Herbert Smith Freehills becomes first law firm to pay for lawyers’ gender reassignment surgery

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Time off work on offer for those transitioning and for those whose family members are transitioning

Image credit: Instagram (@totakimateusz)

Herbert Smith Freehills (HSF) has revealed it will now cover “all or part of the costs” of UK lawyers’ gender affirmation surgery, as well as providing access to psychological support for staff “at any point during their transition”.

Though medical benefits such as flu jabs, dentist appointments and check-ups are commonplace in the City, this is the first time a law firm has committed to footing sex change costs. Gender reassignment surgery is available on the NHS, but is subject to waiting lists. Those opting to go private can, reportedly, expect to pay about £20,000 for the surgery and support.

HSF’s medical benefit announcement comes as the firm launches its Global Transitioning Guidelines — a “global policy framework to support employees as they transition”. The guidelines provide practical guidance for the firm and the transitioning staff member, alongside steps to create a “transitioning support plan for individuals”.

Justin D’Agostino — who is the firm’s global head of disputes & regional managing partner, Asia — explains the firm sought advice from LGBT+ advocacy groups in formulating the guidelines. The transgender community and “leaders in best practice and inclusion policy” also had their say.

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Stressing HSF is a trans-inclusive workplace, D’Agostino comments:

“The transgender community faces ongoing discrimination and in launching these guidelines we are acknowledging the ongoing impact of transphobia on the everyday lives of our transgender colleagues and clients and the importance of creating a global workplace that is safe and supportive.”

While HSF’s surgery subsidy will only impact UK staff (including partners and trainees), the 26-office outfit has also announced a series of other medical benefits to be introduced globally. These include: time off for gender affirmation medical appointments and procedures, and time off for employees whose family members are transitioning.

In 2016, Legal Cheek reported that fellow global titan Hogan Lovells had launched a first-of-its-kind transgender workplace policy. This outlined guidelines for transitioning in the workplace and gave information on what resources and guidance Hogan Lovells can offer.

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Question: All well and good that your costs will be paid for but if you are a male transitioning to a female then will your salary be cut or, if not cut, then in future not increase accordingly as it might if considered male? Or increased if vice versa considering the gender pay gap issues currently going on? Now that’s an interesting thought isn’t it? Likewise all those who are “gender fluid” and apparently cannot forecast how they will feel (male or female) when they get up each morning? What is their official salary/what are they regarded or paid as – male or a female?



Well, generally speaking, those who undergo gender reassignment surgery are less likely to have dependents so should require less income.



This post has been removed because it breached Legal Cheek’s comments policy.



This post has been removed because it breached Legal Cheek’s comments policy.



Considering multi variant analysis has consistently proven the gender pay gap to be based on factors other than gender such as hours worked, the nature of work dons etc and there are laws in place when it is discriminatory based on a protected characteristic I don’t think this is an issue.



Only if they choose the traditional female route of working less hours along with the new genitals!


Granny Grammar

It’s “fewer hours”, not “less hours”.



Will HSF stop at nothing to increase its earning power, turning even more women into men! ??



The zenith of political correctness. They will boast for ages about how inclusive they are.


Patrick McCann

Actually, it helps at least two of my friends who work there. So that must be a good thing. But hurrah for you pulling something bad out of something good.



This post has been removed because it breached Legal Cheek’s comments policy.



I identify as a horse. Craft me some genitalia doctor.


Sandra from Accounts

Let me know when the procedure is complete


Ziggy the Zebra

I have been trans-species all my life but when I approached HR in my firm to ask for funding for an operation to have fur implants and surgery to have my hands and feet fashioned into hooves, they just laughed at me.


Sandra from Accounts

I don’t think you get it. I like horse d*ck.





This comment is pretty strong evidence for why firms need LGBT initiatives like this – congratulations on helping fuel this massive advance for trans people!


Corbyn. Symphathiser




Oh, okay. Well, not having bigger breasts and a designer vagina is severely impacting my life psychologically and emotionally, so will HSF pay for that too? Or, how about fillers for my under eyes after how much I work?? This initiative is so stupid and it shows what’s wrong with the world.


Corbyn. Symphathiser

If it’s really affecting you so negatively, and you think HSF should pay, then I would suggest you take it up with HSF, as they’ve proven to be fairly sympathetic to their employees. If you don’t work for them you may find this doesn’t work.


It’s a good job you don’t work at HSF then isn’t it 👌 no need to get stress about something that doesn’t apply to you.


You joke about this, but the Australian Navy pays for breast augmentation. The improved confidence produced more efficient and assertive female sailors. This also generated better morale generally(for one reason or another).

I’m sure everyone at HSF’s London office would appreciate a morale boost after being slogged late into the night only to be reminded they’re not a Magic Circle firm.


Will they pay for my Apache Helicopter reassignment surgery?



Pffft, everyone knows that is not a real thing. Now excuse me whilst I legally change my name to Xanadu and go for a swim with my fellow dolphins.



We’re virtuous, we’re virtuous. Look at us, we’re virtuous.


Corbyn. Symphathiser

Mocking virtue signalling to signal to everyone your virtue of not liking virtue signalling.



Says the person who is mocking mocking virtual signalling in order to signal to everyone your virtue of not liking virtue signalling mocking.


Corbyn. Sympathiser

Almost as if I’m illustrating what a stupid concept virtue signalling is.


Patrick McCann

What they’re actually doing is helping at least two people I know there. So rhat@/ a good thing. These are real people you are deriding. Shame on you.


