“Using everyone’s correct pronouns is a sign of respect – and having pronouns in email signatures and profiles is an easy way to avoid calling people by the wrong pronoun. Sharing pronouns also signals allyship and helps standardize the process for everyone,” said Casey Ryan, Reed Smith’s Global Head of Legal Personnel and Senior Management Team sponsor of PRISM (Pride, Respect and Inclusion Simply Matter), the firm’s LGBT+ business inclusion group. “Our pronouns initiative mirrors actions that many of our clients are taking to support LGBT+ individuals in their workforces. As a firm, we must be ready to model the inclusive use of pronouns with one another and our clients.”
Moving forward, Reed Smith personnel who wish to declare their pronouns can self-identify via the firm’s employee self-service portal. They also can determine whether they want to share their pronouns, starting with reedsmith.com. The firm will use an individual’s legal name and legal gender marker as indicated in a government-issued identification document only if it is necessary to meet a legally mandated obligation, but will otherwise identify all individuals in accordance with the Declared Name and Declared Pronouns policy. In the weeks since the policy went into effect in September, more than 600 employees have self-identified and more than 400 have requested that their pronouns be displayed via internal and/or external channels.
According to a 2019 Pew Research survey, approximately 20% of Americans know someone who identifies with a gender-neutral pronoun, a number that rises to around 33% for those age 18 to 29.
Reed Smith received guidance from the Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund, which advised on the policy to ensure it met the firm’s intended purpose.