By Caleb Simpson
In 2014, Brandt Roessler attended his first ever career fair – the Lavender Law® Conference and Career Fair in New York City, – and struck gold with Baker Botts L.L.P. After Lavender Law®, the firm followed up and after going through a series of interviews, they offered him a summer associateship for the next year. The following year he used the connection he gained from the career fair to obtain a summer associateship at the firm. Upon receiving his J.D. from Southern Methodist University, he joined Baker Botts as a full-time associate in the firm’s New York City office focusing on white collar defense litigation, corporate investigations, and international disputes.
As this was his first career fair, he prepared “extensively.” Before the career fair, Roessler researched the firms attending in hopes of alleviating his nerves that came with interviewing, which could be overwhelming at times. He created his own personal spreadsheet ranking each firm and public sector organization being represented, with certain factors such as diversity and practice area specialties that would influence how he would navigate the room and maximize his time at the fair. Beyond quantitative information that is easily accessible, he saw Lavender Law® as an opportunity to learn about the culture of the firm. Roessler calls himself a “Texan at heart” and although he wanted his first job to be in New York, he still wanted that familiar warmth of southern hospitality. “You can’t look that up on the internet, that is something you have to feel out in the interviews with the lawyers at the career fair,” says Roessler. His interview led him to feel that Baker Botts fit that criteria and would also be accepting of his LGBTQ+ identity. Upon joining the firm, Roessler was welcomed with open arms. Roessler was pleased to share with us that when he got married, he sent out his wedding photos to his office’s litigation group without restricting those who would see them. He was met with congratulatory messages, demonstrating how welcomed he felt as an openly LGBTQ+ person at Baker Botts. This personal story illustrates how Roessler was able to find a firm with the exact kind of warm and accepting culture he was looking for, thanks to the wonderful opportunities available at the Lavender Law® Conference and Career Fair.
Roessler hopes that in the future more law schools will invest in LGBTQ+ students’ ability to attend Lavender Law®, as it gives students a unique opportunity to network with those who have similar backgrounds as them. He also praises Lavender Law® for providing students with the opportunity to meet with firms that have taken the time to prioritize diversity in their workplace by sending firm representatives to the Conference. Roessler appreciates that his law school’s LGBTQ+ student group told him about all the amazing opportunities Lavender Law® provides, and that he was able to attend. He also recognizes how the Lavender Law® Conference can be a pivotal moment for not only aspiring students in their careers, but also for firms which gain employees of different perspectives and life experiences.
Currently, Roessler is part of Baker Botts’ LGBTQ+ affinity group, and advocates for more firm outreach through diversity career fairs such as Lavender Law®. Reflecting on his journey to becoming an associate at an AmLaw100 firm, Roessler states, “without Lavender Law, I would not be here.” The National LGBTQ+ Bar congratulates Roessler on finding his dream job, and looks forward to seeing him and his colleagues at the 2022 Lavender Law® Conference and Career Fair in Los Angeles!