Pride 2021: Clifford Chance lawyers belt out gender-neutral track

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By Aishah Hussain on

Magic circle marks Pride month 🏳️‍🌈

Clifford Chance choir

Pride celebrations are in full swing, with magic circle law firms honouring the LGBT+ community in a myriad of ways.

Clifford Chance‘s global (virtual) choir ensemble has recorded a performance (below) of 1920s American composer and songwriter Cole Porter’s Let’s do it.

This song represents the first time in mainstream culture where a writer deliberately missed out “he” and “she” and replaced them with “me” and “you”, and “them” and “us”, according to the firm, which itself decided to drop gendered language from emails and legal docs in December last year.

It features lawyers and staff from all levels of the firm, with surprise guest appearances from managing partner Matthew Layton and senior partner Jeroen Ouwehand. The video has racked up thousands of views since it was shared by the firm online.

The choir pull out an array of props to go with some of the lyrics in the four-minute medley, including stuffed animals, national flags, paper hearts and even kitchen sponges!

“Porter opened love songs to everyone, and Pride month is about love for all,” the firm said. “With this performance we hope to shine a light on his message.”

Building on its online event series from last year (which included a workshop on ballroom ‘voguing’), CC is putting on a live virtual art show this week to mark Pride 2021. The event will exhibit the work of LGBT+ and supporter artists, who will take the audience through their works, accompanied by a live illustrator who will interpret their thinking.

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The rest of the magic circle are celebrating Pride in different ways.

Slaughter and May’s Pride activities include a letter campaign across its LGBT+ network, encouraging members to write a letter to themselves when they were younger, where the collection of letters will be published in a booklet to be shared widely. The firm will also be releasing a series of podcasts and video interviews to celebrate Pride.

The focus for Allen & Overy this month is sharing the stories of its LGBT+ partners and staff. A recent article by two of the firm’s partners documents their experience coming out at work and the importance of lesbian visability.

Linklaters is also sharing the stories of its LGBT+ colleagues throughout Pride month. Further, the firm is running a webinar series focusing on the intersection of LGBT+ and ethnicity, delivered by leading campaigner Phyllis Opoku-Gyimah, widely known as Lady Phyll. Linklaters is also encouraging all lawyers and staff to show visible support by either wearing a Pride badge, lanyard or to improvise with rainbow-coloured clothing in virtual meetings with clients and colleagues.

Freshfields, meanwhile, is hosting virtual activities and events with special guests to mark the month of Pride. The firm is also sharing across its social media insights and reflections from its people, discussing what Pride means to them.

The wider profession has also come together, virtually, to honour Pride 2021. The Law Society, Bar Council and CILEx are encouraging members of the profession to share their “untold stories” using the hashtag #LegalPride2021 and #EqualUnderTheLaw, which they will then re-share to highlight the experiences of LGBT+ lawyers across the country.

The theme crosses over with The Law Society’s LGBT+ research — which will be released next month — and found that a quarter of LGBT+ respondents had experienced homophobia, biphobia or transphobia in the workplace, with the majority not reporting incidents.

“Now more than ever, we must continue to take a stand,” said I. Stephanie Boyce, president of The Law Society, in a statement this month. “It is vital to show the public that the legal profession will constantly and unequivocally support LGBT+ people and their rights.”

The annual Pride in London parade has been pushed back to September 2021. It was not staged last year due to the coronavirus pandemic.

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