunter told me the legal industry is very conservative. This was the reason why I felt the need to hide my private life at work. We were a relatively small team with only three colleagues and it was very tiring for me to pretend to be someone else.

When I applied at White & Case, I put my cards on the table and told the team about my then boyfriend. This was, not surprisingly, no problem and made so many things easier at work.

What does the Firm do to foster a stronger sense of belonging for all?
In Germany, we have several affinity networks, including the Germany Spectrum LGBT+ network. This is an important area for White & Case and it shows that the Firm cares about its employees.

Within this network, we organize or participate in several events (e.g., our stand and network meeting at an annual Diversity career fair in Berlin). We have established contacts with other companies' diversity networks through the PROUT AT WORK foundation. This would not have been possible without the support of the Firm.

How does your experience as an LGBT+ person positively impact your work and your career?
I have met a lot of interesting people within the Firm⁠—it always helps to know your colleagues personally. Furthermore, I have access to a great and strong LGBT+ business network. With regard to my work as a pitch manager, I can put my experience into practice. The topic of diversity is more important than ever for our clients in pitch situations.

Why is being part of Spectrum important to you?
With the Spectrum network, we want to show that the Firm cares about LGBT+ issues. If there is only one person who benefits from the support provided by our Spectrum network, it is worth the effort. The Spectrum network also sends a message to the external community. Diversity is more important than ever for potential colleagues.

What's your advice for the next generation of LGBT+ lawyers?
I want to encourage everyone to take part in the Spectrum affinity network. They are a great bunch of people and you can make a difference for yourself or others.