This past October, Daniel Franklin, a New York-based lawyer focusing on labor and employment at O’Melveny & Myers LLP, rounded out his tenth year as counsel and leader of the New York/DC LGBTQ employee network at the firm. Daniel has cultivated a dynamic practice in the last decade, and his connection to the National LGBT Bar Association has evolved throughout that time to meet his changing career goals.
Daniel first became involved with the LGBT Bar when he attended the Lavender Law® Career Fair in 2006 as a 2L at Georgetown University Law Center. Before attending law school, he worked as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Burkina Faso and for a non-profit in New York. Despite previously assuming he would continue working in human rights, Daniel decided to expand his focus and consider a career at a big law firm after law school.
“When it came time to do on-campus interviewing, I thought it wouldn’t hurt to do a summer associate position in big law,” he says. “I was surprised at the good things I had heard about working at a firm.”
Daniel attended Lavender Law® to do a “rainbow tour” and follow up with firms with which he had already interviewed. “I wanted to meet attorneys and learn about the firms’ cultures,” he says.
“At the time I was interviewing I didn’t know one firm from another. I didn’t even have O’Melveny on my bid list,” he says. And yet, when he met the O’Melveny team at Lavender Law® and later at his callback, it just felt right. “There was a sense of camaraderie, teamwork, and people interacting. It just felt like an environment where I’d want to be,” he recalls. He accepted a position as a summer associate with the firm, which led to a full-time position upon graduation.
While his first trip to Lavender Law® was limited to the career fair, Daniel says that his appreciation for the Conference has grown. “I’ve been back a number of times, including this past year,” he states. “I regularly work the career fair when I can and go to panels, both those specific to my practice and those that look interesting. My law school friends have spoken on panels, so I go see them as well.”
Daniel says that Lavender Law® offers a different perspective to law students than it does to practitioners. “For law students, it helps them figure out what their options are and what they want to do,” he says. “There is a lot of exposure to firms, government jobs, and non-profit opportunities.” Daniel also encourages students to leverage it as a networking space. “For those who have interviewed with a firm or organization that’s at the career fair, it’s good to stop by and show continued interest.”
As a practitioner, Daniel continues to value Lavender Law® as an opportunity to see old friends, make new connections and help O’Melveny find great LGBT talent. In addition, he says it is a good way to keep up with developments in the field. “There are important educational opportunities,” he says. “You can also see some big picture items, like what steps firms are taking in diversity.”
Staying up to date with diversity initiatives is particularly important to Daniel because of his commitment to inclusion at his own firm. As the leader of O’Melveny’s New York/DC LGBTQ employee network, Daniel helps organize the group’s social events, strategic partnerships, and pro-bono work including a drop-in clinic for LGBTQ youth that is run by the LGBT Bar Association of Greater New York. “We’ve worked closely with the National LGBT Bar Association as well as the LGBT Bar Association of Greater New York,” he says. “Those are great resources and we are really happy and proud of our relationship with them.”
Daniel continues to work towards greater diversity and inclusion at O’Melveny and is proud of the firm’s progress. As he responds to the firm’s changing needs, he is sure to continue to draw on the LGBT Bar as a model for diversity and inclusion. “This is an important organization that advocates for LGBT attorneys,” he says. “That meant a lot to me [when I first attended Lavender Law®] and it still does today.”