Biglaw, Gay, Gay Marriage, Money, Perks / Fringe Benefits, Tax Law, Videos

Biglaw Perk Watch: MoFo Takes a Stand for Fairness

Sorry, we’re still waiting for the Biglaw bonus shoe to drop. While you wait, here’s some good news in the Biglaw benefits area (a la Proskauer’s iPad announcement).

On Wednesday, I asked: “Remember Google’s gay gross-up? Barclays is doing it too. Will law firms follow suit?”

At least one law firm is stepping up to the plate to help domestically-partnered employees with their health-benefit-related tax burdens. The firm of Morrison & Foerster issued the following statement to Above the Law, from firm chair Keith Wetmore: “Starting in 2011, Morrison & Foerster will begin offering an additional benefit payment to assist with the tax obligation that same-sex and opposite sex Staff and Non-Partner Attorneys pay when they elect Domestic Partner health benefits.”

This is excellent news, and we commend MoFo for taking this step. Hopefully it will inspire additional firms to move in this direction. Note also that the policy applies not just to same-sex couples, but also to opposite-sex couples who are similarly situated — which might be a way of addressing the criticisms of some that the gay gross-up is unfair to heterosexual couples.

Meanwhile, elsewhere in “law firms being nice to gay people” news, let’s give some props to Shearman & Sterling….

Reports Vivia Chen, in The Careerist:

Apparently, some Shearman & Sterling lawyers are now rubbing shoulders with Tim Gunn, Perez Hilton, Ke$ha, Kim Kardashian, and Cindy McCain.

Well, sort of. About a dozen Shearman lawyers recently participated in a video for the It Gets Better Campaign. (The campaign was started by activist pundit Dan Savage to address the recent rash of gay suicides around the country.) Now available on YouTube and the It Gets Better Web site, the Shearman video is part of a library of video testimonials by celebrities in support of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered youth.

Shearman’s participation, as first reported by The National Law Journal, “was spearheaded by Sterling Pride [the firm’s gay affinity group] cochairman and associate Alexandro Padrés, who struggled as child growing up in Mexico City because of his sexuality.” In the five-minute video, about ten Shearman lawyers (both partners and associates) and staff members share very personal stories of their early struggles with their sexual identity, and how they eventually found acceptance and support.

And six- and seven-figure paychecks, at Shearman — it really does get better! The Mexican bullies who harassed the handsome Padrés can now kiss his John Lobb’s.

We’ll be keeping track of which large law firms offer the gay gross-up. Feel free to mention others in the comments, or via email (subject line: “[Firm Name] Gay Gross-Up”). Thanks.

Shearman & Sterling’s Open Closet [The Careerist]
Shearman & Sterling attorneys assure gay youth: ‘It Gets Better’ [National Law Journal]

Earlier: Prior ATL coverage of the gay gross-up

(hidden for your protection)

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