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At Baker Donelson, diversity and inclusion are essential to our Firm culture, and we strive to create a welcoming and nurturing workplace for LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning/ or queer) attorneys and staff. 

Overview

At Baker Donelson, diversity and inclusion are essential to our Firm culture, and we strive to create a welcoming and nurturing workplace for LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning/ or queer) attorneys and staff.

We value diversity not only because it is the right thing to do. Our diversity allows us to serve our clients better because we can bring to bear a variety of perspectives on the legal matters we handle, and with diverse lawyer teams we can relate better to the diverse client base we serve. In recent years, many of our clients have requested diverse attorney teams to handle their matters, and that has helped make us better. With "out" shareholders, associate attorneys and staff members throughout our many offices, the Firm culture reflects an openness and acceptance that makes Baker Donelson a great place to practice law, and our clients appreciate that we are striving to be as diverse as they are.

Affinitas is Baker Donelson's large and active employee resource group for LGBTQ attorneys and staff, as well as "straight allies" in the Firm. We have regular meetings and events in each of our major offices and direct the Firm's diversity efforts in the area of LGBTQ equality. Through Affinitas, Baker Donelson sponsors and supports numerous LGBTQ community organizations and events in our footprint and provides a means for our members to become involved in the Firm's efforts to promote LGBTQ equality.

We believe that when LGBTQ attorneys and staff are enabled and motivated to succeed to their maximum potential, while being themselves, the Firm is more successful and we provide better client service. At Baker Donelson we don't just "talk the talk" about LGBTQ diversity--here is how we put our beliefs into action:

Human Rights Campaign's Corporate Equality Index – For the third consecutive year, Baker Donelson has scored a perfect 100 on HRC's Corporate Equality Index and earned the designation of "Best Places to Work in America for LGBTQ Employees." HRC bases this ranking on a stringent assessment of a company's LGBTQ-friendly workplace policies and benefits, as well as the employer's commitment to LGBTQ equality in their respective communities. Baker Donelson is proud to be among only 95 law firms and 609 businesses in the United States who earned this distinction in 2017. We are also one of the few law firms based in the Southeast to achieve this ranking. Read the full report here.

LGBTQ Recruiting – To provide the best possible service to our clients, Baker Donelson strives to hire, train and retain the most talented attorneys and staff. LGBTQ attorneys actively participate in Baker Donelson's recruiting efforts, and the Firm is a long-time and committed participant and recruiter at the annual Lavender Law Conference and Career Fair, sponsored by the National LGBT Bar Association, an affiliate of the American Bar Association. Baker Donelson also recruits at several well-known minority job fairs which attract LGBTQ applicants. In addition to law student recruiting at Lavender Law, lawyers from Baker Donelson attend and regularly speak on panels of lawyers, judges, students and law faculty at the multi-day conference.

Vault Associates Survey Ranking – Since 2013 and most recently in 2018, Baker Donelson has been ranked in the Vault Associates Survey as one of the "Best Law Firms for Diversity" in the United States. Baker Donelson also achieved a high in the category of "LGBT Diversity" (in the 2018 Vault Survey, we were ranked 23rd).

Community Organizations and Efforts – Baker Donelson actively supports numerous LGBTQ organizations and events in our footprint. We believe leadership in the area of LGBTQ equality requires us to go beyond the walls of our offices. Here are some of our recent efforts:

Pride Celebrations – Baker Donelson has proudly sponsored Pride Festivals for years in our communities, including events in Fort Lauderdale, Baton Rouge, Chattanooga, Nashville and Memphis.

Law School Outreach – Baker Donelson attorneys host and sponsor law student events through the LGBTQ student organizations at Tulane Law School, the University of Alabama School of Law and Vanderbilt Law School. Baker Donelson is also a long-time sponsor of the LGBT Symposium produced annually by the University of Mississippi Law School.

Florida "Smart Ride" Sponsor – The Firm sponsored a Baker Donelson employee who participated in the Smart Ride, a two-day, 165-mile bike ride from Miami to Key West, which benefits HIV/Aids organizations in South Florida.

Mayoral Forum Sponsor – In 2015, Affinitas members helped organize and produce a Mayoral Forum held at Vanderbilt University, where the candidates for Nashville mayor fielded questions about LGBTQ issues facing the city. 

LGBT Chamber of Commerce – Baker Donelson is an active member and lead sponsor of the Nashville LGBT Chamber of Commerce, and in 2016 received the Corporate Diversity Award, given by the Chamber to recognize outstanding leadership and commitment to LGBT equality in the business community.

Human Rights Campaign – Baker Donelson is a proud sponsor of HRC and supports its annual Equality Dinner in Nashville. In 2015 we also hosted the HRC Federal Club holiday reception at our event center in Nashville.

Georgia Stonewall Bar Association – Baker Donelson supports the annual dinner of the Georgia Stonewall Bar Association, where community awards are given to individuals or law firms who have made significant contributions to improving the quality of life for LGBTQ citizens of Georgia.

Tennessee Stonewall Bar Association – Baker Donelson is a member and sponsor of the Tennessee Stonewall Bar Association, which promotes and advocates for LGBT diversity in the legal profession, and one of our Nashville shareholders currently serves as  president of SBA.

Pro Bono Legal Services for LGBTQ Clients and Organizations – Baker Donelson attorneys regularly donate their services for LGBTQ individuals and community groups that could not otherwise afford representation. For example, a Baker Donelson shareholder recently represented pro bono the victims of two separate "hate crime" incidents where the LGBTQ individuals were brutally attacked. Baker Donelson worked with the police to try and apprehend the assailants and prevent future attacks. In another matter, a Baker Donelson attorney represented at no charge a not-for-profit organization in a lawsuit with its landlord. Through Baker Donelson's efforts, the organization which serves the LGBTQ community was able to continue operations in its location.

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