The Human Right Campaign, which is the country’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender advocacy group, released their 2012 Corporate Equality Index on Thursday, and dozens of the law firms earned the group their highest possible score for their LGBT-friendly policies.
This year’s version of the HRC’S annual survey rates over 850 employers spanning across 38 industries on a scale of 0-100. To arrive at it’s estimated rating, the group considered such a criteria as whether the employers have their official nondiscrimination policies, provide insurance coverage for same-sex partners, and are actively engaged with the community of LGBT.
Of the 139 law firms that were rated, 55 of them received perfect scores and another group of 44 received scores of 90. (Because HRC had changed its survey criteria this year, comparisons to the past years’ scores can be quite misleading.)
Foley & Lardner was among those who fell below the survey’s upper echelon. In Foley’s case, the low rating makes very good on the warning that HRC publicly announced to the firm last month as a result of the Washington, D.C.-based campaign finance partner Cleta Mitchell’s work on behalf of the National Organization for Marriage (NOM), which is an antigay marriage group.
On November 8, HRC gave out a letter that was addressed to the Foley chairman Jay Rothman in which it criticized the firm for representing NOM and other groups with a similar agenda, Stand for Marriage D.C., in their respective bid to stop the efforts in Minnesota and Washington, D.C., to legalize gay marriage.
The letter from HRC talked about Foley–which received a perfect score on the group’s 2010 survey–saying that they turned its work for the two antigay marriage groups. Foley shows extensive information on the firm’s commitment to diversity in the world, including their support to the attorneys at LGBT.
In addition to saying in the letter that Foley was in line to receive a score of 60 on the 2012 CEI, the HRC president Joe Solmonese also warned everyone that his group has planned on beginning to contact the Foley clients to highlight the firm’s work on behalf of all of the enemies to same-sex marriage.
The threat is like the one that the group made against King & Spalding earlier this year after the then-partner Paul Clement agreed to represent the House of Representatives as a new client in litigation over section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (also known as the DoMA).
While Mitchell is not as high on the ladder like Clement it, her history of representing those who oppose same-sex marriage has obviously put her firm, and Foley, in HRC’s line of sight.