Monday, July 09, 2007

Wanted: Openly Gay Lawyers

This article in the Miami Herald on openly gay attorneys is encouraging ( Unfortunately, if Miami is near the center of the gay solar system, the Norfolk area must rank somewhere areound the former planet Pluto. Hopefully, HRBOR will help change this situation as more and more of the business public comes to learn that there is a sizable gay population in the area and that many of us have money and are business owners. Here are a few highlights:
Many gay and lesbian lawyers today are out of the closet, ready to assist clients who have same-sex partners and children. And large law firms have caught on, too, that top-notch gay staff attorneys can bring in big gay business.

The number of openly gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender lawyers increased by more than 50 percent from 2002 to 2006, reports the National Association for Law Placement. The nonprofit group, which uses data from about 700 large U.S. law firms, reported 1,733 openly gay lawyers in 2006, up from about 1,100 four years earlier. Openly gay lawyers represent 1.8 percent of associates and 1.1 percent of partners.
Some lawyers still prefer not to publicly identify as gay. One prominent Miami attorney -- out socially in the gay community -- declined to be named in this article. ''Not comfortable. Sorry,'' he wrote by e-mail.

And some say the legal community is actually behind other sectors of corporate America when it comes to recruiting gays. ''It's trying to catch up, but it's behind the rest of the corporate world,'' said Steven Kozlowski, who practices business and entertainment law. ``It's traditionally a conservative profession. It's the last stronghold -- unless you count the military as a profession.''

Large law firms in other parts of the country have begun recruiting openly gay and lesbian attorneys, to diversify the firms and help bring in gay dollars. For the past five years or so, there has been ''an ongoing demand of clients'' that the legal profession employ talented minorities, including gay people, said Peter Prieto, executive partner of Holland & Knight's Miami office.
I guess as one of this area's few, if not only, totally out attorneys, I am "ahead of the curve."

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