Leigh Day has taken a hardline stance on support for transgender people and now vets clients for perceived transphobia, a member of its LGBT committee has said.

The claim, later disputed by the firm, was made at a seminar on how law firms can climb Stonewall's Workplace Equality Index (WEI), which grades businesses according to the pressure group's LGBT inclusivity criteria and has been a popular way to advertise diversity credentials.

At the event, a solicitor from Leigh Day's ‘LGBT+ & Allies Committee’ gave a talk explaining how the firm was focusing on transgender inclusion in 2020 because "it is hard to be a trans person right now" and it was “a hot topic”. She said a transgender person spoke at every Leigh Day diversity and inclusion event "even if it's not about trans".

The human rights lawyer described how Leigh Day's LGBT network had created a new section of the firm's risk assessment process for clients and that "the LGBT Committee gets to look at that enquiry if it flags that there are any issues that have to do with LGBT issues". If it reveals that "we have a client who's said transphobic things a lot publicly in the past", then, "sometimes that's ok if it really has nothing to do with their case and it won't come out", but, "if it's a key aspect of their case, that's going to impinge on our ability to represent trans clients and be true to our trans inclusion goals".

“There are a lot of people who view it as a debate", she said, but, "we wanted to emphasise that supporting trans people isn't a debate".

A representative from the Solicitors Regulation Authority took to the podium after Leigh Day to say they were “inspired”, and on Twitter the regulator later hailed Stonewall and the firm for its “really useful tips for promoting LGBTQ+ inclusion”.

Though Stonewall has many institutional supporters such as the SRA, some lawyers have expressed unease about its far-reaching influence, and by efforts to quash debate about the implications of allowing males to self-identify as women by labelling people’s concerns as transphobic.

This week the Law Gazette reported on lawyers’ disquiet around a judge’s decision to reprimand the female victim of violence by a transgender woman. Although the defendant was found guilty, the judge refused to give the victim compensation because, when asked to refer to the defendant as ‘she’ when describing the attack, the victim did so with "bad grace" or "continued to use 'he'". 


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Dave was increasingly sure he was at the wrong event.


Gay rights organisation LGB Alliance was critical of the claims made by Leigh Day at the event. “This is perhaps the most horrifying example so far of the influence of trans rights activists in restricting the rights of people with whom they disagree”, commented a spokesperson. 

“‘Transphobia’ is a broad and largely meaningless term used often to discredit anyone who believes that sex is binary and biological fact trumps any feelings of ‘gender identity’”, they said. “If anyone who disagrees with Stonewall is to be denied access to legal representation what next?”

A spokesperson for Leigh Day told RollOnFriday, "The LGBT+ & Allies committee does not vet new clients. Matters where there may be a potential conflict are considered on a case by case basis by senior members of the firm, including our compliance team”.

Asked about the apparent contradiction between its statement and the description of its policy given at the WEI event, the spokesperson said, "If the transcript provided to us by RollOnFriday is correct, then the lawyer has misunderstood a compliance process which she isn’t party to".

An SRA spokesperson said, “Our closing remarks were a reflection on the event as a whole, which included useful discussion and debate”.

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Comments

Warren 28 February 20 09:06

Great news, all decent firms should have clear policies signalling to their staff and society that all forms of hateful bigotry are unacceptable.  There will always be bottom-feeders for whom money trumps principle, so these people won't go unrepresented.

Anonymous 28 February 20 09:16

A spokesperson for Leigh Day told RollOnFriday, "I don't carry out ethical purges, my boss does."

Thuggy 28 February 20 09:25

Good idea Warren. Perhaps the good folk at Leigh Day might extend the same courtesy and indeed those very principles to members of our armed forces as well. 

Warren 28 February 20 09:50

Lol at the comment by the LGA alliance:

“‘Transphobia’ is a broad and largely meaningless term used often to discredit anyone who believes that sex is binary and biological fact trumps any feelings of ‘gender identity’”

No, denying transgender people exist (when they quite obviously do) IS the very definition of bigoted transphobia.

