Travers Smith launches mentor scheme to empower LGBT+ students

Corporate law firm tackles the big dilemma of coming out at work

Halfway into Pride Month, Travers Smith has launched a new LGBT+ student mentoring scheme in partnership with sexual orientation charity Just Like Us. It’s the corporate outfit’s most recent initiative to help develop the next generation of LGBT+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) leaders.

The new programme will take the form of one-to-one mentoring sessions that aim to encourage students to be confident in their identity and openly LGBT+ at work.

Travers notes that many LGBT+ students come out at university, but a staggering 60% go back to concealing their sexual orientation when they start work. To tackle this, the firm has selected 25 mentors with diverse professional backgrounds to support LGBT+ students across the country in their transition from university to employment. They include Travers Smith partner Daniel Gerring and head of HR Carly Hubbard. Gerring, commenting on the project, said:

This initiative is a great example of Travers Smith adding value by sharing our insight and expertise and working in partnership to empower a generation of emerging LGBT+ talent. The addition of this programme to our extensive portfolio of LGBT+ projects underlines the firm’s continued support of diversity and inclusion in the workplace and wider community.

Other mentors include former Royal Air Force pilot Ayla Holdom and Amy Lamé, Night Czar for London.

Though the focus here is on supporting future LGBT+ leaders, there also seems to be a business incentive. Studies led by equality charity Stonewall — which has engaged with tens of thousands of LGBT+ students — establish that supporting LGBT+ staff can significantly enhance their effectiveness in the workplace. Its Peak Performance research states:

Staff who can be open about their sexuality at work are more likely to enjoy going to work, feel able to be themselves, form honest relationships with their colleagues, are more confident, and ultimately more productive. Lesbian and gay equality at work evidently makes good business sense.

Agreeing, Labour politician and Just like Us ally Lord Peter Mandelson voiced his support:

I’m delighted to be launching the Just Like Us mentoring scheme today. I believe that what happens to us when we’re young can have life-long impact on our ability to realise our potential. This mentoring programme offers LGBT+ young people the support and guidance needed to help them start their first job confident in their identity and sexuality and openly LGBT+.

Travers Smith also supports Freebar, an LGBT+ networking group for barristers, and has a corporate social responsibility (CSR) art programme that this year showcases work promoting LGBT+ inclusion. As Mandelson continued:

When people are able to be themselves, they are able to be their best.

Earlier this Pride Month, Linklaters signalled its commitment to LGBT+ equality by installing rainbow-coloured lights in its reception area. It seems that law firms are beginning to take a more active role in encouraging staff not to hold back — gender identity and sexual orientation shouldn’t be hindering career potential.

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Well written article Natalie. Much better than the very odd GDL survey you posted earlier on this week.


For a homosexual to become sexually active is one of the most dangerous things they can do. The data shows that engaging in homosexual activities is likely to damage one’s physical and mental health, with some studies suggesting up to 20 years lost in life expectancy.

Why this is so is open to debate, yet we cannot pretend that homosexual relationships are comparable to heterosexual ones.


Which data? And homosexual relationships are not comparable to heterosexual ones? Based on what evidence that you’ve drawn this conclusion?


I think he’s referring to a study in 2005 that was based on looking at obituaries posted in lgbt publications. Somewhat unsurprisingly, the sample was not representative.

Trumpenkrieg- that demonstrates precisely nothing, as you well know. The increase in colon and rectal cancer also correlates well with increased obesity rates, poor diet, which are proven risk factors (whereas being gay is not). For what it’s worth, they also correlate with icnreased use of facebook. Correlation is not causation. Get back in your hole.


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Good stuff, such schemes deserve everybody’s support.

I’m hoping that before long there will be similar schemes to encourage Deaf and disabled people into the profession too. Welcoming them into the dock, but never the office invites deserved contempt from them. A gesture of goodwill is the bare minimum start.


Hey, anonymous, you forgot to mention the schemes for the blind.


Brilliant scheme, I think all the mentors are stars not just the notible two mentioned. Well done Travers.


Can someone explain the “+” now added to LGBT? Is that you are extra lesbian, gay, bi or trans compared to others who just dabble in it?

Why not

Bit of a dabble is fine, especially if diverting from your usual for the sake of accommodating this great scheme


It’s for those who don’t precisely fit into LGB or T. Such as (but not limited to) asexuals. Some groups call themselves LGBTUA+ but at a certain point the acronym has to stop growing hence the +


I went to Pride and saw one group dressed in leather with dog masks and leads, and another lot wearing nappies.

Where do they fit in?


I believe they are known as “perverts”.

Perhaps the acronym should be LGBTQP+

Children everywhere

Thanks for ruining the rainbow flag, a beloved symbol of childhood.


Why do you have to tell everyone you are LGBT if the clients just want to hear from you legal advice?


Once all clients leave and go to another firm really advertises about law and do law, you LBGT are all going to be out of job and silly is the firm who paid you to get itself broke! This is by mean no offensive; it is just the hard truth.


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