I’ve worked at Osborne Clarke for five years and have always found it a really great place to work. It has the benefits that come with being a large firm, but still retains a strong sense of community and camaraderie that can make it feel like a close-knit small business. Even so, when I started to transition in 2017 I did consider whether it would be easier to start over fresh somewhere new rather than come out at work. I didn’t want to have to explain or justify my life and decisions. Despite the great experience I’d had working at Osborne Clarke, it was a unsettling time for me and I feared the worst.
Osborne Clarke is a very open and inclusive place to work, the firm has made a point in recent years of focusing on diversity – for me, this removed the fear that I might encounter discrimination. Even so, despite being confident I wouldn’t experience outright bigotry, I was aware that I might encounter inappropriate curiosity and issues arising from a general lack of understanding that many have about transgender people. I am always happy to help increase this understanding in others, but the thought of the energy that would take in my working day was daunting. I work in an area of the business that puts me in contact with our whole international firm and every department therein, so potentially keeping my head down and retreating into just my immediate department was not an option.
Luckily, all my fears were unfounded. I came out first to my department and a few others I work with closely throughout our international offices, all of whom were incredibly supportive. When I came out “officially” I was really well supported by HR and the Diversity and Wellbeing Manager, in changing my name and the practical side of things, changing bathroom signage to help me feel more comfortable, through to their continuing support in sorting out the logistics of leave for medical appointments.
The firm has been incredibly supportive of me and the practical side of transitioning. But also, every single person has continued to treat me as they had before. No one has been awkward or inappropriate and, as my life has gone through many other upheavals in the past year, Osborne Clarke has remained a much needed constant. I continue to feel respected, supported and part of the Osborne Clarke community, where it has been made easier than I could have ever imagined to be myself. Osborne Clarke has strived to meet my needs as a transgender employee and has never failed me, I will always appreciate that and hope that others have as positive an experience in their own workplaces.
I continue to feel respected, supported and part of the Osborne Clarke community, where it has been made easier than I could have ever imagined to be myself."