Jane Ross is one of my favorite lawyers in Phoenix. I admire her commitment to being herself and not conforming to the traditional lawyer mold. After law school, she lasted exactly one week at a large law firm. She quit on a Friday and by the following Monday, she had started her own firm. She’s been in business for nearly eight years, and she’s never had a lack of work.
Jane gave up a lot when she left big law firm life. She gave up the security of a steady job with benefits, bonuses, and people whose jobs it is to make coffee and photocopies, answer phones, and do research, for the freedom to select her own clientele and decide her own schedule. She can work in her pajamas at home if she wants with her dog laying at her feet. She never has to feel guilty or worry about her reputation if she takes the afternoon off to be with her daughter. On the flip side, she lives in an eat-what-you-kill world where she is solely responsible for her paycheck. In many ways it appears that she has the perfect professional life, once you get past the fear of being completely responsible for her own success. I couldn’t imagine striking it out on my own right out of law school, but I’ve heard that it’s made a lot of people happy and that help is only a phone call away if they need it.
Jane is a special breed of lawyers – the gay lawyer. This is different from a lawyer who happens to be gay. The lawyer who happens to be gay is someone who is a lawyer first and their sexual orientation is one of many aspects of their personality. These are also lawyers who might be able to pass as straight. Conversely, a gay lawyer is someone is undeniably gay and whose work is dedicated to the LGBT community. They often are often found in boutique law firms or are solo practitioners and advertise in the gay press. Their passion for LGBT rights and legal issues are intertwined with their identities. These environments give gay lawyers the freedom to be themselves and focus on LGBT legal issues. Gay lawyers and lawyers who are gay are both known for being fabulous and active in the LGBT community. I’ve met some wonderful LGBT lawyers through the Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity (SOGI) chapter of the local bar association.
Sponsor A Law Kid is my endeavor to pay for my last semester of law school. Today’s sponsor is Jane Ross. For more information about Sponsor A Law Kid or to see what days are still available for sponsorship, visit my Sponsor A Law Kid page.
- Pioneer fighter for gay rights (cnn.com)
- Gay rights lawyer threatened facing arrest in Cameroon (pinkbananaworld.com)