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Diversity Speaker Series Event: LGBT Inclusion

December 16, 2016

On November 29, Covington’s Diversity Committee in London hosted a panel event on “LGBT Inclusion: Challenges That Have Been Overcome and Battlegrounds Remaining.” The panel was comprised of Gill Philips, Jonathan Cooper OBE, and Richard Macmillan, and was chaired by Covington associates Colin Warriner and Hannah Edmonds.

Topics discussed included:

  • legal triumphs from the past decades in the development of and protection of LGBT rights; 
  • the impact on the LGBT community of current affairs such as the Syrian refugee crisis, Brexit, and the new U.S. administration; 
  • current cases such as the “Gay Cake Case” in Northern Ireland, where the determination of LGBT protections is central;
  • the developments (in some cases regressions) in the protection of LGBT rights across the globe; and
  • what the legal profession can be doing to foster environments in which LGBT people can thrive. 

The panelists brought considerable experience to bear—each from a different legal career perspective. Gill Philips, Director of Editorial Legal Services for Guardian News and Media and part-time employment judge, spoke in particular about the cultural shift towards inclusion within many corporate organizations and provided helpful insight into the sometimes “conflicting” rights at work in many LGBT-centred cases. Mr. Cooper, as a human rights barrister and former Chief Executive of the Human Dignity Trust, drew on his experience with international cases, and provided interesting insight into the history of development of LGBT rights across the UK and Europe. Richard Macmillan, Liberal Democrats member and legal counsel at the British Heart Foundation, brought perspective from his experience in the political and third sector space and spoke about the importance of engagement on this issue across many levels of seniority and stakeholders. 

Discussion was lively both among the panelists and the participants once questions were turned to the floor. Around 70 attendees, including several clients, joined the event in the London office and by VTC from other offices. 

Colin WarrinerHannah Edmonds

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