Foley & Lardner LLP sees LGBT Index Rating Drop
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The law firm of Foley & Lardner LLP saw its points on the 2012 Corporate Equality Index docked by the Human Rights Campaign on Thursday of last week.  The index rates companies based on the policies they have regarding gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender employees. The law firm group’s rating on the index was reduced because it supports groups that oppose same-sex marriage, according to Law360.

There are 139 law firms rated by the index, with the score of 60 for the Foley firm coming in as one of the lowest of all the law firms. The scoring is done on a 100-point scale. The majority of the law firms rated on the index are members of the Am Law 200. Fifty-five of the law firms rated on the index achieved perfect scores, while 44 law firms received scores of 90 on the index. There were only 13 law firms that scored at or below the rating of 60 that Foley received.


Back in 2009 and 2010, Foley earned perfect scores on the index, but its rating on the index dropped to 85 in 2011. The lower score for Foley was reported to the firm by the president of the HRC, Joe Solmonese, who sent a letter to the firm on November 8. The letter to the firm expressed the dissatisfaction of the firm for its representation of the National Organization for Marriage. The letter called the representation “a notable step backwards.”

Also according to the letter, Foley partner Cleta Mitchell has registered as NOM’s Minnesota lobbyist. The reason for this could be the fact that Mitchell will advocate for legislation on its behalf. The letter from Solmonese states that even though the firm has to represent some very unpopular clients, lawyers do have a duty to take on controversial cases. Solmonese also said that the registration as a lobbyist by Mitchell “goes well beyond any professional or ethical obligations of legal representation.”

“Moreover, the firm has established a clear pattern of knowingly taking on anti-LGBT organizations as clients, even after we and others in the community expressed concerns,” Solmonese said in the letter.

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In 2010, the HRC had already dropped the firm as a national corporate partner. This occurred after the firm decided to represent the Stand for Marriage D.C., which is an organization based in Washington that openly opposes gay marriage. The letter also stated that Foley has not responded to the previous two surveys released by the HRC.

There were 636 companies rated by the 2012 survey on criteria that includes workplace protections, domestic partner health care, and adoption assistance. The legal world was the largest of the industries surveyed that came away with perfect scores, which was 55. The industry of banking and financial services came in second with 22 perfect scores.


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