Anonymous 28 February 20 09:58

Except LGB Alliance isn't a "gay rights organisation", is it? 

 

As soon as the T is gone LGB will be next. They're turkeys voting for Christmas. Even a cursory search of Twitter would have told you that...

Anon 28 February 20 10:13

So Leigh Day wouldn't have acted for Maya Forstater? Thank goodness for Slater & Gordon #ThingsINeverThoughtIdSay

Thuggy 28 February 20 11:00

Literally nobody denies trans people exist Warren.
 

You’re creating a straw man here and tilting at windmills and a bunch of other metaphors I CBA to mix. 

Anonymous 28 February 20 11:17

It's Friday ffs.  Anyone who says you can't tilt at straw windmills on a Friday is probably the sort of person who would break a butterfly to crack a walnut.

Stoat 28 February 20 11:55

The chilling grip of misguided wokesters on their unsure paymasters tightens.

Policy capture increases as companies mindlessly rainbow wash their brands.

One day they will click that many of us progressive, LGBT-supporting men and women in firms, are holding our tongues because we are scared, but discuss amongst ourselves how this is madness that threatens the boundaries of women, and the existence of gay adults, and imposes regressive gender stereotypes on children.

 

pollmeister 28 February 20 11:59

Quick straw poll - if you're in law, click thumbs up if you have reservations about the transgender rights agenda but feel you can't express them at work.

Thumbs down if you don't have reservations about the agenda and can't see an issue here.

Lord Denning 28 February 20 12:56

You mostly are a bunch of transphobic shit heads.  Hope I got the legal team right.  Looking forward to the day you get excluded from something and it hurts you and your families.  Surprised that RoF support the newly transphobic LS Gazette (well their editor). 

Lord Bingham 28 February 20 13:40

‘Lord denning’ proving absolutely everything gender critical people have been saying. 

-completely potty accusations of ‘transphobic’ to slur those who wish to debate, and thereby silence them: check

-nasty threats (our families? Really?) betraying that behind the whimsical banners, you are bullies: check

Your comment will do more than any of the others to make readers question this ideology 

ConcernedFamilyLawyer 28 February 20 13:45

Women have a right to discuss issues that concern them. Especially when it concerns existing legislation that the government is proposing amending. 

The GRA creates a legal fiction that human beings can change sex. The reality is that they cannot. This is a dangerous lie to perpetuate. At least one baby has died because someone presenting at hospital as a man with a stomach ache wasn't given a pregnancy test. 

The GRA was only created because gay marriage was illegal. There is no longer any need to pretend that someone male has managed to change their sex to female.

The GRA is unfit for purpose and should be repealed.

Stonewall stonewall 28 February 20 13:53

The level of policy capture by Stonewall Law across law firms, regulators, the justice sector and govt is scary, astonishing and on one level very impressive. But it has to stop. Supporing the transgenderagenda is not like supporting gays and lesbians. Saying men are women leads to all sorts of adverse impacts on women and girls. Being LGB doesn’t impact on anyone else, nor does it require medicalisation. 

Anonymous 28 February 20 13:53

Leigh Day? Presumably racking up thousands of costs for claimants in hopeless group litigation and then walking away when their clients can't (or won't) fund a shit case any further is absolutely "woke". 

Miss Demeanour 28 February 20 13:55

What is most disturbing is the absolute closing down of dissent and disagreement on this issue. Does Leigh Day vet potential clients for their views on race, on homosexuality, on religion, or on women's rights? Or is it just people guilty of wrongthink on trans issues that they want to shun? 

Has it occurred to anyone to ask why this one issue is the only one where disagreement has to be shut down? To the casual observer, the Gazette article was even-handed. Yet we are now told that even acknowledging the existence of a dissenting point of view was "transphobic". 

Worrying times. 

Felicity Scarlett-Rose (they/them) 28 February 20 14:45

Bravo, Leigh Day!

