From Passion to Purpose: The Story Behind Burch Law’s Focus on the LGBTQ+ Community

By Lorie L. Burch, Owner and Founding Attorney of Burch Law

I never went to law school to be an estate planning and probate attorney. In fact, my dream and passion was to be a civil rights attorney. I wanted to advocate and fight for those who are marginalized and who feel discarded for no other reason than for who they are, what they believe, or who they love. I dreamed of being a voice for those who feel unseen and like they don’t matter. At the time, I didn’t identify as part of the LGBTQ+ community. I simply felt a strong sense of justice and equality for all. Well, my first year of law school turned that on its head. I won’t get into the full story here (but I assure you it’s quite interesting!), but it was a warm day in October while attending The George Washington University School of Law in Washington, DC (where else should a budding civil rights attorney go after all?) that I realized that I was, in fact, gay. I was now part of a community that certainly knows prejudice and discrimination. That was very eye-opening as it was now not others I wanted to protect, it was also myself. I’d love to tell you that the story ends with me getting the job of my dreams at a civil rights law firm just as I hoped. But, no. While I did have amazing opportunities DURING law school as a two-time law fellow with the Human Rights Campaign and interning at People for the American Way, once I graduated, none, absolutely zero, of the places I applied offered me a job.

I felt lost and I questioned what I was really meant to do. I also felt very isolated from my family in Dallas, Texas. It’s not in my nature to slow down or to be derailed, so I decided that perhaps I should move back home, start my own practice focused on Wills, trusts, powers of attorney (since I did find that interesting stuff and pretty important) and that I would focus my practice on the LGBTQ+ community. By providing families the ability to make life’s most intimate decisions for one another, to ensure they could make medical decisions, visit each other in the hospital, inherit homes and money they acquired together, and to be able to take care of kids they brought into this world together, basically securing rights that the law didn’t provide, I believed that could help fuel that civil rights passion that burned so strongly inside. I wasn’t sure when I’d make my move until one day I got a call from my mom that my beloved stepdad had died suddenly and unexpectedly, so within a few weeks, I was packed up and moved back to Texas to start my own practice under a cloud of tremendous grief.

As fate would have it, this was exactly the path I was meant to take. After putting myself out there and networking morning, noon, and night, I was able to start and build an estate planning, probate, and business law firm with a special emphasis on the LGBTQ+ community. I’m proud of the tremendous leadership opportunities I’ve had and the accolades we’ve received.

Perhaps what I am most proud of is the number of people who we’ve helped; who we’ve made feel valued, seen, and to know that they matter. Since our firm doesn’t discriminate, we help families and individuals from all walks of life. But at our core, it’s the support of the LGBTQ+ community that is our purpose and passion. Since starting this practice in 2005, I’ve seen many achievements and setbacks for our community. Frankly, I don’t know that I’ve ever felt a more perilous time politically and socially, especially in Texas, for all marginalized communities, than I do RIGHT NOW. With all the progress we’ve made, there are so many people who are under attack. What can Burch Law do to play a part?

So looking at our foundation, why we exist and what we do, going into 2023 and the future, Burch Law is doubling down on our efforts in educating and protecting those who feel discarded, targeted, and dehumanized, especially the LGBTQ+ community. I get asked a lot from a marketing standpoint that you need to focus on “what makes you unique” from other firms. And, gosh, I feel like I could create a laundry list of how much care, thoroughness, value, and compassion we provide all of our clients that I know most firms do not. But it is just so much more than that. You don’t see many (if any!) firms lean into progressive, affirming values. And, hey, that may not be for everyone. But for those who want to get this vital planning in place with a business that shares your values and supports marginalized communities, then you can find a home at Burch Law and we would be honored to serve you, protect you, and help you know that YOU matter.

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