To provide the best possible service to our clients, Kirkland strives to hire, train and retain the most talented attorneys. Part of this commitment includes fostering an environment in which all lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) attorneys have the greatest opportunities to thrive.
In 2007, Kirkland formed a LGBT Subcommittee of the Firmwide Diversity Committee specifically to address the needs and concerns of LGBT attorneys and staff. Litigation partner Elizabeth Deeley and intellectual property partner Edward Sadtler are Co-Chairs of the LGBT Subcommittee. Kirkland has frequent networking, educational and leadership events and programs directed at LGBT attorneys and issues, including as part of the Firm's Diversity Leadership Series.
Kirkland has received many accolades for its diversity efforts. In 2009, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation's largest advocacy group for LGBT Americans, gave Kirkland its first-ever "Award for Workplace Equality Innovation." Kirkland was recognized for its "ALLSA" initiative, a program that formalizes the Firm's outreach to LGBT, racial/ethnic minority and women law students by matching attorneys with diverse student organizations across the country. To view a video about Kirkland’s “ALLSA” initiative presented at the 2009 HRC awards gala, please click here.
Kirkland received a score of 100 percent on the HRC Corporate Equality Index (CEI) survey in 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012, earning recognition as one of the "Best Places to Work for LGBT Equality."
In 2012, for the third year in a row, Kirkland was named a top LGBT-friendly firm by Equality Illinois, an organization committed to securing, protecting and defending equal rights for LGBT residents in Illinois.
Representative Pro Bono Matters
Kirkland, in partnership with Lambda Legal, represents 16 same-sex couples and their children in a lawsuit in Illinois state court against the Cook County clerk, who denied the couples marriage licenses. The case argues that barring same-sex couples and their children from marriage is a violation of the Illinois Constitution's guarantee of equal protection and due process.
Kirkland, in partnership with the ACLU LGBT Project and the ACLU of Michigan, is representing five same-sex couples in Michigan in a federal lawsuit to strike down a Michigan state law that bans many public entities from providing health care insurance to the domestic partners of their employees. The plaintiffs are gay and lesbian couples in long-term relationships who have either lost their health insurance or will lose their health insurance as a result of the law.
Kirkland is collaborating with The Williams Institute on a nationwide survey assessing the impact of unconstitutional sodomy laws that remain on the books.
Kirkland received a Safe Haven Award from Immigration Equality for its Firmwide LGBT Asylum Project in both 2010 and 2012. Kirkland has represented more than 20 Immigration Equality clients during its pro bono partnership with the organization.
The Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund (TLDEF) presented Kirkland with its 2012 Advocacy Award for the Firm's pro bono work on TLDEF's Name Change Project, which ensures that transgender individuals can successfully navigate the legal process involved in changing their names in order to move forward with their lives.
Comprehensive medical, dental, vision and other benefits for domestic partners and their children.
Medical plans that encompass procedures specific to transgender employees, meeting standards issued by the World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH).
The Firm supports organizations concerned with workplace equality and the rights of LGBT persons, including:
ACLU LGBT & AIDS Project
AIDS Legal Council of Chicago
American Civil Liberties Union — LGBT and AIDS Project
Bay Area Lawyers for Individual Freedom
Chicago Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, Inc.
Equal Justice Works
Howard Brown Health Center
National Center for Lesbian Rights
National LGBT Bar Association (Lavender Law)
The Williams Institute
Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund
Washington Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs
As part of Kirkland's award-winning "ALLSA" initiative, Kirkland attorney liaisons work with more than a dozen LGBT student groups at law schools around the country. The"ALLSA" initiative has a dedicated budget and offers support for each group ranging from networking events to more substantive study skills, resume review, interview training and career development programs.
An Ongoing Commitment
LGBT attorneys at Kirkland gather each year for a Firmwide dinner and client networking event in connection with the National LGBT Bar Association's Lavender Law Conference & Career Fair. In addition to regular meetings of the LGBT Subcommittee, local office Diversity Leadership Series events, Diversity Networking Forums and informal affinity group gatherings bring LGBT attorneys together to network, learn important skills and discuss issues faced by diverse law students and attorneys.
Kirkland's LGBT affinity group collaborates with the Firm's Women's Leadership Initiative and its Diversity Leadership Series to provide formal training, mentoring and leadership opportunities for LGBT, women and diverse attorneys via discussions, informational lunches and training sessions on topics of interest to attorneys at the Firm. Demonstrating Kirkland's leadership in the LGBT legal community, four Firm attorneys were selected by the National LGBT Bar Association as among the country's Best LGBT Lawyers Under 40 in the list's first two years, including intellectual property partners Jordan Heinz, Joseph Loy and Sarah Piepmeier in 2011.