As an employment lawyer, I have always been interested in equality. I believe that the way we are treated at work is a crucial part of our lives and I have seen how it has an impact way beyond the workplace. Employment law is also one of the few areas of law which provides a constantly changing snapshot of the values held by our society. These are some of the reasons why I love my job.

The protection that LGBT+ people currently enjoy in the UK has not always been in place. When I was growing up there were heated battles over the extent to which homosexuality could form part of the curriculum in our schools; there were openly hostile government statements, and the environment post-AIDS was generally a difficult one for gay people. While I have never experienced any open hostility in the workplaces in which I have worked, I am aware of many older lawyers who chose to keep their sexuality hidden in order (as they saw it) to ensure that their careers could advance. When I was a young lawyer, there were relatively few openly gay partners at the firms in which I worked and those who were gay did not seem to bring their personal lives (or their other halves) into their professional identity the way that their straight counterparts did.

When I became a partner at Brodies, the head of employment (Joan Cradden) and then managing partner (Bill Drummond) were both aware of my sexuality and it was clear to me that they couldn’t have cared less. They were supportive of me and what I could bring to the firm. Three months later, at a partners' conference, Bill made a point of speaking at length to my other half. This was, to my knowledge, the first time a same-sex couple had attended the partners' conference and it felt like an important moment. Bill's efforts were a very public sign of acceptance and welcome and his efforts meant a lot to me. Since then, I have been fortunate to make a huge number of lasting friendships amongst my Brodies colleagues and I have always felt that our firm truly embraces one of our fundamental values - collegiality.

As we enter Pride Month, I am proud to be working in a firm that continues to embrace diversity and to challenge ourselves. While the Equality Act 2010 outlaws discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation as well as other protected characteristics, it is the culture of a workplace that really defines whether or not it embraces diversity. Legal protections are one thing – championing difference and working hard to provide a truly welcoming and safe environment where all individuals can bring their best selves to the workplace is another.

That is why I am also delighted that Brodies has set up a variety of colleague networks, including a network for LGBT+ colleagues and allies. As the senior sponsor of the PRIDE network, I am committed to ensuring that our firm listens to the lived experiences of those with an interest in LGBT+ issues and that we continue to work hard to ensure that our workplace and our clients can benefit from the skills and talents of everyone who works with us. I am also delighted that the network has been publicised across our firm and will serve as a statement of our commitment to creating a workplace in which LGBT+ colleagues can thrive and succeed. That is a statement I am proud to make, and I look forward to working with the network as we continue our firm's diversity journey.


Tony Hadden

Head of Employment & Partner