Corbyn. Symphathiser

This is a good thing, well done HSF.



HSF’s graduate recruitment marketing strategy is now just going to be based on how they now pay for people to pursue their perversions



You sad little person. Did you grow up without daddy?


Patrick McCann

Wow. Just wow. What an awful thing to bother to to type.


Barry McB

Pathetic virtue-signalling nonsense.



Quite. Like Neuberger and his visits to state schools. Pathetic.








Patrick McCann

Actually helping people. That’s the actual F.



This is a bit of an extreme way to get those gender diversity figures up…



And then those UK weaklings wonder why their profits are down. There are a billion aspiring solicitors who can play the role of paper pusher at a bloated SC firm like Herbies.

This post has been moderated because it breached Legal Cheek’s comments policy.



Amazing work HSF! Keep up the good work.

Despite the barriers in place it’s great to see change happening. Traditional attitudes to ‘difference’ will always be there but eventually we all have to move forwards . Just to think 20 years ago people would have been questioning why LGB people should get workplace protection legislation,adoption rights and equal marriage.



This entire comment thread shows exactly what’s wrong with the legal profession.

Keep up the good work HSF.



I wouldn’t limit the comments to just that of the legal profession. These are the same comments found in any part of the Global North, which is still undeniably more tolerant than many other parts of the world (looking at you, Honduras).

The reality is trans people will face a war on two fronts: The association of a different gender identity with non-heterosexual lifestyles, and the psychological/medical background which lists Gender Dysphoria in the DSM-5 with all the other mental disorders. I’m not going to say whether these are right or wrong, but these issues exist. Society in general will continue to have thoughts like the posters above; some supportive, and some not so much.


Barry B

Legal Cheek is wonderful for one thing and one thing only: reading the anonymous comments and reassuring myself that, with only a very small number of exceptions (e.g. you), lawyers have not fallen for the SJW guff, despite the best efforts of regulators, HR departments and other assorted dickheads.



I guarantee the majority of the comments are not from legal professionals, just low-life, bottom-feeding troglodytes with nothing better to do. Conversations I’ve had with those involved in the profession are encouraging and inclusive. Ignore these morons. Great work, HSF!



Prime tax write off strategy.

It’s only a slightly less of a waste of money than investing in firm branded fidget spinners as advertising.


Corbyn. Symphathiser

Sod off.



“You know what I hate? Close minded individuals who are not willing to criticise the status quo, can’t acknowledge the potential of alternative viewpoints, and afraid of an open debate. That, and people who don’t agree with me or match my opinions.” – all internet SJWs and government nutters.

Sigh, I miss the political middle.


Corbyn. Symphathiser

Why be in the middle when you can have the far left, comrade?



Because being taxed to death sucks? I wouldn’t mind it so much if public services actually worked in the UK, but the government and their services are completely inept.

Corbyn. Sympathiser

All because of the Tories. JC would have it sorted before you could say Karl Marx.

Corbyn. Sympathiser

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, I suppose.


You’re being parodied not imitated.

Corbyn. Symphathiser

Aren’t parodies normally meant to be funny?


Are you claiming to have a sense of humour now?

Corbyn. Sympathiser

I do. You’re not funny. Nazis aren’t funny. You have to be intelligent to be (intentionally) funny, which precludes all Nazis. Like you.


Cuckold Sympathiser is the worst poster on LC.


Corbyn. Sympathiser

Not as bad as your mum.



Clean up the pie, cucky.

You ‘re so unoriginal that you even stole your username from Let’s Go Champ 2.0.


Corbyn. Sympathiser

I’ve not seen this poster, perhaps one of my many imitators?


Rupina; a US Firm Associate

This post has been removed because it breached Legal Cheek’s comments policy.



Fine, so long as HSF make the employees undergo some serious psychological testing beforehand. I’m genuinely concerned as to how many people get this life changing surgery on the nod.


Corbyn. Symphathiser

You shouldn’t be, because that never happens.


Patrick McCann

There’s not a tsunami of people signing up for this as well you know and those who do will have gone through hell, including psychological evaluation, to pursue this so worry about something else.
Like being a decent person.



Herbert Smith already has the souls of its employees

Now it wants their testicles too



Herbert Smith Freehills has clearly made the decision that they value their human resources and that it is not in their interest to lose high performing staff, or lose out on high quality recruits, simply because those people happen to be Trans.

This is a logical and humane policy that is also in the self-interest of the firm.

Having a diverse workforce is a good thing. It avoids group think (a board room full of straight, white, middle class men is likely to be very congenial for those on the board but not particularly innovative when it comes to solutions and looking at problems from different angles); promotes better customer understanding and service (a firm’s clients will come from diverse backgrounds and a firm’s staff should be able to understand them if the firm wants to excel); and as a result of that will have improved profitability and performance.

These are all good things. Good for the business, good for the staff, and good for the Trans people that want to come to work for such a company.

The only people are would not be happy are those people who fear change, are unable to empathise with their colleagues and clients, are inflexible in their attitudes and biases and (in some instances) spend their office hours coming online to spew hateful and bigoted commentary anonymously.

But then…I suppose those people might not make the best lawyers. Would be a presumption to assume that Herbert Smith Freehills would rather those types of people not apply for positions at the firm?


Jonathan Wheeler

Hear hear Chris. Couldn’t put it better. Well done HSF – you deserve praise not derision for this enlightened policy.


Patrick McCann

Chris, indeed. Thanks for posting.


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