Ropes & Gray is committed to ensuring that our lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender lawyers feel welcome in the workplace. In addition to an active diversity committee, which addresses policy issues, the firm’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Lawyers Forum (LGBT Forum) welcomes LGBT attorneys to Ropes & Gray and provides ongoing support.
The LGBT Forum sponsors events throughout the year, including a gathering for summer associates and receptions that feature speakers on current legal topics important to the LGBT community. The LGBT Forum also sponsors firm attendance at events such as the Massachusetts LGBTQ Bar Association Annual Spring Dinner in Boston and the Lambda Legal Liberty Awards National Dinner in New York City. Members of the LGBT Forum participate in the hiring process and act as resources for LGBT summer associates.
LGBT Forum members also help to identify and coordinate firm-sponsored lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender pro bono matters. Forum members have acted as co-counsel, representatives or amici in the Goodridge case (which gave same-sex couples the right to marry in Massachusetts), as well as in the New York marriage cases. Ropes & Gray also represented the Anti-Defamation League and a coalition of other religious organizations as amici opposing Section 3 of the Federal Defense of Marriage Act.
In 2015, appellate & Supreme Court partner Doug Hallward-Driemeier argued the pivotal marriage equality case Obergefell v. Hodges before the Supreme Court, addressing the second of two questions under consideration by the justices, “Does the Fourteenth Amendment require a state to recognize a marriage between two people of the same sex when their marriage was lawfully licensed and performed out-of-state?”
Additionally, several attorneys have worked with the legal organization Immigration Equality to obtain asylum for individuals persecuted in their home countries due to their sexual orientation, gender identity or HIV status. In 2014, Law360 recognized Ropes & Gray as a “Pro Bono Firm of the Year,” for contributing over 115,000 hours of pro bono services over the course of 2013.
Since 2009, Ropes & Gray has earned the top rating of 100 percent in the Corporate Equality Index, an annual survey administered by the Human Rights Campaign Foundation. This rating is based on the firm’s nondiscrimination and other policies aimed at making Ropes & Gray a welcoming workplace for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. The firm was ranked #2 for LGBT diversity in the 2016 Vault survey of the top U.S. firms.