Hinshaw Partner Cecilia Horan Featured in Chicago Lawyer Article on The 2.6 Percent in Law Firms

June 30, 2015

Hinshaw & Culbertson LLP partner Cecilia A. Horan was recently featured in an article by the Chicago Lawyer titled, "The 2.6 Percent." The article analyzed the importance of lawyers being out in their workplace and was the main focus of the magazine's diversity edition.

The article began by taking a look at the statistic that 2.6 percent of lawyers at law firms self identify as LGBT. This data came from the Chicago Lawyer annual survey. According to the article, many gay and lesbian lawyers stated that the 2.6 percent statistic is likely not an accurate reflection of the number of LGBT lawyers at Chicago law firms, but is a influential reflection of a lawyers comfort level being out in the workplace. 

Next, the article examined one of the most significant changes for LGBT lawyers which is that they are open about their sexuality before working in law. Many lawyers today feel more comfortable about being out due to the shifting attitudes towards the LGBT community and the existence of LGBT affinity networks at law firms. Ms. Horan discussed her experience of hiding her sexual orientation from her colleagues, but then felt comfortable expressing that by helping Hinshaw Partner Todd M. Young, launch the LGBT Affinity Network at Hinshaw. She shared her belief that it is beneficial for attorneys to be open about themselves in the workplace by stating “I always had a ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ policy. But once the cat was out of the bag, I did feel relief.”

The article concluded by examining how law firms are actively trying to create a diverse and inclusive attorney network by promoting diversity and inclusion among their corporate culture. This is crucial in obtaining a diverse attorney presence as these statistics must be self reported by lawyers themselves. When asked whether that 2.6 percent number was indicative of an inclusive atmosphere in Chicago firms, all of the attorneys featured in the Chicago Lawyer article, including Ms. Horan, stated that it is important to look at how far society has come. According to the article, "In 2002, less than 1 percent of lawyers self-identified as LGBT, according to the National Association for Law Placement. Last year, that number was 2.3 percent. At the largest law firms, 5.1 percent of summer associates were openly LGBT, suggesting the numbers will continue to rise."

Read the full Chicago Lawyer feature article, "The 2.6 Percent."

Hinshaw & Culbertson LLP is a national law firm with approximately 500 attorneys providing coordinated legal services across the United States and in London. Hinshaw lawyers partner with businesses, governmental entities and individuals to help them effectively address legal challenges and seize opportunities. Founded in 1934, the firm represents clients in complex litigation and in regulatory and transactional matters.