June 9, 2022 - MoFo Diversity

Celebrating Pride Month 2022

MoFo is proud of our LGBTQ+ lawyers and the contributions that they make to the firm and our communities every month of the year, but each June we take time out to celebrate LGBTQ+ history, culture, and politics with presentations and entertainment sponsored by the Diversity + Inclusion Group and the LGBTQ+ Affinity Network.

In honor of Pride Month, we asked some of our LGBTQ+ lawyers to share their thoughts on the month-long celebration, which LGBTQ+ individuals they admire most, and how their identities have shaped their careers.

Hunter MossHunter Moss is an associate who advises emerging companies and venture capital investors, companies involved in domestic and cross-border mergers and acquisitions, fund sponsors on the formation and maintenance of private investment funds, and institutional investors related to their investments in private investment funds.

Q: If you could meet any historically significant LGBTQ+ individual, who would you choose? Why?

A: I would have loved to meet Harvey Milk, who had a transformational impact on our community and our city. His bravery and dedication to LGBTQ+ rights continue to reverberate to this day.

 Daisuke GatanagaDaisuke Gatanaga is an associate whose practice focuses on technology transactions, patent litigation, and life sciences transactions and licensing.

Q: If you could meet any historically significant LGBTQ+ individual, who would you choose? Why?

A: I would want to meet Alan Turing. A brilliant mathematician, scientist, and wartime hero, he is a symbol of the difficult historical obstacles that the LGBTQ+ community has faced and a reminder of the continued progress that we must make for a truly inclusive society.

Amanda StudleyAmanda Studley is an associate whose practice focuses on representing banks and other financial institutions in both single- and multi-lender financing transactions involving private equity and venture capital funds and their portfolio companies.

Q: Is there an LGBTQ+ individual you admire that you know personally or professionally whose achievements within the LGBTQ+ community you would like to recognize?

A: This Pride Month, a member of the LGBTQ+ community I want to recognize, as corny as this sounds, is my partner, Chelsea.

Chelsea is a middle school teacher and helps run the Gay Straight Alliance at her school. Over the past year, she has stepped up and become a leader within her district — providing training and support to other teachers and empowering her own students to find their voices.

With the recent wave of attacks on the LGBTQ+ community and especially on our trans youth, it’s so important that students have a safe place to be themselves and for them to know there are adults who care about them and will stand with them.

I’m incredibly proud of Chelsea for creating that space in her classroom and fostering an inclusive environment within her school. During this Pride Month, I want to celebrate teachers like Chelsea who are making schools a safe, supportive and accepting environment for all students.

Victoria McGrathVictoria McGrath is an associate who advises both private and public companies on various corporate matters. She represents clients in initial public offerings, equity follow-on offerings, and PIPE transactions. Victoria also represents underwriters, initial purchasers, and issuers in connection with high-yield and investment grade debt securities. In addition to advising on domestic matters, she also has experience working on cross-border corporate matters.

Q: What does Pride Month mean to you?

A: Pride Month is a celebration of authenticity. Members of the LGBTQ+ community, including myself, were and are not always allowed or able to feel proud of their identity. Pride Month reminds us of the vibrancy and resiliency of the LGBTQ+ community; it encourages us to live proudly, happily, authentically, and truthfully in a world that can, at times, be unaccepting, and reminds us of the importance of carrying these ideals forward to future generations so that they too can embrace and celebrate who they are.

Katherine ErbeznikKatherine Erbeznik is an associate who represents clients with U.S. federal income tax considerations in connection with domestic and cross-border transactions, including mergers and acquisitions, debt and equity offerings, and reorganizations, as well as private investment fund formation and structuring. She also advises clients on foreign and domestic capital markets transactions, REIT structuring, tax controversy matters, and a broad range of general corporate tax planning matters.

Q: How, if at all, has being LGBTQ+ individual made you a better/different kind of lawyer?

A: Ironically, being a non-straight/queer individual helps me to disregard the ways in which my colleagues and clients are “other” and focus more on the ways in which we are all the same – all common members of the human race trying to realize our visions in this often-unforgiving world. On the flip side, embracing my “otherness” has helped me to not be constrained in my thinking by norms, standard practice, and other people’s expectations, providing the freedom to be creative in finding solutions to complex problems.

To learn more about MoFo’s commitment to diversity, please visit our Diversity page.