Long before it was commonplace in corporate America, Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP had developed and instituted a firmwide domestic partner benefits program to serve the needs of its lesbian and gay employees and their families. Several years ago, the firm implemented a “gross up” policy for those paying health care premiums for same-sex domestic partners to offset taxes that heterosexual couples are not subject to paying. Such actions underscore the firm’s unwavering belief in the tenets of fairness and equal access to opportunity infused in the basic fiber of our policies, programs and services.
Our support for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) issues begins at the law school level and extends through internal initiatives undertaken to ensure equality for all employees. LGBT attorneys at Akin Gump maintain an informal, firmwide affinity network to foster dialogue amongst themselves, to discuss legal issues pertinent to the LGBT community and to participate in pro bono engagements and recruitment of “out” attorneys and law students. LGBT partners meet annually at the firm’s partner retreat to discuss mentoring, leadership and networking issues.
Akin Gump frequently sponsors and participates in programs developed by LGBT affinity groups at schools where we recruit. We are active in community organizations and programs, including pro bono work for the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network and sponsorship of the American Civil Liberties Union’s Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender & AIDS Project summer reception.