Amin Kassam on the importance of celebrating Pride Month.
Amin is a technology lawyer with extensive experience advising, litigating, and negotiating agreements on complex issues involving digital media, fintech, intellectual property, data security, privacy, and employment. He is currently leading Bloomberg's Legal Department in the Asia-Pacific region and is the Chair of Bloomberg's Hong Kong Office Committee. Amin is also an active member of Bloomberg’s Diversity and Inclusion Council.
1. Can you tell us a little about your current role and journey into law? What excites you outside of work?
I grew up in Canada and went to law school in NYC 25 years ago. I joined Bloomberg in New York in 2012 working on IP and litigation matters, eventually becoming the chief of staff to our global general counsel. When the APAC Head of Legal role opened up, my GC offered me this great opportunity and I relocated to Hong Kong in the summer of 2019. I oversea an amazing team of lawyers across the region who support our business and employees in 17 jurisdictions where we have offices. Living in Asia for the first time and through much of COVID, I am very excited about finally getting the chance to jump on a plane and really experience the rich diversity of cultures across the region.
2. PRIDE month is a fantastic celebration and a month where advocacy is in the spotlight, but we often hear about green washing, pink washing and even rainbow washing in the corporate sector, what are your feelings on this and has it shifted?
I think there was a time many years ago when we were just happy to have these issues or our communities acknowledged by the corporate sector. That is no longer the case. Employees and customers are increasingly - and I believe rightfully - wanting to be associated with corporations that share their values and take action in a meaningful way. Its not enough, for example, to place a rainbow flag in your office while failing to provide equal benefits for employees who are in same-sex relationships. I believe companies increasingly will be held accountable if their actions don't match their words.
3. How has PRIDE and the relationship it has with the Legal Sector evolved in the last 5 years?
I think the legal sector, like a lot of sectors, has come to recognize that creating an inclusive environment where people feel safe and proud to be who they are is actually good for business and not just a moral imperative. The legal community, however, also has a particularly important and unique role to play in advocating for and actively supporting the legal recognition of LGBT rights given that in most jurisdictions it has been the courts that have been the primary vehicle for granting recognition of same-sex relationships.
4. What conversations do you want us to be having during PRIDE month?
I think its important to take stock on how your firm or corporation is doing both quantitively and qualitatively. Do LGBT colleagues feel respected and valued? Do they feel there are adequate support structures in place and feel safe being their authentic selves? Are the benefits offered supportive of same-sex relationships? And do you have the tools in place to help allies support their LGBT colleagues.
5. Where do you see NewLaw/ALSP fitting in the matrix of your legal department?
The world is changing so quickly now and every business should always consider how it best allocates resources - law isn't immune from that. As more and different types of information are generated across more jurisdictions and in different languages, I believe ALSPs will play an even bigger role in the future.
6. Your favourite tune? And why?
Don't Be So Hard On Yourself by Jess Glynne. Because its a really great reminder to be kind to ourselves. I think we are often our own worst critic so its important to be reminded that "everyone trips, everyone falls" and that we need to "learn to forgive, learn to let go." Its a bit corny but its resonated with me over the years and I send it to friends when I think they are beating themselves up over a mistake. And its sung by a terrific queer artist who I have seen in concert many times.
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