Cleta Mitchell

Tico Almeida

[E]ven the most disgusting criminals should have access to counsel when they violate the law, and Exxon’s shareholders will now pay big bucks for Seyfarth’s lawyers, who are probably some of the most expensive corporate defense lawyers in the country. But I don’t think there’s any need for Seyfarth to run up their billable hours since Freedom to Work would like to settle the case today.

Tico Almeida, founder and president of Freedom to Work, commenting on Seyfarth Shaw’s decision to defend a case alleging anti-gay bias at Exxon Mobil — one of the few Fortune 500 companies that lacks a written nondiscrimination policy prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.

(Will Seyfarth come to regret this case? Let’s discuss….)

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Who is the Judy Garland of Biglaw?

What makes someone a gay icon? I’m tempted to fall back on Justice Potter Stewart’s famous quotation: “I know it when I see it.”

But such instinctive judgments still rest upon criteria. Regarding gay icons, Wikipedia advises: “Qualities of a gay icon often include glamour, flamboyance, strength through adversity, and androgyny in presentation. Such icons can be of any sexual orientation or gender; if LGBT, they can be out or not. Although most gay icons have given their support to LGBT social movements, some have expressed opposition, advocating against a perceived homosexual agenda.'”

So you don’t have to be gay or pro-gay-rights to be a gay icon — which brings me to a partner I hereby dub the Judy Garland of Biglaw. She has a most interesting skeleton in her closet, which might explain her staunch opposition to gay marriage….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Cleta Mitchell of Foley & Lardner: An ‘Anti-Gay’ Gay Icon?”

As we near the end of 2012, we can definitely declare this year to be a momentous one for LGBT rights and equality. Two federal appeals courts struck down the Defense of Marriage Act (and the Supreme Court will soon consider whether to grant review in the DOMA litigation, which it almost certainly will). On Election Day, voters across the country came out in favor of marriage equality. The good people of Wisconsin elected Tammy Baldwin to the U.S. Senate, making her our nation’s first openly gay senator.

Despite these advances, being an LGBT attorney presents unique challenges. When it comes to welcoming gay and lesbian lawyers, not all firms are created equal.

The good news, though, is that Biglaw made a big showing in the Human Rights Campaign’s latest Corporate Equality Index, which scores large U.S. employers in terms of how LGBT-friendly they are in their policies and practices. Which firms are letting their rainbow flags fly?

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Let’s talk about two of our favorite topics: money and politics. And the combination of the two, which creates both problems and opportunities for our democracy.

On Saturday I attended an excellent New Yorker Festival panel about politics and money, featuring some impressive speakers:

What did these distinguished and high-powered panelists have to say about the influence of money on our political system?

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* Tipsters, I’ve seen the Milbank / Harvard Law news. I just don’t have a strong opinion about it. Good, bad, indifferent? You tell me. [Harvard Law School; National Law Journal via Truth on the Market]

* Is Ashley Madison (the dating site for adulterers) a scam? [Forbes]

* Ah, the real reason Hosni Mubarak finally stepped down. [Slate]

* These are the kind of epic meltdowns that happen when hedge fund folks tangle with Bess Levin. [Dealbreaker]

* Which law firm claims to embrace diversity while one of its partners — a woman who was once married to a gay man, by the way — goes on TV to bash GOProud (a prominent gay conservative group)? [Pam's House Blend]

* Speaking of law firms and LGBT issues, why is it taking so long for WilmerHale partner Edward DuMont, the first openly gay nominee for a federal appeals court in U.S. history, to get a hearing? [The BLT: The Blog of Legal Times]

* Taco Bell really knows how to defend a lawsuit. [WSJ Law Blog]

* I didn’t know the world had a rape capital, but if we had to pick one this seems right. [ABA Journal]

* You’re not so naive as to think that only guilty plead guilty? [Underdog]

* Congratulations to David Kazzie, creator of the viral So You Want To Go To Law School video, on landing a literary agent. [Wall Street Journal]