Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Affinity Group

The LGBT Affinity Group raises awareness and visibility within Bass, Berry & Sims of the firm’s commitment to be inclusive of all forms of diversity, including sexual orientation and gender identity. Membership offers general support, mentoring and networking opportunities, and provides a voice regarding the firm’s policies and practices as they relate to LGBT attorneys.

Membership in the LGBT Affinity Group extends to allies and is open to all Bass, Berry & Sims attorneys and employees.

Lauren Gaffney

Recognition

For the third year in a row, Bass, Berry & Sims received a perfect score of 100% on the Corporate Equality Index (CEI) administered by the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Foundation. Bass, Berry & Sims was one of only seven Tennessee-based companies to receive a perfect score for 2020, and is proud to join the more than 680 major U.S. companies that are now labeled as the “Best Places to work for LGBTQ Equality.” Read more about the 2020 recognition here.

Taylor WirthEach year, the LGBT Bar recognizes LGBTQ+ legal professionals under the age of 40 who have distinguished themselves in their field and have demonstrated a commitment to the LGBTQ+ community.  We are proud to have our own Taylor Wirth included as one of the Best LGBTQ+ Lawyers Under 40.  Taylor’s passion for the LGBTQ community shines when he works with firm leadership to make sure our workplace is inclusive.  A direct result of this is scoring a perfect 100 for three years in a row on the Human Right’s Campaign (HRC) Corporate Equality Index.  Whether it is his work with the Mosaic Institute, the Nashville LGBT Chamber, OutLaw organizations or the youth supported by the Oasis Center, Taylor’s impact is resonating in our local Nashville community.  Taylor’s intellectual curiosity, his passion for his community and his proven ability to earn the respect of his peers are all qualities that set Taylor apart as one of the Best LGBTQ+ Lawyers Under 40.

Programs and Activities

The LGBT Affinity Group and its allies actively participate in a number of events, programs, activities, sponsorships and organizations that connect with and benefit the larger LGBT community.

  • In February 2020, members from the LGBT ally group supported the Predators at the team’s Pride Night at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville.

    Preds Pride Night 2020
    Representatives from the Bass, Berry & Sims LGBT Affinity Group enjoy the Predators Pride Night February 18.
  • In February 2020, the LGBT Affinity Group hosted members of the Vanderbilt OUTLaw student organization at a dinner. During this annual event, the students and attorneys come together to talk about a career in the legal profession.

    Members of the LGBT Affinity Group and Vanderbilt OUTLaw student organization (February 2020).
  • In February 2020, members of the LGBT Affinity Group packed 450 snack packs that the Oasis Center will provide to young people after they leave the Center. The LGBT Affinity Group donated all of the items that were included in the snack packs. The mission of the Oasis Center is to help young people in Middle Tennessee move into a happy, healthy and productive adulthood.

    Members of the LGBT Affinity Group preparing snack packs for Oasis Center.
  • In January 2020, the firm hosted Nashville LGBT Chamber of Commerce CEO Joe Woolley for a lunch presentation during which Joe discussed the Chamber’s plans for 2020 and how they help advance business interests, economic development and equality for its LGBT members, business and allies. The firm is a member and supporter of the Chamber.

    Bass, Berry & Sims attorney Taylor Wirth introduces LGBT Chamber of Commerce CEO Joe Woolley.
  • In November 2019, members of our LGBT group and members of the Vanderbilt OUTLaw student organization visited Oasis Center for a tour to learn about the amazing work being done involving youth in Middle Tennessee.

    Attorneys from our LGBT group and members of the Vanderbilt OUTLaw student organization at Oasis Center.
  • In March 2019, the LGBT group participated in the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Nashville Equality Dinner. Bass, Berry & Sims employee Emily Harrington donated one of her pieces of art for the silent auction.

    Emily Harrington with her silent auction donation – a handmade disco ball punch bowl – at the HRC Nashville Equality Dinner 2019.
  • In February 2019, the LGBT ally group attended the Predators Pride Night at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville.

    The LGBTQ ally group celebrates the team’s win at Predators Pride Night.
  • In June 2018, as part of the firm’s celebration of Pride Month, the LGBT group hosted Josh Burford, an award-winning historian, archivist and educator with over 20 years of experience creating stronger communities for LGBTQ people across the United States.
Josh Buford (3rd from right) with members of the LGBT Affinity Group, Dean Balaes (2018 summer associate), David Smith, Taylor Wirth, Lauren Gaffney, firm alum Mitchell James, and Todd Tukey.
Josh Burford (3rd from right) with members of the LGBT Affinity Group, 2018 summer associate, David Smith, Taylor Wirth, Lauren Gaffney, firm alum Mitchell James, and Todd Tukey.
  • In May 2018, the group sponsored the 2018 LGBT Chamber Excellence in Business Awards.
Bass, Berry & Sim’s Taylor Wirth, David Smith, Michele Bendekovic and Todd Tukey at the 2018 Nashville LGBT Chamber Excellence in Business Awards.
Bass, Berry & Sim’s Taylor Wirth, David Smith, Michele Bendekovic and Todd Tukey at the 2018 Nashville LGBT Chamber Excellence in Business Awards.
  • In March 2018, Bass, Berry & Sims sponsored the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Nashville Equality Dinner to celebrate the successes of the LGBT Community.
  • In January 2018, the group sponsored the Second Annual LGBTQ Youth Summit hosted by GLSEN and Students of Stonewall.
  • In 2018, the group attended the 2018 Nashville Predators Annual Pride Night Hosted by the Nashville LGBT Chamber of Commerce.
  • Group members annually attend the National LGBT Bar Association’s Lavender Law Conference and Career Fair.
  • The group regularly sponsors or participates in activities of the Stonewall Bar Association of Tennessee, the Human Rights Campaign, the Tennessee Equality Project, the Nashville LGBT Chamber of Commerce, the Oasis Center’s Just Us program, and Nashville in Harmony.
  • The group has hosted students from Vanderbilt University Law School’s OutLaw group for a networking and mentorship dinner.

Leadership

David Smith headshot

David Smith leads our LGBT Affinity Group.