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A Conversation with Alex Weniger-Araujo: Advocating for Equity and Support in the Legal Community

In celebration of Pride Month, we’re proud to feature Capital Markets partner Alex Weniger-Araujo, who also serves as a Loeb Pride leader in our New York office. Read below as Alex discusses how Loeb Pride reinforces the firm’s commitment to diversity and inclusion, the group’s pro bono initiatives and ways to create a more equitable and supportive environment for LGBTQ+ legal professionals.

Tell us about your practice and the types of matters you typically work on.

 My practice focuses on representing public and private companies in corporate and securities matters, including corporate finance, venture finance, corporate governance and general corporate law. I work with both foreign and domestic clients, including emerging growth and high-technology issuers and investors. My experience encompasses regularly representing issuers, underwriters and investors in public offerings (including SPAC IPOs) and business combination transactions, equity crowdfunding (Regulation Crowdfunding) and private placements, including PIPE financing transactions. Additionally, I provide guidance on the public reporting requirements for issuers and shareholders and advise clients on compliance with the listing requirements and rules of various exchanges, including Nasdaq and NYSE.

What does being a part of Loeb Pride mean to you?

Being a part of Loeb Pride means I’m visibly part of a professional community that values diversity, inclusivity and the celebration of individuality. Loeb Pride helps further foster a space both within and beyond the firm where everyone feels accepted and supported, regardless of their background or identity. It’s a commitment to creating an environment where all individuals can thrive and contribute to the firm’s collective success.

How does your involvement as a leader in Loeb Pride influence your practice?

I ensure that clients and other professionals on the deal team feel welcome, regardless of their background, and valued and respected for their professional contributions. Additionally, I advocate for the rights and recognition of marginalized groups, both within and outside the firm, by pushing for our involvement with LGBTQ+-affiliated organizations, partnering with and supporting other affinity groups within the firm, and engaging in pro bono work, particularly on matters that affect the LGBTQ+ community.

The development of programming opportunities is another important aspect that helps promote understanding and empathy across the firm regarding issues facing the LGBTQ+ community. I work with the firm’s leadership and administration to develop and adopt policies that reflect its values of diversity and inclusion. Lastly, I’m visible and vocal about my support for LGBTQ+ rights, hoping to inspire others to do the same and contribute to a broader cultural shift toward acceptance.

Ultimately, my leadership in Loeb Pride enhances my ability to create a more inclusive and supportive professional environment, benefiting not only my colleagues and clients but the broader community as well.

Are there any initiatives tied to the broader community that you are particularly focused on?

Beyond my work with Loeb Pride, I engage in several pro bono matters each year to help LGBTQ+ individuals with various legal issues. I am also involved with organizations and initiatives such as God’s Love We Deliver, which aims to improve the health and well-being of people living with HIV/AIDS, cancer and other serious illnesses by alleviating hunger and malnutrition; I’m From Driftwood, which is the largest storytelling platform and repository of stories told by LGBTQIA+ people about their personal experiences; and StartOut, which enables LGBTQ+ founders to gain access to resources, expert support and engagement to accelerate their ideas and businesses, helping them grow, innovate, obtain financing, create jobs and give back to the communities that were instrumental in their success. 

I’m always in search of new opportunities to further enhance Loeb’s reach and community involvement, as well as the reach and involvement of the broader legal industry, to improve the lives of LGBTQ+ people.

Looking ahead, which of the group’s goals and priorities excite you most?

As we continue to build our Loeb Pride community, I’m excited about our ongoing pro bono work in partnership with organizations such as the Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund to help marginalized individuals with the legal issues they face. Additionally, I’m particularly excited about new opportunities for community engagement through partnering with other nonprofits, community organizations, law firms, professional services firms and corporations to further bolster our firm’s visibility as an advocate for LGBTQ+ issues. 

Beyond Pride Month, how can the legal industry support LGBTQ+ professionals?

Beyond Pride Month, the legal industry can actively support LGBTQ+ professionals by:

  • Implementing and enforcing policies that protect LGBTQ+ individuals in the workplace
  • Bolstering support for affinity groups year-round to foster a supportive community and provide a platform for advocacy
  • Offering regular training on LGBTQ+ issues to foster a more inclusive workplace
  • Engaging in pro bono work to support LGBTQ+ individuals facing legal challenges 
  • Forming partnerships with LGBTQ+ organizations to stay connected to the community and understand the current needs of individuals within the community
  • Promoting LGBTQ+ visibility in leadership positions and in firm marketing materials to help normalize diversity within the profession
  • Creating mentorship opportunities for LGBTQ+ lawyers to aid in their professional development

This is by no means an exhaustive list but rather a starting point for creating a more equitable and supportive environment for LGBTQ+ professionals in the legal industry. As we continue to have and support more open discussions about LGBTQ+ issues and rights in professional settings, we will foster greater understanding, acceptance and positive change within the industry.