Jason Gibson represents the best of the legal profession. His career and involvement with the LGBT Bar have given him a unique perspective on being out in the profession and in working with a truly diverse group of attorneys. Jason’s professional development has prepared him to represent the best and the brightest in the legal profession.
Jason was recently hired as Associate General Counsel at Equity One, Inc., one of the nation’s premier real estate investment organizations, focusing mainly on shopping centers in urban neighborhoods. The path he took to move in house exemplifies Jason’s drive and commitment to his profession. While building on his success and achievements, Jason also strengthened his commitment to diversity within the legal sphere.
Jason began his professional development at Harvard University, graduating with a cum laude degree in economics. He moved from Harvard to the University of Miami School of Law, excelling again as he received his J.D. cum laude.
During law school, Jason noted that LGBT diversity within the profession was almost non-existent, mostly because very few law students were truly out in school – especially when applying for summer law clerk positions. After his law school matriculation, he remembered “fellow law school classmates at other firms relaying how jealous they were that I was able to be out and proud [at his firm]…from my first day.”
Jason’s career began at Holland & Knight LLP, a global law firm with offices in 18 cities in the United States as well as Abu Dhabi, Beijing, Bogotá and Mexico City. He was a member of the firm’s Real Estate Section and his practice focused on retail, office and industrial leasing.
Jason’s involvement with the LGBT Bar began at Lavender Law when he attended as a recruiter for Holland & Knight and then volunteered for the rest of the Conference. Shortly after, he was appointed as the organization’s delegate to the American Bar Association’s Young Lawyers Division. He was elected President of the LGBT Bar Association’s Board of Directors in 2013.
Jason credits his experience with the LGBT Bar as helping him fully embrace his role as an out LGBT attorney. He said that, “before the LGBT Bar, I knew that there were other LGBT attorneys, but I was sort of operating in a silo.” Through his involvement, Jason has made contacts with attorneys across the country in varying practice areas and has taken full advantage of his position in the LGBT legal community.
Earlier this year, Jason left Holland & Knight to move in house with Equity One. As corporate counsel, Jason is uniquely positioned to understand his business both from the perspective of an outside attorney and from within. He felt no hesitation being out and proud in his interview process and notes the changing views about the profession as “many attorneys, firms and corporations appreciate the benefit of being LGBT – the different perspective that it adds, as well as new networks for prospective clients.”
The change has come for younger generations as well. Students are increasingly more willing to be out in job interviews and are even using their advocacy of LGBT equality to boost their resumes; a move that not only helps the LGBT community but also impresses recruiters.
Jason’s hope for his career and the profession is that “my mentoring of LGBT law students and showing my support for issues of importance to the LGBT legal community have helped facilitate a change towards more acceptance and inclusion.”
- 10 Jan, 2014
- Kelly Simon
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