In celebration of Pride month, Pallas Partners invited His Honour Judge Tony Baumgartner to speak in conversation with our partner, Neil Pigott, to discuss his life and career as an openly gay lawyer.
The pair explored HHJ Baumgartner’s early years growing up and studying in Queensland, Australia, his career as a solicitor working in the political risk insurance teams at Mayer Brown and Clyde & Co in London (and, later, as a partner at Clydes developing the fine art and specie lines), and his decision to become a Recorder of the Crown Court before taking up his current positions as a Circuit Judge at Southwark Crown Court and Deputy High Court Judge in the Chancery Division.
HHJ Baumgartner gave an open account of his experience of being openly gay in the legal profession through the years. He praised the profession – especially in the UK – for being inclusive and accommodating. Despite the profession being a traditional and conservative one, his experience was one of increasing acceptance towards LGBT+ people at a rate markedly quicker than many other quarters of society. He called for lawyers to recognise their privileged position and to ensure that they work hard to broaden LGBT+ inclusion into their wider communities and “give back” in other ways.
Noting HHJ Baumgartner’s various other eminent positions, including as Deputy Chair of the UK Government’s Spoliation Advisory Committee, Visiting Lecturer in the LLM in Art, Business and Law at Queen Mary University of London, and a Trustee of the Royal Academy of Arts, Neil asked how he was able to find the time to fill so many roles. HHJ Baumgartner’s view was that busy people make time and he strongly encouraged lawyers at all levels to develop interests outside of their day-to-day work. Not only does it bring great personal fulfilment, he said, but it also ensures that one never becomes complacent and idle in their professional life.
Pallas is extremely grateful to HHJ Baumgartner for joining us and wishes everyone a happy Pride.