What year were you called to the Bar?
What year did you join Coram?
What type of family law do you practice?
Children law, public and private.
How has being a LGBTQ+ lawyer changed since you were called to the Bar?
The culture of equality and fairness at the Bar has strengthened since I joined the profession and that includes for LGBT+ people. The family Bar may be ahead of other areas of legal endeavour, perhaps because it has been at the forefront of professional equality for women. I feel that ‘feminism’ and ‘gay liberation’ have been good allies at the Bar which has developed a strong ‘diversity’ culture, at least on the surface. My old ‘creative’ profession of architecture is still way behind by comparison; for example, only 17% of registered architects are women.
Do you feel like being out has affected how people behave towards you at work?
When I joined the Bar, I had already been out publicly as a gay man for 22 years. Every application to chambers for pupillage made that clear (though I was still asked a raft of irrelevant and patronising questions by some sets). Perhaps I avoided more negative environments for that reason but I have never felt treated differently in any of the 4 family sets that I have belonged to, either by clerks or colleagues. I have however seen growing confidence in younger LGBT colleagues.
What more can be done to support LGBTQ+ lawyers and/or clients in family law?
In terms of the future, I reckon that the proudly diverse and inclusive culture of Coram since its inception shows the way. Inspirational leaders like Martha Cover and others made Coram what it is; it will I believe continue to be exemplary in its commitment to equality for all.
Who is your favourite LGBT+ historical figure?
There are so many LGBT hero(ine)s. One favourite of mine is Armistead Maupin whose series of novels Tales of the City are unapologetically ‘queer’ but which were among the first to gain a wide, general readership in the post-liberation period.
What is the best thing about being a family lawyer?
The best thing about family law is that never find it dull.