In our DEI Annual Report, we feature the work of our affinity groups. What follows is a Q&A with Brandon Hadley, a partner and co-chair of our LGBTQ+ Coalition.
What are your goals for the LGBTQ+ Coalition as co-chair of the affinity group?
Creating a workplace that is accepting, supportive and encourages the retention and promotion of LGBTQ+ persons is a process, and it requires support from the highest levels of the ﬁrm. At Katten, we have leadership that fully supports the LGBTQ+ community at the ﬁrm, and the LGBTQ+ Coalition’s goals for recruiting, retaining and promoting LGBTQ+ attorneys. In addition, the Coalition has broader goals of facilitating LGBTQ+ attorney connections with clients and prospective clients, creating business development opportunities, and providing educational opportunities with respect to LGBTQ+ matters to the ﬁrm as a whole.
How has the presence of the LGBTQ+ Coalition at Katten benefited LGBTQ+ attorneys at the firm?
The LGBTQ+ Coalition beneﬁts our attorneys by promoting community, representation and awareness, and the Coalition does this through mentoring and sponsoring LGBTQ+ attorneys, discussing current issues in the LGBTQ+ community, and providing business opportunities. Attorneys stay where they are appreciated, included and promoted. At a law ﬁrm, that requires client relationships, integration in the business of the ﬁrm and representation in ﬁrm leadership. The Coalition provides opportunities for LGBTQ+ attorneys at the ﬁrm to build relationships with clients and prospective clients, to rise into leadership roles at the ﬁrm, and to become successful owners of the ﬁ rm.
If you could go back, what advice would you give to yourself to help you navigate the start of your legal career as an LGBTQ+ attorney?
I tell LGBTQ+ attorneys coming into the profession now that they should actively take responsibility for their careers and take advantage of opportunities (successes are not automatic), they should be prepared for ups and downs, changes and adjustments (accomplished careers are rarely a straight line), and they should focus on building strong relationships both inside and outside the ﬁrm (professional success requires trust). The world, including the legal profession, has changed substantially over the last three decades in its acceptance and support of the LGBTQ+ community, but we still have a long way to go for full LGBTQ+ acceptance and inclusion. Most LGBTQ+ persons still experience uncomfortable and painful moments of discrimination, marginalization and unacceptance in their lives. Those experiences, however, can lead to the development of qualities that can be very useful in this profession, including the skills of perception, intuition, empathy, adaptation and connection.