Historically, law firms have been conservative environments, and as a result, gay attorneys (which includes gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered attorneys) have largely kept their sexual orientations to themselves out of fear of being ostracized, rejected, and discriminated against. Many of us have witnessed or heard of stories in which a very highly regarded attorney's sexual orientation was somehow disclosed (or leaked) to his or her firm, resulting in negative consequences for the attorney.

Some of those consequences may be subtle — whispers in the hallways, feeling distance from those one once felt close to. Other consequences can be more professionally damaging, such as no longer working with the top attorneys in the firm (if those attorneys are homophobic) or finding that the quality of one's work plummets after the disclosure is made.
 
The Importance of Attracting and Retaining Gay Attorneys

While law firms have traditionally been unfriendly to gay attorneys and staff, changing a firm's atmosphere can be done — and many firms are doing so with great success. While it may not be easy, as discussed in detail below, it is vitally important for firms that want to remain competitive in the marketplace, and there are some concrete steps that firms can take to help create a comfortable working atmosphere for gay attorneys.