The American Lawyer recently published an article featuring the story of a Buchanan attorney’s transition into finding her true identity. After 43 years of doing legal work, Paul Madden decided it was time for a change, and in February 2014 began hormone treatments to start his transition from a man to a woman. In July, Counsel Paul Madden left the firm’s Philadelphia office knowing that when he returned he would feel a lot more like himself.

“When I was Paul, there was a part of me missing. I always wanted to be Maryellen,” Buchanan’s Maryellen Madden told the publication. “There was this day a couple of years ago when I was dressing at home, and I looked in the mirror, and I saw Maryellen for the first time. I said, ‘There you are.’”

In early July, Maryellen was received in Buchanan’s Philadelphia office with open arms. “The support has been amazing,” she says.

To help educate the firm on Madden’s transition, they hired a trainer to speak with staff and attorneys on “how to adjust to working with a transgender employee and to help clarify what being transgender means,” the article reports.

Having used her legal background to advocate, support and help the transgender community even before her transition, Madden now sits the board of directors for the Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund – a nonprofit that seeks to achieve equality for transgender people through public education, test-case litigation, direct legal services, community organizing and public policy efforts.

“Your identity is tied to your gender and your name, and you have to change all those,” she said. “There’s no guidebook for that, and everyone is a little bit different [in trying] to figure that one out. It’s very useful to be a lawyer in that regard.” 

Read the full article – “At Buchanan Ingersoll, A Lawyer Finds Her Identity” (The American Lawyer, July 31, 2015). Subscription required.