A number of U.S. states do not include protections against sexual orientation discrimination in their rules of professional conduct governing attorneys. That’s according to research conducted by Kevin Raasch, a June 2015 John Marshall graduate, whose work earned him a selective writing competition hosted by the International Association of LGBT Judges.
Each year the National LGBT Bar Association accepts submissions for three law student awards, one of which is The International Association of LGBT Judges Writing Competition. In order to qualify for the competition, each entrant must submit a paper no longer than 25 pages on one of two topics: diversity of the bench or judicial/legal ethics around LGBT issues. After learning of the competition in his Sexual Orientation Law class at John Marshall, Raasch decided to write his paper on the latter.
Raasch’s submission analyzed every U.S. state’s Rules of Professional Conduct and whether its language offered protections for the LGBT community or provided avenues for discrimination. “Through my research, I discovered an alarming number of states have failed to include protections against sexual orientation discrimination,” Raasch said. “My submission asks, ‘How can the legal profession maintain integrity without offering protections to provide total equality?’”
As the winner of the competition, Raasch received a monetary award and attended the 2015 Lavender Law Conference & Career Fair in Chicago.
“I feel extremely honored to win this competition and to represent John Marshall in a positive light,” Raasch said. “I hope that this paper will be able to shed light on equality discrepancies within the legal profession and lead a call for further protections for the LGBT community.”
Recently, John Marshall was named an “LGBT-Friendly Law School” by the American Bar Association. The list of just eight law schools includes those school considered to go above and beyond its counterparts to provide an inclusive environment for LGBT students. Only law schools with established associations and forums designed to enhance educational opportunities for LGBT students were included.