CHICAGO (February 9, 2012) — Equality Illinois, the State’s oldest and largest organization advocating for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) equality, has selected McDermott Will & Emery LLP as the recipient of the annual “Business Leadership Award” for 2012. The Firm, which has a deep heritage of promoting equality in both the workplace and courtrooms throughout the country, will be presented with this award at Equality Illinois’ “Justice for All” gala event on Saturday, February 11th at the Chicago Hilton.
Equality Illinois (EQIL) was founded in 1991 to secure, protect and defend full equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender individuals. The “Business Leadership Award” is given annually to firms that demonstrate remarkable vision, courage, and leadership in the effort to achieve full equality for LGBT individuals in Illinois. Past Business Leadership Award recipients include AT&T, Kraft, Walgreens, and Motorola.
“We are humbled and honored to be receiving this prestigious award,” said Jeffrey E. Stone, co-chair of McDermott Will & Emery, based in Chicago. “Equality Illinois is a unique and very important advocacy voice in the State, and we salute their work as they continue to make huge strides in the effort to secure full equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals in Illinois. McDermott firmly believes that as lawyers we have a fiduciary responsibility to stand up for those who have suffered injustice and discrimination, and we take great pride in seeing our attorneys commit themselves to pro bono service that can make a difference in these areas.”
“We are proud of our work in providing pro bono assistance to EQIL on multiple fronts, most recently in collaborating with them to work with the Illinois Department of Revenue to change its position concerning the taxation of civil union partners,” added Peter J. Sacripanti, partner and co-chair of McDermott Will & Emery, based in New York. “We are equally pleased to receive EQIL's recognition for our work in creating and maintaining a diverse and inclusive workplace for all LGBT attorneys and employees. We look forward to strengthening our relationship with EQIL in the years to come.”
The award will be accepted by Mr. Stone.
McDermott’s Chicago-based partner Todd A. Solomon, who played a key role in advising Equality Illinois on the implementation of Illinois' new civil union law, which became law in June 2011, commented, "It is a true honor to be recognized for doing something you love and believe in,” said Mr. Solomon. “I’m so proud to have the chance to work alongside so many great and inspiring people at Equality Illinois, and I want to thank them for their tireless efforts to end discrimination and promote equality and justice throughout the State. Illinois is a better place because of EQIL’s steadfast efforts.”
McDermott has a long history of promoting LGBT policies both internally as well as externally. The Firm received the 2012 Human Rights Campaign's Corporate Equality Index, an award the Firm has received every year since 2006, and has been voted one of the “Best Places to Work” in the United States for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) individuals. McDermott recently implemented a cutting-edge benefits policy that provides full health coverage for transgender employees and is one of only a handful of top AmLaw 100 law firms to have officially implemented these benefits, along with a tax gross-up for employees who pay for the health benefits of their domestic partners. McDermott has been recognized by Equality Illinois as a leading law firm for LGBT workplace equality for several years in a row in EQIL's annual Raising the Bar survey.
McDermott’s commitment to diversity is founded on the belief that diversity is necessary to achieve excellence in all aspects of client service. The Firm is committed to a culture that values and nurtures diversity and appreciates its importance in attracting and retaining exceptional talent. To meet this commitment, McDermott has established diversity programs and practices which have helped the Firm to encourage a breadth of ideas, experiences, perspectives and insights that are necessary to meet the challenges of today's global economy.
About McDermott Will & Emery
McDermott Will & Emery is a premier international law firm with a diversified business practice. Numbering more than 1,000 lawyers, we have offices in Boston, Brussels, Chicago, Düsseldorf, Houston, London, Los Angeles, Miami, Milan, Munich, New York, Orange County, Paris, Rome, Silicon Valley and Washington, D.C. Extending our reach to Asia, we have a strategic alliance with MWE China Law Offices in Shanghai.