The LGBTQ Initiative connects the firm’s LGBTQ attorneys with one another and with LGBTQ causes in the broader community by hosting social gatherings, sponsoring community events and pursuing LGBTQ-focused pro bono work.
Here are just a few of the ways the LGBTQ Initiative supports and encourages LGBTQ attorneys, both inside and outside the firm:
Pro Bono Leadership
Munger Tolles has a long tradition of doing pro bono work in support of LGBTQ rights, which has allowed many attorneys in the LGBTQ Initiative to give back to their communities in concrete and meaningful ways. Examples of LGBTQ-focused pro bono work include:
- Filing an amicus brief in support of marriage equality in Obergefell v. Hodges on behalf of Bay Area Lawyers for Individual Freedom with 30 other bar organizations nationwide;
- Successfully defending California legislation prohibiting state-licensed therapists from engaging in sexual orientation change efforts – sometimes called “reparative” or “conversion” therapy – on minors;
- Filing amicus briefs in various cases throughout the country challenging school rules prohibiting transgender students from using bathrooms that match their gender identities;
- With co-counsel at Lambda Legal, representing a transgender veteran in obtaining a permanent injunction barring a local barbershop that had denied service from engaging in further discrimination based on sex;
- Working with Human Rights First, achieving victory in immigration court for a 24-year-old Honduran transgender woman seeking refuge in the United States; and
- Working with Immigration Equality, securing a grant of asylum for a Russian national following persecution in her home country as an individual who identifies as genderqueer.
Building An Inclusive Community At Munger Tolles
Social Events: The LGBTQ Initiative hosts informal networking and community-building gatherings throughout the year, including affinity group dinners and an annual event for LGBTQ attorneys and summer associates.
Domestic Partner Health Benefits: Munger Tolles provides health benefits not only to spouses, but also to domestic partners. Thanks in part to the advocacy of our LGBTQ attorneys, we were one of the first firms to “gross-up” health insurance benefits for same-sex domestic partners to correct for inequalities in the tax code.
In 2017, the LGBTQ Initiative began sponsoring the Outfest LA Film Festival, which supports films and filmmakers in the LGBTQ community. The sponsorship helps bridge the firm’s LGBTQ affinity group and the broader Munger Tolles community by supporting and sponsoring both LGBTQ issues and the firm’s entertainment practice.
Additionally, for more than a decade, Munger Tolles has supported the Williams Institute, a think tank at UCLA School of Law dedicated to the field of sexual orientation and gender identity law and public policy. Since 2014, we have been the exclusive sponsor of the Williams Institute’s Annual LGBT and Allies Alumni Reception, which connects members of the Williams Institute with LGBT alumni and affinity groups from four law schools in the greater Los Angeles area.
The LGBTQ Initiative has also been a proud supporter of the Lambda Legal West Coast Liberty Awards, the Bay Area Lawyers for Individual Freedom Annual Gala, the USC OUTLaw Endowment Reception and the AIDS Legal Referral Panel’s Annual Reception.
To learn more about the LGBTQ Initiative, please contact chair Jennifer L. Bryant.