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Travers Smith launches fourth year of pioneering LGBT+ mentoring scheme in partnership with Just Like Us


Travers Smith LLP is delighted to launch the fourth year of its pioneering mentoring scheme, in partnership with LGBT+ charity Just Like Us (JLU), aimed at providing LGBT+ graduates with the skills, confidence and support they need as they transition from university life to full time employment.

Entering the workplace can be daunting experience for LGBT+ people. Many LGBT+ people come out at university, but a staggering 60 per cent go back into the closet when they start their careers. Having to conceal your identity or sexual orientation can have a major impact on one's ability to have a productive and fulfilling career. Research conducted by Stonewall demonstrates that people perform better when they can be themselves. They will be more productive, feel able to build better relationships with their colleagues and ultimately better serve the needs of their clients and service users. Promoting greater LGBT+ inclusion is therefore not only the right thing to do, it also makes business sense too.

The firm has worked closely with JLU in developing the scheme since its launch in 2016, including sourcing mentors, providing training, and creating resources and guidance for mentors and mentees. As well as helping develop the mentoring scheme, Travers Smith works closely with JLU including pro bono legal work on policies, governance, data protection, IP and other general legal issues. Head of Pensions and Partner Daniel Gerring also chairs the charity's board of trustees.

This year, the mentors are once again drawn from a wide range of industries and professions, including healthcare and medicine, law, the arts, academia and politics. They include Hardwicke barrister, Brie Stevens-Hoare QC, Head of Regulatory Policy at LME and Travers Smith alumnus, Katy Hyams, Private Secretary to the Minister for Digital Infrastructure, John Peart, and composer Alex Mills. The 2020-21 scheme was launched virtually on 17 October, and mentors will be working closely with their mentees over the coming year, helping to support the personal and professional development of an emerging cohort of future LGBT+ leaders.  

Demonstrating the impact of this scheme, over 80 per cent of past mentees felt able to start their first job openly LGBT+, which is double the national average for LGBT+ graduates entering the workplace.

Partner, and Chair of the firm's LGBT+ Group, Daniel Gerring, who is also on the Trustee Board of JLU, said of last year's feedback: "We are delighted to be working with Just Like Us for the fourth year on this mentoring scheme. The feedback that we have had every year from both mentors and mentees has been overwhelmingly positive and I am proud that we are able to continue to support young LGBT+ people as they enter the workplace. The fact that over 80 per cent of the student ambassadors felt confident to start their first job openly LGBT+ highlights the role this scheme can play in supporting our future LGBT+ leaders, as well as some of the remaining challenges".

Dominic Arnall, Chief Executive, Just Like Us commented: "As Chief Executive of Just Like Us I'm thrilled that this programme is now entering its fourth consecutive year. Being an LGBT+ young person can still be unacceptably tough and all too often LGBT+ young people don't have anyone to discuss how to navigate the sometimes complicated issues that can arise from entering the workplace as an LGBT+ person. I would like to sincerely thank our partners, Travers Smith and all of our mentors who have given their time to ensure that young people are supported during this important transitional phase"

Katy Hyams, Head of Regulatory Policy, LME said: "Supporting LGBT+ people to be open in their work environment and helping them realise their true potential has always been a passion of mine. I look forward to working with the student ambassadors this year to help empower them to become authentic and confident future LGBT+ leaders".

Dr David McLaughlan, Consultant Psychiatrist, said: "I'm delighted to be a mentor for this year's scheme, and to be working with a talented cohort of LGBT+ graduates. Providing young people with tools and guidance to enable them to live their authentic lives, confident with their identity, is vitally important."

Tamoor Ali, Originator, BP, added: "Supporting young LGBT+ people and helping them reach their full potential is hugely important. I'm really pleased to be part of this year's mentoring scheme and to be working with such a talented group of future LGBT+ leaders."

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