(CHICAGO) Katten announced today that the firm received a score of 100 on the Human Rights Campaign Foundation's 2022 Corporate Equality Index (CEI), the nation's foremost benchmarking survey and annual report measuring corporate policies and practices addressing LGBTQ+ workplace equality.
Katten's ranking marked the 12th year the firm achieved a perfect score, earning Katten the designation as one of the Best Places to Work for LGBTQ+ Equality.
"We are honored to receive this distinction because it validates our unwavering efforts to build and foster a supportive community at Katten, one where all our attorneys can feel safe, respected and valued, and ultimately successful in their personal and professional lives," said Chief Diversity Partner Leslie Minier. "We appreciate the dedicated involvement and meaningful work of Katten's LGBTQ+ Coalition, which helps guide our leaders in the implementation of inclusive programs, policies and practices."
The coalition is an affinity group designed to enrich relationships among diverse attorneys by offering educational programming, mentoring, career advice and social events to stay connected throughout the year.
"LGBTQ+ persons often are subject to marginalization and discrimination in their lives so it's important for all of our attorneys — including new laterals and summer associates — to see we are an open and accepting firm, that there are LGBTQ+ attorneys at all levels of the firm including the partnership ranks, and that Katten is a place where we feel comfortable being our true authentic selves," said partner Brandon Hadley, co-chair of Katten's LGBTQ+ Coalition.
The CEI rates companies on their non-discrimination policies, equitable benefits for LGBTQ+ workers and their families, support of an inclusive culture, and corporate social responsibility.
"When the Human Rights Campaign Foundation created the Corporate Equality Index 20 years ago, we dreamed that LGBTQ+ workers — from the factory floor to corporate headquarters, in big cities and small towns — could have access to the policies and benefits needed to thrive and live life authentically," said Jay Brown, Human Rights Campaign Senior Vice President of Programs, Research and Training.
"We are proud that the Corporate Equality Index paved the way to that reality for countless LGBTQ+ workers in America and abroad. But there is still more to do, which is why we are raising the bar yet again to create more equitable workplaces and a better tomorrow for LGBTQ+ workers everywhere."
Among Katten's LGBTQ+-friendly workplace policies and benefits are transgender-inclusive health insurance coverage, inclusive healthcare benefits for same- and different-sex spouses and partners, and 12-week gender-neutral parental leave with an optional eight-week extension for those who have exceptional circumstances, including adoptive and surrogate parents.
The firm recently adopted a firm-wide "opt-in" gender pronoun policy to include gender pronouns in signature blocks as one way to promote LGBTQ+ inclusion and maintain an environment built on acceptance of individualization.
In conjunction with the firm's LGBTQ+ Coalition, Katten during last year's Pride Month offered micro-learning sessions covering topics, including gender pronouns, trans identity and allyship, and hosted Jean-Marie Navetta, Director of Learning & Inclusion for PFLAG National, for a learning workshop as part of Katten's Perspective Speakers Series.
During the remote work environment, the firm launched a two-part virtual diversity series offered to diverse attorneys and summer associates last spring to provide guidance on how to attract and sustain the attention of senior leadership, and to address diversity and inclusion best practices and what corporate clients expect from law firms.
Additionally, Katten makes charitable contributions to the National LGBTQ+ Bar Foundation and LeGaL Foundation, which provides legal services to the LGBTQ+ community. The firm sponsors the annual Lavender Law Conference & Career Fair, the largest LGBTQ+ legal conference in the country, and hosts a biennial LGBTQ+ retreat for its attorneys participating at the conference.
Also, many Katten attorneys have offered their legal services pro bono to successfully represent LGBTQ+ individuals seeking asylum, fleeing persecution in the United States and abroad, facing discrimination, and experiencing human trafficking.