Fried Frank proudly hosted its 18th Annual Michael R. Diehl Civil Rights Forum on Tuesday, June 26, 2018, at the Crosby Street Hotel in New York City. The event, titled “Workplace Civil Rights in an Era of Greater Visibility,” featured guest speakers Carmelyn Malalis, Commissioner of the NYC Commission on Human Rights; Melissa Rodriguez, labor and employment partner at Morgan Lewis & Bockius LLP; and Omar Gonzalez-Pagan, senior attorney and health care strategist at Lambda Legal.
“The Michael R. Diehl Forum is an opportunity each year to discuss the progress that's been made for civil rights, and to also acknowledge the work still to be done,” said real estate partner Michael J. Barker, chair of Fried Frank's Diversity Committee. “The evening's discussion served as an enlightening and productive celebration of the spirit of progress.”
The panelists, moderated by real estate and litigation partner Janice Mac Avoy, discussed the importance of creating a safe and fair workplace, including the recently increased visibility of such issues with the #MeToo movement, and the steps that organizations and colleagues alike can take to enact positive change in their work environment.
The Firm established the annual Michael R. Diehl Civil Rights Forum in 2000 to honor the legacy of Michael R. Diehl, a Fried Frank corporate associate, known for his dedication to the cause of civil rights for the gay and lesbian community, who died in a tragic swimming accident in 1999. Presented by the Firm's LGBTQ Resource Group, the forum has featured prominent civic leaders to engage the Fried Frank community in a discussion of current civil rights and social justice issues and concerns. Previous forums have included discussions of opportunities for and challenges to advancing LGBTQ rights domestically and internationally, the historic Supreme Court rulings in Windsor v. United States and Hollingsworth v. Perry, and the tension between LGBTQ civil rights and religious exemptions.
Fried Frank's LGBTQ Resource Group seeks to build upon the Firm's longstanding commitment to recruiting and retaining a diverse community and to increasing understanding of and involvement in the unique issues facing the LGBTQ community. The group spearheads several pro bono representation efforts, from groundbreaking family law litigation involving same-sex couples to name-change petitions for transgender clients. It maintains strong relationships with important organizations like the National LGBT Bar Association, Lambda Legal, and Immigration Equality. Click here to learn more about the Firm's Diversity & Inclusion program.