MoFo News Item

MoFo Celebrates Pride Month

04 Jun 2020

June is the global celebration of Pride Month. Though our celebration may be virtual in most cities, this month we honor the many successes, achievements, and unique viewpoints of the LGBTQ+ community.

Especially during this trying time, we think it is important to highlight some of the notable achievements among the impressive amount of LGBTQ+ pro bono work MoFo has done since our last Pride Month celebration, including:

Reuniting a Cameroonian Mother and Son After a Four-Year Separation

After enduring repeated physical and emotional abuse at the hands of local authorities in Cameroon for being a lesbian, MoFo client A had no choice but to flee in 2015 and seek asylum in the United States. Unbeknownst to her at the time, this decision would lead to a complex and challenging four-year-long separation from her two young sons, who were held behind in Cameroon due to the country’s complex immigration system. In 2016, a MoFo team won asylum for A and then began work on reuniting her with her sons. A’s unwavering determination fueled the efforts of Palo Alto attorneys Shannon Sibold, Hila Cohen, Chuck Comey, and Matt Malone, with support from local organizations and the Cameroonian LGBTQ+ community in the San Francisco Bay Area. In September 2019, A was reunited with her six-year-old son, who was just two when she last saw him. Now, Shannon and Hila have refocused their efforts on securing asylum for A’s other son, who is nine years old and still living in Cameroon.

Ensuring Appropriate Medical Treatment for the LGBTQ+ Community

New York litigator James Hough and San Francisco litigator Andre Fontana represented the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) on amicus briefs before the Fourth and Ninth Circuits supporting challenges to the Title X gag rule. Title X of the Public Health Service Act provides federal funding for family-planning services. The federal government’s recently issued gag rule restricts the information that health care providers can give to patients, particularly individuals seeking reproductive health care. NCLR took the lead on an LGBTQ+ organizations brief, which was joined by other groups including Lambda Legal and the Human Rights Campaign.

Supporting Community Nonprofits

Transactional lawyers across the firm provide legal counsel to nonprofit organizations that engage with a spectrum of interests and concerns that is as wide as the LGBTQ+ community itself, from AIDS research and the needs of homeless LGBTQ+ youth to public policy advocacy to recreational softball.

Here are a few of the ways we will celebrate LGBTQ+ culture and its achievements this month:

  • Partner Panel Discussion – We will be hosting an LGBTQ+ Partner Panel Discussion with John Owen, John Smith, Susan Gault-Brown, and Joyce Liou. The discussion will be centered on career development, the path to partnership, and how their identities have affected their work. Pride Month and the LGBTQ+ community as a whole will be discussed and reflected on as a part of our celebration of this heritage month.
  • Virtual Events – We will be hosting a presentation and performance by The Kinsey Sicks which will include a brief history of their work with Larry Kramer and ACT UP. The San Francisco AIDS Foundation will lead a tour of the organization with its CEO which will include an overview of all of the impressive pro bono work that MoFo is doing with this group.
  • MoFo Perspectives – For Pride Month, MoFo Perspectives, the firm’s podcast, will focus on our LGBTQ+ partners and the colleagues, mentors, and LGBTQ+ community heroes who have helped shape and guide their careers. Partners will host conversations on mentorship, advice for LGBTQ+ attorneys, reflections on changes in the legal industry surrounding LGBTQ+ acceptance, and other similar themes.
  • Social Media Campaign – Stay tuned for our social media campaign that showcases video reflections from some of our lawyers speaking about influential historic LGBTQ+ figures, impactful events, culturally relevant places, and traditions for the LGBTQ+ community. We encourage you to join in and share this content on your own social media accounts.
  • MoFo+ Blog – Learn more about some of our LGBTQ+ partners and associates by visiting our MoFo+ blog. We’ll hear from an associate as a part of our Faces of MoFo series and one of our partners for our Spotlight on Diversity. We encourage you to take a moment to read about these diverse attorneys’ experiences inside and outside the legal profession.

Learn more about MoFo’s commitment to inclusion and diversity.

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