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Gay and lesbian solicitors feel that they are unable to come out to colleagues and want more support from the profession, a new study by the Law Society has shown.
The society spoke to a small sample of 15 gay men and 10 lesbian solicitors working in private practice and in-house, to identify key issues affecting homosexual lawyers.
The Law Society found that very few gay and lesbian solicitors feel they can come out in the early stages of their career and prefer to wait until they have reached a more senior position.
Interviewees said that City firms tended to be more “macho” than firms outside London, and that client outings to places like Spearmint Rhino held “undertones of homophobia”.
The study produced a set of recommendations including a suggestion that the Law Society should set up a confidential helpline for gay and lesbian solicitors and endorse a group for homosexual lawyers. Interviewees also recommended that the Law Society should work more with bodies such as equality group Stonewall to promote best practice.
The interviewees also recommended that law firms should make sure that equal opportunities policies cover sexual orientation discrimination.