Herbert Smith Freehills to Be Principal Legal Partner of WorldPride 2023

Global law firm Herbert Smith Freehills has been named the principal legal partner of WorldPride 2023, the world’s largest pride celebration.

The firm will provide legal advice and support before the festival, which will be held in Sydney in conjunction with the 2023 Sydney Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras and will also include the first WorldPride Human Rights Conference in the Asia Pacific.

Herbert Smith Freehills CEO Justin D’Agostino, who is openly gay, said the firm is committed to supporting its LGBT+ community and clients.

“As a firm, championing diversity and inclusion is not just what we do, it’s who we are,” D’Agostino said in a statement. “We play a role in helping to address legal discrimination against LGBT+ people in a range of jurisdictions, including supporting the marriage equality debate and backing local LGBT+ organizations in countries across our global network.”

Fifteen years ago, the firm helped to establish the Pinnacle Foundation in Australia—a charity that provides educational scholarships, mentoring and opportunities for young LGBTIQ+ Australians—and has continued to provide it with pro bono support ever since.

“On a personal front, I have always been deeply committed to ensuring an inclusive culture is embedded across our firm and the profession. When I became a partner in 2007, I founded our first LGBT+ network (IRIS), one of the first such networks of any international law firm,” D’Agostino said.

“Now, here I am, some 15 years later, announcing that we are the principal legal partner of Sydney WorldPride. It’s just remarkable how far we have come,” he said.

Scottish-born D’Agostino, who was the firm’s Asia managing partner before becoming firm CEO, is based in Hong Kong. Herbert Smith’s chair and senior partner, Rebecca Maslen-Stannage, is based in Syndey.

Herbert Smith Freehills said it is offering the opportunity for two team members from anywhere across its global network to attend Sydney WorldPride, including the Human Rights Conference.

“Sydney WorldPride is a global celebration of LGBT+ brilliance right here in Australia and we are delighted to have the support of Herbert Smith Freehills to make it happen,” Sydney WorldPride CEO Kate Wickett said in a statement.

“Major events require huge legal expertise and can be challenging to manage for commercial festivals, let alone a not-for-profit like Sydney WorldPride. So we are extremely grateful for the continued advice and support that Herbert Smith Freehills provides as our principal legal partner.”

This will be the first time the flagship pride festival will be held in the Southern Hemisphere. Nearly 1 million people are expected to attend, and it will be the biggest international event in Sydney since borders reopened after the country’s extensive COVID-19 closures, HSF said.