Today's blog article has been provided by Emma Longland, Senior Patent Attorney at HGF Limited. HGF Limited is one of our Charter signatories.
Emma writes: "On 21st November the Women in IP network, which is a support group of the IP Inclusive initiative, held their second annual panel discussion. The event was also a celebration of one year since the launch of the Women in IP network.
The subject of this year’s panel discussion was “Climbing up the Career Ladder”, and it was graciously hosted by CMS in their shiny new building on Cannon Street. The speakers on the panel had a range of experiences from which to approach the discussion, with Catriona Hammer, IP Consultant, acting as chair and joined by three Partners (Sarah Wright of CMS, Matthew Critten of Abel and Imray, and Julia Gwilt of Appleyard Lees), one IP General Counsel (Karen Cochran of Shell), and one IP Specialist Recruiter (Pete Fellows of Fellows and Associates).
Over 200 people applied to attend the event, and the high attendance reflected this by way of a largely female audience with a scattering of men.
Today's blog article has been provided by May Worvill, Graduate Resourcing Manager at Bristows LLP. Bristows LLP is one of our Charter signatories.
May writes: "At Bristows, we believe inclusion initiatives should, by definition, encompass everyone who works at the firm rather than just target groups with specific protected characteristics. This attitude has pervaded the firm’s discussions on the implementation of a new agile working policy and has had a profound impact for me personally.
I’m the Graduate Resourcing Manager at the firm, but I’m also a military wife and in November last year I found out that my husband was being posted to Germany for two years from the start of 2017. I made the decision to move with him and thought that this would mean resigning from my role at Bristows; not something I was keen to do. With regret, I approached my manager (the Head of HR) and also the partner I report in to, to let them know my situation. I openly asked if there was any way that I could continue working at the firm, fully expecting a response of “we’re sorry, but no”. But, this is not what I heard back from either of them. Instead to my delight, “Well why can’t you just work remotely?” was the response.
Today's blog article has been provided by Tobias Hawksley Beesley, an associate at Bird & Bird LLP. Bird & Bird LLP is one of our Charter signatories, and Tobias is a committee member for our IP Out support group.
Tobias writes: "It goes without saying that everyone thinks about having children at some point in their lives – whether its thinking about if you want to have them in the first place, how you go about it, who to have children with, or if you want to go it alone. Although these questions are no different for people in the LGBT+ community, once you decide you'd like to become a parent at some point in your life, one question stands out in particular (for obvious reasons!)… 'how?'.
Should it be via adoption or surrogacy? Who will be the biological mother/father in a same-sex couple? Do you need an egg or sperm donor? Do you need a clinic? Do you look at options in the UK or abroad? How much will it all cost? How long will it take? What are the legal implications? Who is going to help you on the journey? How do you get the process started?
Indeed, it all seems a bit daunting, emotionally and legally complex. Although there are no official statistics on the number of British people that have had children via surrogacy (partly due to the ad hoc nature of many informal arrangements), in respect of adoption, reports state that 10% in the UK in 2016 were by same sex couples. What is known however is that record numbers of people in the UK are turning to alternative family building options. Surrogacy, in particular, is becoming an increasingly viable option for people in the LGBT+ community, despite the law surrounding it in the UK being dubbed by many as outdated, confusing and overly complex.
On Thursday 9th November 2017, IP Out are hosting an event entitled 'The Family Way': Helen Prosser from Brilliant Beginnings and Jade Quirke from NGALaw – experts in family and fertility law – will be talking about options available to LGBT+ people for having children. Whether you are considering this path yourself or simply want to ensure that you are able to support colleagues and contacts who might go through this process in the future, please do come along to learn something new, catch up with friends, and to meet the ever expanding IP Out network.
This will be followed, as always, by drinks and networking. Reserve your place here."