Be yourself, be authentic by Sian Owles, Partner at Hogan Lovells

What I did know was that I wasn’t happy at my previous law firm. I didn’t have any visible role models and I spent a lot of time, and energy, hiding who I was to all but a close group of colleagues.

I did my research before joining Hogan Lovells in 2012 and even asked questions about diversity at my interview. The fact that my interviewers could answer them gave me huge comfort.  I attended my first LGBT+ event on my third day at work (it was a lot of fun!) and didn’t look back.

Over the years, I’ve learned that being a good lawyer is about being yourself. Clients don’t instruct you just because of your technical legal ability, it comes down to relationships, clients need to connect with and trust their lawyer. It is much harder to connect on a personal level if you are hiding such an important part of your life.

As time has gone by, we see trainees coming through who are much more prepared to be open about who they are right from the start of their careers. I believe that this is in no small part due to the visibility and activity of LGBT+ role models, our Pride Network and our Pride+ ally programme and the huge support it gets from senior management. One day these networks will no longer be needed, but right now they are a vital component in ensuring that those in the LGBT+ community feel able to be themselves and that equality and inclusion are kept firmly on the radar.

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