Jones Day launches Same-Sex Relationship Guide

In February 2015, Jones Day launched its Same-Sex Relationship Guide website, an online tool which aims to provide a resource to help answer questions regarding whether particular jurisdictions throughout the world afford legal recognition to same-sex couples

London-based partner, Matt Evans was involved with the project from its inception: “In February 2014, we had a global partners meeting in the US and a group of LGBT partners got together to discuss what we could do on a global firm-wide basis to advance interests of the LGBT community. We thought about how we may tie this in with a large pro bono project and identified same-sex relationships as a topic which marries both pro bono and diversity and inclusion quite neatly.”

Matt Evans
Matt Evans

Once the project wheels started turning, there was a noticeable impact on the firm and its employees: “The impact it had on some of us personally was great. We reached out to lawyers and staff to gauge levels of interest and received a fantastic response. In all, we had over 200 lawyers and staff who contributed to the guide and this was employees in 27 offices across 13 countries. Support came across the board and also from the top as our managing partner was very supportive. We very quickly established that the sky was the limit and that we had the resources and skills to be able to put together the guide to cover every UN recognised nation and some states in federal countries. We also knew we were embarking on something quite unique. We were pretty sure there wasn’t a one-stop-shop that looks at the status of same-sex relationships and how it impacts people, for example, if people move jurisdiction for work.”

San Francisco- based partner F. Curt Kirschner Jr was also involved in the project: “We went into this quite specifically, for example there are 32 different territories in Mexico and each has its own rules on marriage and recognition, so our guide covered federal sub-jurisdictions as well. The level of support the firm received was outstanding. In fact, this is the largest pro bono project in the firm’s history.”

F. Curt Kirschner Jnr
F. Curt Kirschner Jnr

Having recently launched the website, Jones Day are keen to ensure this user-friendly tool stays relevant and up-to-date. “The law is changing quite a lot so we need to make sure we stay on top of legislative changes,” Matt says. “We haven’t done this so we can wave a flag and tick our clients’ boxes – it’s something we feel is important and chimes with the overall ethos of the firm – one firm worldwide. I’m proud that we have produced something of genuine benefit not only to our colleagues and clients but also to those outside of the the legal profession.”

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