(June 14, 2018, Washington, DC) — In celebration and recognition of Pride Month, Steptoe, through the firm’s Diversity & Inclusion Committee and Steptoe Pride affinity group, is proud to sponsor and take part in a number of Pride Month activities firm-wide in support of LGBTQ rights, and launch a new email signature initiative.
Perhaps the most visual recognition of Pride Month is Steptoe’s logo, which has been changed to rainbow colors for the month of June. The Steptoe Pride logo is displayed on digital screens and/or placards in office lobbies, and is also featured on Steptoe’s LinkedIn and Twitter accounts.
As part of a new initiative this year, all lawyers and staff have the opportunity to change their email signature to include the Steptoe Pride logo. In addition, lawyers and staff can include their pronouns within their email signature. Following is an example of the template:
“Self-expression and self-identification are part of Steptoe’s professional values,” stated Steptoe Diversity & Inclusion Committee Co-Chairs Joe Caldwell and Markham Erickson in a joint statement. “One small way we’re practicing these values is by giving colleagues an opportunity to change Steptoe’s logo and to share their pronouns within their email signatures.”
The rainbow Steptoe Pride logo is also featured in a lapel pin that was created more than a year ago to promote LGBTQ inclusivity at the firm. Steptoe Chair and Diversity Committee Co-Chair Phil West and Chief Operating Partner Phil Malet wear the pins daily.
“I think there is something to be said that Steptoe’s firm leadership wears these pins all the time, not just during Pride month,” said Steptoe associate Josh Oppenheimer. “Similar to the rainbow stickers college dorm resident advisors put on their doors to signal to students that they are welcomed, firm leadership wearing the pins signals that Steptoe is inclusive all the time. For them, putting on the Steptoe rainbow pin seems to be just another item to remember for the day – like socks and a shirt.”
In addition to the Steptoe Pride logo and email signature initiative, the firm is sponsoring a number of Pride Month events throughout June. Among the educational events are a presentation by the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) about the state of LGBTQ affairs, a tour of San Francisco highlighting local LGBTQ history, and a screening of “Milk” in the firm’s New York office. The firm is also holding fundraisers for local LGBTQ and/or HIV non-profit community organizations, and sponsored a group outing to a baseball game for “Night OUT at Nationals Park.”
“We are stronger and better as a firm and a society when we open our minds and hearts to those who are different, learn from their life experiences and views, and together strive to achieve greater results that benefit us all,” stated West. “We are fortunate to be a diverse community with LGBTQ members, and together we are making a difference.”
Steptoe is also flexing its legal muscles in support of LGBTQ rights. The firm works regularly with the HRC, and represented it and 37 companies as amici in the Supreme Court case from this past session, Masterpiece Cakeshop, Ltd. v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission. More recently, Steptoe and the HRC collaborated on an amicus brief filed on behalf of a diverse group of corporations and municipalities in support of a petition to the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit that sought a review of the US Department of Veterans Affairs’ (VA) refusal to revoke its regulation excluding gender-confirmation surgery from the health benefits offered to veterans through the VA system. Steptoe is also working with the Service Women’s Action Network to draft an amicus brief in the transgender ban cases.
Steptoe Pride offers support and a forum for discussion of issues relevant to the LGBTQ community at Steptoe and is part of the firm’s ongoing effort to foster a diverse and welcoming workplace. The group meets quarterly to discuss issues and ideas on a variety of topics specific to the firm and its LGBTQ employees and allies including benefits, recruiting practices, guest speakers, external sponsorships, pro bono work and mentoring.
For more information, please visit the Steptoe Pride page.
In more than 100 years of practice, Steptoe has earned an international reputation for vigorous representation of clients before governmental agencies, successful advocacy in litigation and arbitration, and creative and practical advice in structuring business transactions. Steptoe has more than 500 lawyers and other professional staff across offices in Beijing, Brussels, Chicago, London, Los Angeles, New York, Phoenix, San Francisco, and Washington. For more information, visit www.steptoe.com.