01 Jun 2022

Herbert Smith Freehills named principal legal partner of Sydney WorldPride

The firm will provide the flagship LGBT+ event with legal advice and support

People walking at a gay pride march in Sydney

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Herbert Smith Freehills (HSF) has been named the the principal legal partner of next year’s WorldPride festival taking place in Sydney.

HSF will provide the Sydney WorldPride event organisers with legal advice and support ahead of festival, which takes place between February 17 and March 5 next year in conjunction with the 2023 Sydney Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras.

Justin D’Agostino, the firm’s CEO and the first openly gay CEO of a major international law firm, said: “As a firm, championing diversity and inclusion is not just what we do, it’s who we are. We play a role in helping to address legal discrimination against LGBT+ people in a range of jurisdictions, including supporting the marriage equality debate and backing local LGBT+ organisations in countries across our global network.”

In Australia, HSF helped establish the Pinnacle Foundation – which offers educational scholarships, mentoring and opportunities for young LGBTIQ+ Australians – and has continued to provide pro bono support since its inception more than a decade ago.

D’Agostino added: “On a personal front, I have always been deeply committed to ensuring an inclusive culture is embedded across our firm and the profession. When I became a partner in 2007, I founded our first LGBT+ network (IRIS), one of the first such networks of any international law firm.”

The festival will also include the first WorldPride Human Rights Conference in the Asia Pacific region.

Kate Wickett, CEO of Sydney WorldPride, said: “Major events require huge legal expertise and can be challenging to manage for commercial festivals, let alone a not-for-profit like Sydney WorldPride, so we are extremely grateful for the continued advice and support that Herbert Smith Freehills provides as our principal legal partner.”

Firms are increasingly incorporating LGBT+ representation into their diversity targets. Some 26 mid-size US firms recently completed a pilot programme run by the Diversity Lab to ensure at least 30% of candidates for hiring opportunities, leadership roles, client pitches and partner promotions are women, underrepresented racial and ethnic groups, LGBTQ+ individuals and lawyers with disabilities. 

Some 14 law firms were also named on Stonewall’s 2022 LGBTQ+ top 100 employers list, including Clifford Chance, Slaughter and May and Pinsent Masons who all made the top 10.

 

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