A major law firm has launched an LGBT+ network to advise the community about legal issues through the different stages of their lives.
The network was launched at Hodge Jones & Allen’s offices in Euston, North London, with a panel about transgender experiences in the workplace.
The event was an example of how the network aims to tackle the unique issues faced by LGBT+ individuals.
The panel discussion highlighted the issues facing trans individuals at work and featured Emma Cusdin, People Director at Aviva and Director at Global Butterflies; Homa Wilson, employment partner at Hodge Jones & Allen and Luke Williams, trans lawyer and lecturer at BPP University Law School.
The Network at Hodge Jones & Allen aims to advise on LGBT legal issues and to highlight the firm as LGBT+ friendly.
The evening, which was attended by around 70 people was not only aimed at people who are part of the LGBT+ community, but those who wanted to show support and gain a greater understanding of the issues that trans and LGBT+ people face.
Joshua Ryan, a trainee lawyer in the firm’s Wills and Probate Department said: “We are an LGBT+ friendly firm and we wanted to set up a forum where the issues that the community faces could be discussed.
“All of our staff are all trained to understand the needs and the rights of the community, whether it be creating a will or dealing with surrogacy. There is a large amount of diversity at Hodge Jones & Allen and want to use that experience to help others. We want people to know their rights and we feel, by setting up this network, we will help educate people generally and support those in the LGBT+ community.”
Remyhs Baker, a specialist family lawyer at Hodge Jones & Allen, said: “It can be daunting for members of the LGBT+ community to know where to go for legal advice. Clients have to talk about their personal lives and should not feel worried about the prospect of being judged.
“At Hodge Jones & Allen we don’t judge any of our clients, and we ensure they feel safe and secure when seeking legal advice. Many clients worry about family matters like divorce, arrangements for children, or wanting to start a family via surrogacy or adoption. Highlighting the fact that we have a network means clients know we are here for them, we understand their needs, and we give them suitable and pragmatic legal advice. We hope this network will help people understand the rights of those in the community.”
Phil Unciano, a Paralegal in the Asbestos and Mesothelioma department, said: “The network serves as an inclusive and visible forum for staff at HJA too, creating a safe space, contributing to business development, and providing a collective voice for LGBT+ employees. One of our main goals is to be included in Stonewall’s Workplace Equality Index.”
The LGBT+ Network will run a number of events in the future which are free and open to the public.