PROUT EMPLOYER Simmons & Simmons
It is important to me to provide an open perspective to other members of the LGBT*IQ community through visibility as well.
Sascha Kuhn studied in Passau, Pavia and Cologne and is a lawyer and certified mediator as well as a partner in the law firm Simmons & Simmons LLP. He designs and establishes compliance programs and acts as an ombudsman for international corporations. For many years, Handelsblatt/Best Lawyers has recommended him as one of Germany’s best lawyers in the field of white-collar crime. Sascha Kuhn also organizes diversity networking events and is regional head of the Völklinger Kreis.
What was the motivation behind becoming a PROUT EMPLOYER and what are your wishes for this partnership?
Sascha Kuhn:Simmons & Simmons has been a Stonewall Top Global Employer for several years. We have a lot going on at the international level, and we have already been able to implement quite a few things at the national level as well. However, we would like to see stronger networking with other market participants in Germany who are concerned about the topic of LGBT*IQ diversity – especially with those who also work internationally.
Are there LGBT*IQ related activities at Simmons & Simmons?
Sascha Kuhn:The German LGBT*IQ network is part of our international network. Especially in the last months, the network work was on the one hand more difficult than usual due to Corona – on the other hand, we are now much more integrated into the global network than before. We regularly see each other at events on specific topics or in casual exchanges over coffee or – so much Englishness has to be – tea via teams. In Germany, we are regularly represented at Sticks & Stones. Finally, the support of LGBT*IQ groups is the focus of our pro bono work.
Thank you for being our interview partner! Why is the support of LGBT*IQ an important issue to you?
Sascha Kuhn: For myself as a gay man it was incredibly important that my employer offered an open work environment from the very beginning, where I could simply be myself. Today, I am a partner in my law firm myself and now it is important to me to offer other members of the LGBT*IQ community an open perspective through visibility as well.
“The direct exchange and open questions sometimes lead to an “aha” effect. And: Differentiation is necessary. The members of the LGBT*IQ community are united by many things. But there are also crucial differences in experiences and needs. What is good for gay and lesbian colleagues can completely miss the needs of trans* people.”
Where do you identify the future challenges for Simmons & Simmons regarding LGBT*IQ diversity?
Sascha Kuhn: A specific challenge at Simmons & Simmons is undoubtedly the expansion of networking and the creation of a fully open working environment in some regions. Working openly as a gay lawyer in Düsseldorf is one thing – but the reality of life for LGBT*IQ people in some other countries, such as the United Arab Emirates, is another.
What is your piece of advice for companies, who did not yet discover LGBT*IQ diversity?
Sascha Kuhn: They should bring openness and curiosity with them. I often experience that heterosexual company representatives – without bad intentions – think that they know the reality of life of their LGBT*IQ colleagues. The direct exchange and open questions sometimes lead to an “aha” effect. And: Differentiation is necessary. The members of the LGBT*IQ community are united by many things. But there are also crucial differences in their experiences and needs. What is good for gay and lesbian colleagues can completely ignore the needs of trans* people.