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by Vault Law Editors | June 18, 2020

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This week the Supreme Court of the United States ruled that Title VII applies to sexual orientation and gender identity. This decision is significant for the LGBTQ community, especially considering that per the ACLU, "in 31 states there are no explicit employment protections for transgender people."

One of out 10 LGBTQ workers have exited a job that wasn’t accepting of LGBTQ individuals according to The Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s report A Workplace Divided: Understanding the Climate for LGBTQ Workers Nationwide. This report also found that one out of 10 LGBTQ employees has heard negative comments about LGBTQ individuals from their supervisor.

In response to the SCOTUS decision, Gregory Nevins, Senior Counsel and Employment Fairness Project Director for Lambda Legal, stated, “It is incredibly gratifying to have the Supreme Court confirm what Lambda Legal and others have been arguing for years – federal sex discrimination laws protect against discrimination on the basis of a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity.  Every LGBTQ worker deserves the protections that our country’s federal law provides by its plain terms, and we are thrilled that today the Court agreed."

In honor of this week's decision, below are Vault's 2020 Top 10 Best Law Firms for LGBTQ individuals, along with associate quotes discussing the firms' diversity efforts.

O'Melveny & Myers LLP: “There are few firms who take diversity as seriously as OMM. In fact, this year was the inaugural year for a firmwide diversity retreat, where all attorneys of color, LGBTQ attorneys, and attorneys with disabilities were invited to a retreat in Los Angeles. In addition to being an incredible social event that gave diverse OMM attorneys an opportunity to meet each other, the retreat also hosted a bunch of keynote speakers, including Zoe Dunning, the first LGBTQ commander in the United States Military.”

Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP: “Our firm has both LGBTQ and Women’s affinity groups, which meet frequently. As an LGBTQ-identified associate, I’ve never felt uncomfortable with any partner or associate mentioning my same-sex partner, and have enjoyed the variety of LGBTQ-related events that have fostered camaraderie among associates and senior staff. There is currently [a] series on parenthood and associate/partner life being offered, which has been extremely instructive and interesting. While my firm is not free of the pervasive BigLaw issue of gender inequity at the partner level, I do believe that it is taking steps in the direction of remedying this problem.”

Ropes & Gray LLP: “The firm makes its commitment to diversity clear. There are many opportunities to get involved in groups and initiatives early on. The firm hosts many diversity events, which are widely attended and supported by all.”

Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP: “I’m LGBT. The firm has an LGBT affinity group that meets regularly to discuss current issues in the law and the firm. The firm also provides social opportunities for the LGBT members of the group to socialize with each other outside of the office, such as at happy hours.”

White & Case LLP: “As a minority, I find that the firm definitely puts in effort to promote diversity. That being said, the whole legal industry needs to do more. Relatively speaking, I think our firm is one of the top firms in terms of promoting diversity, as evidenced by the partnership and the work that the firm does.”

Carlton Fields, P.A.: “Other firms talk diversity; Carlton Fields walks the walk. They are serious about it, and not just at the hiring stage; they are serious about retaining and advancing diverse attorneys and employees.”

Clifford Chance US LLP: “The firm has made diversity and inclusion a priority, and they are very transparent about their goals here.”

Morrison & Foerster LLP: “The firm makes a really wonderful effort to be inclusive. As [an individual who identifies as LGBTQ], I feel very comfortable in the environment that has been created here.”

Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson LLP: “The firm is transparent in their focus on diversity. Diversity is valuable to the firm, and this is transparent in all aspects of the firm including hiring, retention, promotion, child care, parental leave, and mentoring.”

Latham & Watkins LLP: “As an LGBTQ individual, it’s been a great environment. It’s been particularly cool to see multiple gay partners.”

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