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How to Find an LGBTQ+ Affirming Attorney

Couple Searching for LGBTQ Lawyer

By: Cassidy Stoneback, LGBTQ+ Outreach Coordinator

When looking for legal help as an LGBTQ+ person, it is important to take some extra time during the process to determine if your attorney and firm are LGBTQ+ affirming. You might think this is another step to an already overwhelming process, but this guide will make it easy, and you will be protected in the long run.

Where to Start Searching for an LGBTQ+ Affirming Attorney

One of the most difficult parts of finding an attorney is figuring out where to start. There are countless attorneys in the DC Metro and simply relying on a search engine will yield thousands of results. 

Looking for an LGBTQ+ or an LGBTQ+ affirming attorney can help provide a place to start your search. Adding “LGBTQ” to your search parameters will at least sort your options, giving you some top candidates to research.

If you are nervous about trusting a search engine’s results, a great option is checking if there is a local (or national) LGBTQ+ organization that has a list of members or recommended businesses. Look into LGBTQ+ legal organizations, LGBTQ+ business groups, or LGBTQ+ non-profits that may have a list of legal resources. 

The National LGBTQ+ Bar Association is a very helpful resource. Although it is a national organization, you can find and contact your local LGBTQ+ Bar affiliate to get some LGBTQ+-affirming referrals. They also provide a directory specifically of family law attorneys who can assist LGBTQ+ clients. For attorneys local to the DC Metro region, consider checking the DC Equality Chamber of Commerce’s directory and looking at member firms.

If you don’t find these prepared lists personal enough, you can always turn to your trusted networks for individual referrals. If you’re part of a local LGBTQ+ group, like Rainbow Families or SMYAL, ask your fellow members or the staff if they have any recommendations for LGBTQ+-affirming attorneys. You can also check online networks, like Facebook groups, to see if anyone has attorney recommendations.

What to Consider When Choosing an LGBTQ+ Affirming Attorney

Once you have found an attorney using one of the options above, you want to take some extra time to confirm that they are a safe person for LGBTQ+ clients and that you will feel comfortable working with them. Especially if you found the attorney through an online search. Making sure they are really prepared to work with LGBTQ+ clients is worth the time investment.

Start by looking over their website. Check if they mention specific LGBTQ+ legal issues when describing their work, some firms may even have a section devoted solely to LGBTQ+ issues. If they have awards or partnerships listed on the site, see if they have been recognized by any LGBTQ+ groups or have sponsored/partnered with any LGBTQ+ organizations. 

You should also examine their social media, as many firms post about events their attorneys attend or the work they do for the LGBTQ+ community. A firm that values the LGBTQ+ community will highlight its support, and it should not be difficult for you to find evidence that a firm is LGBTQ+ affirming.

What Questions to Ask During a Legal Consultation

After reviewing the firm’s or attorney’s website and online presence, it’s time to schedule a consultation. While setting up a consultation and speaking with the attorney, pay attention to how you and your family are treated by the staff. Do the firm representatives include pronouns in their emails or introductions? Do the forms you’re asked to complete assume that couples include a husband and a wife? Do the team members use your chosen name over a legal name?

The goal of an initial consult is to help you and the attorney get more familiar with each other and your legal issues. The attorney will ask questions to figure out how they can best assist you, but this is also the chance for you to ask the attorney questions. Do not be afraid to ask questions about the firm and the attorney’s familiarity with LGBTQ+ issues. Remember, if an attorney cannot answer simple questions about LGBTQ+ legal concerns, how can you ensure they can protect you and your family’s best interests?

In addition to any questions you would like answered, here are some to consider:

  • Have you worked with LGBTQ+ clients before?
  • Have your past LGBTQ+ clients with similar legal issues as mine faced any discrimination from the legal system?
  • Are there any considerations I should keep in mind as an LGBTQ+ person during this process?
  • Are LGBTQ+ individuals impacted differently by these laws?

While you may not be an expert on the law, you are an expert in what is best for you and your family. So do not be afraid to take the extra time and initiative to ensure you are finding an LGBTQ+-affirming attorney who will provide you with the best legal representation. 

If you have any questions about The Geller Law Group’s experience working with LGBTQ+ clients, contact Cassidy Stoneback, our LGBTQ+ Outreach Coordinator.

Cassidy Stoneback

Cassidy StonebackLGBTQ+ Outreach Coordinator
OFFICE: 703-687-6188 ext. 149
DIRECT: 571-489-6763
cstoneback@thegellerlawgroup.com

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