I joined Hogan Lovells (or Lovell White Durrant as it then was) as a trainee solicitor in 2000 and have been a partner in the financial services litigation team since 2012.
When I joined the firm, most of my fellow trainees knew that I was a lesbian because I had a girlfriend at law school. But other people in the firm wouldn’t have known. It felt a bit like an outing event each time I engaged in small talk about my weekend – I would have to decide whether to use a gender neutral pronoun to refer to my girlfriend and only use she or her if it became impossible not to lie – or just come straight out with it and brace myself for a reaction.
In truth, my concern about coming out to colleagues was unfounded as people were universally positive and accepting – but I do remember it being a residual source of stress and quite exhausting at the time.
In 2009, I got engaged. That was a turning point, because at that point my sexuality became common knowledge. I sent my entire department an invitation to my engagement party with a picture of my fiancée and me on it! I recall a couple of PAs and one partner coming into my office and saying, “Goodness me, Elaine, I had no idea!” In hindsight it was a bit of a watershed moment for me, just being out there and not having to correct people or explain myself anymore. Read more via the Lawyer