By Emily Coneybeare
Zach Brecheisen walked into Lavender Law® in 2011 feeling he was at a disadvantage as a 3L. But after facing a hurricane and flooding that canceled his flight to the conference, he knew he would take on anything to reach his goals. Today, he is a corporate partner at Jones Day, a member of the board of directors of the Penn State Law Alumni Society and the Penn State Law Development Council, co-chair of Jones Day’s LGBTQ+ Affinity Group, and an active member of the National LGBTQ+ Bar Association. His dedication to diversity and inclusion and his tenacity in the face of setbacks have propelled him forward in his career, and he credits one thing for his success: the Lavender Law® Conference and Career Fair.
After a rewarding 2L summer with a government employer that unfortunately wasn’t hiring new law graduates, Zach found himself reentering the job hunt and “essentially starting from scratch” as a 3L. “I knew Lavender Law was something I needed to go to,” especially after “kicking myself for missing the opportunity in my 2L year.” After putting in the work to get himself and a group of other queer law students the funding to attend, Zach became increasingly excited about the conference. “In retrospect, it was a career-defining moment.”
Though he knew that most law firms at the Career Fair are primarily looking to recruit 2Ls for their summer programs, Zach also knew “if there’s anywhere I’m going to be able to make connections and find the right fit it will be at Lavender Law®.” For Zach, the highlight of the conference was the Career Fair. “Fast-forward 11 years and that day (that moment) was truly a focal point in my career that set me on my current path. I could not have done it without the access and the opportunities that the Lavender Law® Conference provided.” After (literally) weathering a hurricane to make it to the conference in West Hollywood, Zach jumped at the chance to meet with one of his top firms. “Near the end of the day I approached the Jones Day booth and had a really good connection with a couple of the lawyers. I was invited for a callback and it was serendipitous, the need and interest was there.” Zach has now been with Jones Day for ten years as a newly-minted partner in the firm’s global mergers and acquisitions group. He finds the firm to be very welcoming and supportive of any LGBTQ+ initiatives, including the LGBTQ+ Affinity Group, which he co-chairs.
Now, Zach is giving back to help give law students the same opportunities. After a number of years in the making, he recently launched the Lavender Law® and Career Support Fund at his alma mater, the Pennsylvania State University, to help fund students’ trips to Lavender Law®. According to Zach, “the goal of this new program fund at Penn State Law is to ensure our current and future students continue to have these life-changing opportunities…It is so important to give students access to this event. The LGBTQ+ Bar provides a critical platform for queer students and lawyers to make those important connections and advancements for their careers.” He credits Penn State Law for being supportive in making the fund happen, especially because of how critical Lavender Law® is for career development. “The Career Fair gave unrivaled access to major employers in the legal market for pretty much any students who want to attend. Regardless of how students identify, they should incorporate Lavender Law® into their job search and planning process… It is such an amazing opportunity to have access to some of the biggest employers in the legal world, all in one place, looking for talent.”
Zach says Lavender Law® is a can’t miss event, not just from a job search standpoint, but from a community perspective. “The networking opportunities, amazing programming, and connections with like-minded attorneys from across the country” are what make Lavender Law® so special for all diverse legal professionals. The National LGBTQ+ Bar congratulates Zach Brecheisen on finding his perfect match, thanks him for all of his work giving back to the LGBTQ+ community, and looks forward to seeing him at the 2022 Lavender Law® Conference!