Diversity question: Tell firms you're gay?

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Anonymous User
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Diversity question: Tell firms you're gay?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Nov 26, 2012 10:58 pm

I just started a federal clerkship and am wanting to apply to big law firms for associate positions starting in the fall of 2013. I know several firms value diversity; should I mention I'm gay when I'm applying? Will that help at all? If so, how should I do it?

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Lincoln
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Re: Diversity question: Tell firms you're gay?

Postby Lincoln » Mon Nov 26, 2012 11:05 pm

List any LGBT activities or organizations in which you participated on your resume.

omg clay aiken !
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Re: Diversity question: Tell firms you're gay?

Postby omg clay aiken ! » Tue Nov 27, 2012 2:35 am

And if you didn't participate in any, don't bring this up at all IMO. It could come across like you're trying to use it to your advantage.

hookem14
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Re: Diversity question: Tell firms you're gay?

Postby hookem14 » Tue Nov 27, 2012 2:02 pm

On my resume I listed that I was a member of OUTLaw (even though I wasn't active at all in the organization). For firms that play up their commitment to LGBT diversity on their websites (most of biglaw), I included in my cover letter a sentence along the lines of: "BLANK firm's exceptional reputation in BLANK field, as well as its strong commitment to LGBT diversity, makes your firm especially enticing."

I was really surprised at OCI because, at least at the screening stage, I felt like I was preselected by far more biglaw firms than my numbers deserved. I think that my "LGBT status" was the only unusual part of either my resume or cover letter, so I think that definitely helped me get a foot in the door.

BenJ
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Re: Diversity question: Tell firms you're gay?

Postby BenJ » Wed Nov 28, 2012 5:25 pm

Definitely. I think it was an advantage in interviewing to be open. I interviewed with a way disproportionate number of gay associates and partners, which they obviously planned. It works out very well because in many cases you have an easy connection. I also think it piqued some firms' interest. There isn't any boost necessarily, but law firms are definitely interested in looking diverse, and anything that stands out on your resume is an advantage. Even if you've never really been involved in any LGBT organizations, you should put down that you were a member of OUTLaw at your law school or something in your activities--something simple to indicate that you're gay.

Caveat that this advice is true for the NY market. I do have one friend who focused on NY and TX (and is from Texas) and definitely got a hostile/cold reception to having LGBT-related activities on his resume in TX. Outside of the South, definitely include it.

hookem14
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Re: Diversity question: Tell firms you're gay?

Postby hookem14 » Wed Nov 28, 2012 8:10 pm

BenJ wrote:Definitely. I think it was an advantage in interviewing to be open. I interviewed with a way disproportionate number of gay associates and partners, which they obviously planned. It works out very well because in many cases you have an easy connection. I also think it piqued some firms' interest. There isn't any boost necessarily, but law firms are definitely interested in looking diverse, and anything that stands out on your resume is an advantage. Even if you've never really been involved in any LGBT organizations, you should put down that you were a member of OUTLaw at your law school or something in your activities--something simple to indicate that you're gay.

Caveat that this advice is true for the NY market. I do have one friend who focused on NY and TX (and is from Texas) and definitely got a hostile/cold reception to having LGBT-related activities on his resume in TX. Outside of the South, definitely include it.


Re cold reception in TX: I'm from Texas, go to UT, and only applied to TX firms and can honestly say I have never gotten anything close to a cold reception concerning being "out." It might hurt you some with the smaller, more regional and conservative firms, but for biglaw I think it's almost always a boost.

I wouldn't be screaming it out loud during an interview, but if the firm is especially into LGBT diversity then that is a great way to answer "Why X firm?" (It definitely got me one of my callbacks.)

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Re: Diversity question: Tell firms you're gay?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Nov 28, 2012 9:48 pm

BenJ wrote:Definitely. I think it was an advantage in interviewing to be open. I interviewed with a way disproportionate number of gay associates and partners, which they obviously planned. It works out very well because in many cases you have an easy connection. I also think it piqued some firms' interest. There isn't any boost necessarily, but law firms are definitely interested in looking diverse, and anything that stands out on your resume is an advantage. Even if you've never really been involved in any LGBT organizations, you should put down that you were a member of OUTLaw at your law school or something in your activities--something simple to indicate that you're gay.

Caveat that this advice is true for the NY market. I do have one friend who focused on NY and TX (and is from Texas) and definitely got a hostile/cold reception to having LGBT-related activities on his resume in TX. Outside of the South, definitely include it.


As a UT law student with several out friends, I can confidently say that your friend's experience is not the norm at any respectable firm in Austin/Houston.

Edit: I'm also from the North, so I can understand a wariness about having resume that screams LGBT in the South, but I really think it is not a concern at all. It might be a boost, or it might not matter at all. Firms want money. They aren't country clubs.




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