January 21, 2020 (New York) – Proskauer has been recognized as a “Best Place to Work for LGBTQ Equality” after earning a perfect score of 100 percent on the Human Rights Campaign’s annual survey.
The HRC’s 2020 Corporate Equality Index is the premier benchmarking tool of corporate policies and practices pertinent to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer employees.
“From my first introduction to Proskauer at on campus interviews, I felt like it was a culture in which I could thrive. The people I met were genuine, clearly talented, and I appreciated the variety of personalities, all with a good sense of humor,” said Garabed Koosherian, an associate at the Firm’s Boston office and member of the Firm’s LGBTQ Affinity Group.
Our LGBTQ Affinity Group creates and fosters informal mentoring relationships to support the professional development of LGBTQ lawyers, summer associates, and professional staff. As the primary internal resource for LGBTQ lawyers and their allies, the group is a point of contact between Proskauer and the LGBTQ community at large, serving to raise awareness within the Firm of areas of interest to the LGBTQ community and, particularly, social issues affecting LGBTQ colleagues.
Q&A with Proskauer’s LGBTQ Affinity Group leaders, associates Brittany Benavidez and Emily Cummins:
- Brittany, what are some of the events that Proskauer’s LGBTQ Affinity Group hosted in the last year?
Last June, we hosted the firm’s annual Pride month event, commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising. The event included never-before-seen excerpts from the New York City Opera’s Stonewall and a panel featuring Amazon-distributed filmmaker Tourmaline. In addition to the annual Pride month event, the group hosts events across offices, including a happy hour in Boston, welcoming a new LGBTQ associate and celebrating the recent promotion of a new LGBTQ partner in the office.
- Emily, as a new co-head of Proskauer’s LGBTQ Affinity Group, what are you most excited about in your role?
I have truly benefitted from the strong sense of community in Proskauer’s LGBTQ Affinity Group during my time at Proskauer. Now, as a new co-head of the Affinity Group, I’m honored to be given the opportunity to continue to grow that community. In particular, we’ve been focusing the Affinity Group’s efforts on building connections with local LGBTQ law students, supporting the development of the next generation of LGBTQ attorneys. It’s been a great experience so far, and I’ve met a lot of wonderful students through the program while also building stronger connections with the LGBTQ attorneys here at Proskauer.
- What are some recent cases in which we provided legal support to LGBTQ organizations?
Proskauer attorneys have been working with many LGBTQ groups to provide legal support for people in the LGBTQ community. To assist hospitals in offering intersex-affirming health care, pro bono attorneys at Proskauer teamed up with nonprofit legal organizations interACT: Advocates for Intersex Youth and Lambda Legal to create an educational policy guide designed to better educate hospitals about the unique needs of intersex patients and address the issues intersex patients and their families all too often face in a health care setting. Titled Intersex-Affirming Hospital Policies: Providing Ethical and Compassionate Health Care to Intersex Patients, the guide incorporates input from medical practitioners, legal experts, and—most importantly—members of the intersex community. The guide offers model policies for hospitals designed to promote best practices and assist hospitals and their providers in delivering appropriate, intersex-affirming care.
During a recent panel presentation at Proskauer’s New York office, Immigration Equality—the nation’s leading LGBTQ immigrant rights organization— and Proskauer teamed-up to educate pro bono lawyers about conditions faced by LGBTQ asylum seekers, and enable the lawyers to represent this group of immigrants. Nishan Bhaumik, a staff attorney at Immigration Equality, provided an overview of U.S. asylum law as applied to LGBTQ immigrants, and Proskauer’s pro bono counsel, Erin Meyer, instructed attorneys on how to prepare each component of the asylum application. Alicia Hornsby of Bloomberg LP and Erin shared their experiences working with LGBTQ asylum seekers and encouraged others to volunteer their time to help these immigrants win asylum. For victories on behalf of LGBTQ and HIV-positive asylum seekers, Proskauer was honored to receive the Safe Haven Award from Immigration Equality in May 2019.
- The Firm partners with various LGBTQ organizations, what upcoming programs are we holding in conjunction with our partners?
Proskauer is in the process of coordinating several events with LGBTQ student groups at our various office’s local law schools. During these events, Proskauer lawyers connect with students, give them insight into practicing as an LGBTQ attorney and provide invaluable networking opportunities. The Boston office recently started working with the Massachusetts LGBTQ Bar Association’s student mentoring program, and will be attending their upcoming winter party, as well as hosting further events with a group of law student mentees.