Eight City firms launch LGBT mentoring

Eight city firms are to mentor lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender students considering a career in law.

Following on from the DiversCity graduate recruitment event hosted by the same firms in December, the mentoring scheme will be the first of its kind to target LGBT students wanting a career in City law.

Students who attended the event have been invited to partake in the informal programme. The mentor will be an LGBT lawyer or senior business services professional at one of the eight law firms, who will guide and give insight into careers and City firm life.

Freshfields, Allen & Overy, Baker & McKenzie, Berwin Leighton Paisner, Hogan Lovells, Olswang, Herbert Smith and Pinsent Masons were all involved in the event which was aimed at 40-50 first and second year students, who will graduate in 2014 and 2015. Students took part in workshops, panel discussions, presentations and networking.

Members of Hogan Lovells Pride, the firm’s London LGBT Network, who will act as mentors include financial services disputes partner Elaine Penrose, financial institutions partner and Co-Chair of Hogan Lovells’ London Network James McDonald, pensions associate Chris Edwards-Earl, and trainees Ian Whitehead and Charlotte Cartwright.

Whitehead said: “I think it’s an interesting opportunity to people to have a chance to ask any questions they might have about life at a City firm, it’s the kind of thing I would have appreciated.

“I don’t think it is any more difficult to get into a City firm as an LGBT lawyer – I think it’s a perception thing, though it does depend on firm culture, how accepting senior management are and what sort of diversity iniatives there are; dealing with diversity as a whole, beyond LGBT.”

The original event was held on 4 December last year (24 October 2012).