Imo, work like this will elevate you to soon stand proud amongst fellow pioneers and champions of anti-trans bigotry such as the esteemed Ms McGrath. 

<img src="https://pbs.twimg.com/media/EF64akTXUAEeMzM?format=jpg">

Fantastic!

Anonymous 28 February 20 15:37

"mostly are a bunch of transphobic shit heads. "

@RofGods - How on earth did this pass muster? Clear breach of your posting guidelines.

Billie Eilishish 28 February 20 15:59

Anon 15:37: I’m glad they allowed it because it shows what people are up against if they make even the mildest critical. IE they reach immediately for the bigot card. It’s quite clear no one here is saying things that would justify them being called a transphobic shithead. That they resort to that proves the point made by LGB alliance and some others here. 

Anonymous 28 February 20 16:55

@Anon, 15:30 - my comment was moderated to remove the justification for my view that the LGB Alliance isn't representative of the wider LGBT community. Needless to say I cannot repeat that justification again, lest this entire comment be rejected.

All I can urge is that people review the backgrounds of all of the founders, and historic comments they have made on social media, and consider whether they truly serve the interests of the LGB(T) community.

don donut 28 February 20 17:00

To give just one example of why accusations of 'transphobia' are being rendered meaningless by those most happy to level them, here is stonewall's definition of transgender:

"Trans people may describe themselves using one or more of a wide variety of terms, including (but not limited to) transgender, transsexual, gender-queer (GQ), gender-fluid, non-binary, gender-variant, crossdresser, genderless, agender, nongender, third gender, bi-gender, trans man, trans woman,trans masculine, trans feminine and neutrois."

If you're a woman who doesn't wear pink dresses or a man who doesn't love trucks, you too are 'non-binary'. We are basically all trans. Every kid with purple hair also qualifies trans, and oppressing them is a hate crime. I sympathise with the transexuals with gender dysphoria, because it is now very crowded.

Carl B 28 February 20 17:15

Its amazing how many people are trying to outdo themselves in persuit of the woke £££

The trans umbrella is now so huge it covers pretty much anyone 

Women especially seem to be losing rights - the right to female only spaces, prisons and sports being most egregious 

You only have to look at the trans weightlifting champion in mid 40s currently taking gold medals, money and opportunities from young female weight lifters to see what a ridiculous situation we have ended up in 

Lord Denning 28 February 20 18:41

Well it seems most of the transphobic people on here are happy for people's rights to be debated by a small number of feminist activists (see Pride 2018).  When the Gazette writes about the KKK in support, I wonder if you'll all be so happy. Probably!

Anon 28 February 20 21:07

Lord Denning - 18:41: I never comment on here, but this is such a fundamental point of basic freedoms I feel I have to say something.  This is not a case of a small number of extremists pushing an agenda against trans people.  It is about a huge majority of otherwise liberal people, who have absolutely no agenda against those identifying as trans, who are increasingly being made to feel like they have to be afraid to state obvious facts, let alone reasonable opinions, because of the hateful and bullying position of Stonewall et al.  I’ve been a proud LGBT ally for years, but I’m also a proud feminist and recently it feels like the “T” is a conflict of interests. I don’t want to believe that and cling to the fact that many trans people do not support the hateful agenda of the few, but this 1984 type environment in professional environments is pushing us towards the attitudes that resulted in the horrors of the holocaust, not away.  Sorry, that’s quite a rant, but I had to get it of my chest.  

Anonymous 28 February 20 22:38

It’s a sad day when people who denigrate and undermine trans people expect to spout forth their effluence unconfronted. 

 

Donald Trump 28 February 20 22:58

You transphobic people are my people, come to the USA, and join my party.  We'd love you mad folks.

Orwell 29 February 20 10:22

Anonymous 28 February 20 22:38

It’s a sad day when people who denigrate and undermine trans people expect to spout forth their effluence unconfronted. 

It's a sad day when a small but powerful lobby group denigrate and undermine people who are concerned about the promotion of sexist stereotypes expect to spout forth their effluence unconfronted.