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Diversity Speaker Series Brad Sears

June 9, 2017

On Friday, May 19, Covington’s Washington office hosted the latest installment of the firm’s Diversity Speaker Series featuring Brad Sears of the Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law. Nearly 100 summer associates and lawyers were in attendance with all U.S. offices, London, and Brussels joining via video conference.

Brad is the founding director and Executive Director of the Williams Institute and an Adjunct Professor at UCLA School of Law. The Williams Institute conducts independent research on sexual orientation and gender identity law and public policy.

Brad’s discussion focused on the “LGBT Divide” report, which reviews social climate, demographic, economic, and health indicators and highlights disparities between the 21 U.S. states that currently have non-discrimination laws that include sexual orientation and the 29 states without such laws. 

The report also highlights regional disparities for LGBT individuals living in the Southern, Midwest, and Mountain states, such as: (1) LGBT individuals in the South face lower insurance rates than LGBT people in other regions in the country, and (2) LGBT individuals from the Midwest are less likely to have completed a college degree by age 25 than non-LGBT Midwesterners. 

Brad emphasized the importance of the work that still needs to be done at the state level. He concluded his talk by presenting economic arguments, showing how laws protecting LGBT rights can improve local economies, based on studies the Williams Institute has conducted in Texas, Florida, and Georgia.

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