Lawyers defend “homophobic” industry

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a pink background.

Lawyers on the South Coast are divided over a report by the Law Society which says that the industry is institutionally homophobic.

It reveals a “macho culture” in law firms which is hindering career progression of gay and lesbian lawyers. It describes “constant trips to Spearmint Rhino (a lap dancing club), rugby matches and drinking sessions” as holding undertones of homophobia.

“I can’t say that I agree with the report,” Natalie Gamble, from Lester Aldridge Solicitors (LA Law) told “I have never been a victim of homophobia in the workplace.”

Chris Lathbury, a gay man who also works for LA Law, admitted that he was worried about homophobia in the industry but has been welcomed into law firms. “I spoke to a gay tutor at law school about his experiences and he told me that even in the large city law firms his experience was very positive.”

However, some gay lawyers say they have had to choose the firm that they work for wisely. “LGBT people do suffer discrimination in some law firms,” said Khan Priestly, from the gay friendly Healey’s Solicitors in Brighton.

“Many of them choose to quietly move on to another firm who is more supportive instead of standing up for their rights.”

Gay equality organisation Stonewall welcomed the Law Society report but stressed that many law firms have a good track record of being gay-friendly.