Experts including corporate counsel, members of the judiciary, academics, law firm partners and individuals representing the non-profit sector will be featured at the 2017 Lavender Law Conference. The diversity of speakers will be reflected in the topics discussed during the workshops and general attendance sessions.
Charles A. Berardesco – Charles is senior vice president, general counsel and corporate secretary of the North American Electric Reliability Corporation, or NERC, which is a not-for-profit international regulatory authority whose mission is to assure the reliability of the bulk power system in North America. He has primary responsibility for legal and regulatory affairs and compliance enforcement. Prior to joining NERC, Mr. Berardesco was senior vice president, general counsel, corporate secretary and chief compliance officer of Constellation Energy, a Fortune 200 energy company.
Before joining Constellation Energy, Mr. Berardesco served as vice president, general counsel & corporate secretary of Fusura, a consortium of AIG, Prudential and Kemper, and senior vice president, general counsel & corporate secretary of HCIA, a publicly held health care information company. He was counsel with Piper Rudnick (now DLA Piper), where he focused on corporate finance and mergers and acquisitions, and a partner at Whiteford, Taylor & Preston, where he chaired the firm’s corporate department and served as a member of its executive committee.
Mr. Berardesco received his JD, with high honors, in 1983 from The George Washington University. He is active in a number of charitable and membership organizations, including serving as the chair of the board of the Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington, chair of the board of advisors of the Duke University Chapel, a member of the board of directors of Chorus America, a member of the board of advisors of The George Washington University Law School, and a member of the board of governors of the University Club of Washington, DC. He has been awarded the Out and Proud Corporate Counsel award by the National LGBT Bar Association and was named a Leader in the Law by the Maryland Daily Record.
Wesley Bizzell – Wes serves as Assistant General Counsel, External Affairs and Director of Political Law and Ethics Programs for Altria Client Services LLC (“ALCS”) Mr Bizzell provides in-house legal counsel on matters relating to the political, legislative, and lobbying activities of Altria Group, Inc, its services companies, including ALCS, and its operating companies, including Philip Morris USA Inc, US Smokeless Tobacco Co. LLC, John Middleton Co., and Ste. Michelle Wine Estates Ltd.
Brian Castro – Brian Castro is Co-Founder and CEO of FundPaaS, Inc., a technology provider for crowdfunding portals, financial services providers, and businesses raising capital online. Previously Brian served as the Obama Administration’s National Ombudsman and Assistant Administrator for Regulatory Enforcement Fairness at the SBA. In that role he worked with 30+ federal agencies, startups, and other small and middle market businesses to eliminate unnecessary red tape and promote access to capital. His experience includes nearly two decades as a lawyer counseling clients on legal and compliance issues in highly regulated sectors, and working in the U.S. Senate on a range of economic issues.
Brian has served on national boards and commissions including the ABA Presidential Commission on Hispanic Legal Rights and Responsibilities, the National LGBT Bar Association, Freedom to Work, and the Standing Committee for Pro Bono Legal Services of the D.C. Circuit Judicial Conference. A Maryland native, Brian earned a B.S. from Cornell University and a J.D. from the Duke University School of Law.
Ashianna Esmail – Ashianna is Director, Product Legal, at PayPal, Inc. At PayPal, Ashianna is co-chair of PayPal’s Pro Bono Committee and active in PayPal’s Pride Project. Prior to joining PayPal, Ashianna was an associate at Latham & Watkins, LLP in San Francisco, California where her practice focused on corporate transactions including securities offerings, mergers and acquisitions, and private equity transactions. She also represented public and private companies in connection with securities laws compliance and general corporate matters. Prior to joining Latham, Ms. Esmail served as a law clerk to Chief Judge Emily C. Hewitt of the United States Court of Federal Claims. She also practiced in the General Counsel’s office of Telecom Development Company of Afghanistan, Ltd. (Roshan) in Kabul, Afghanistan. Ashianna received her JD from the University of Michigan Law School and her BA at the University of California at Berkeley. Volunteering time on pro bono matters, including immigration and asylum matters, continues to be an important part of Ashianna’s practice. Ashianna is committed to furthering PayPal’s mission of financial inclusion and democratizing financial services for people all over the world.
Romulo Diaz – Diaz serves as the chief legal officer of the company and oversees its team of attorneys responsible for all aspects of PECO’s legal affairs in Pennsylvania, as well as PECO’s claims and security departments. Prior to his current position, Diaz was responsible for the company’s governmental and external affairs, including overseeing the company’s award-winning suite of energy efficiency programs to help customers save energy and money.
Diaz earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Texas at Austin and a Juris Doctor degree from the University of Texas School of Law. He is licensed to practice law in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, District of Columbia and Texas.
Christian Dowell, WhatsApp – Bio coming soon.
Kyle Faget – Kyle is Senior Corporate Counsel at Jounce Therapeutics and a graduate of Smith College and University of Michigan Law School. She began her practice as a member of the government enforcement, white collar criminal defense practice group at Ropes & Gray in Boston where her work focused on off-label, Anti-kickback and pharmaceutical pricing matters. Subsequently, Kyle worked as a member of the compliance teams at Boston Scientific and Sanofi/Genzyme. Her experience included negotiating the terms of and operationalizing Corporate Integrity Agreements and Deferred Prosecution Agreements. Kyle also spent a number of years serving as counsel to startup biotechnology companies in the Boston area where her work included advising on corporate governance issues and drafting and negotiating a broad swath of agreements common to life science companies.
Hala Farid, Citi Community Development – Bio coming soon.
Theodore Furman- Ted is an independent consultant in the areas of patent strategy, and in diversity and inclusion. In December Ted retired after 14 years from his role as Vice President in the GlaxoSmithKline(GSK) Legal Department managing a global team handling GSK’s Consumer Healthcare patent matters. Ted has also been a member of the patent departments at Bristol-Myers Squibb and the RCA Corporation and has a total of 35 years in the patent profession. Ted served as chair of GSK Legal’s Diversity and Inclusion Steering Team which has implemented a variety of diversity programs leading to GSK being the first Pharma company to sign on to the Law Society’s (UK) Diversity and Inclusion Charter in 2010, GSK Legal being an MCCA Mid-Atlantic Region Employer of Choice for 2010 and 2014, and GSK scoring a 100 on HRC’s ‘Best LGBT Places To Work’ list nearly every year since 2006. In 2014 GSK was also recognized with national awards by NAMWOLF and DRI. From 2004 until his retirement, Ted has served as Executive Sponsor for GSK’s Philadelphia-area LGBT Employee Resource Group, SPECTRUM, and GSK Legal earned the National LGBT Bar Association’s 2012 Out and Proud Corporate Counsel Award in 2012. Ted has also been on the LGBT Bar Foundation’s Board of Directors since 2013.
Vivek Hatti – Vivek is the Director, Legal Operations at Avis Budget Group, where he is responsible for supporting the daily activities of in-house lawyers and monitoring efficiencies within both routine legal processes and distinct engagements. His nearly 10 years of consulting experience prior to Avis, where he successfully implemented alternative legal service delivery models within corporate legal departments, gives him a practical problem solving perspective suited for navigating both legal and business concerns. A litigator for 10 years prior to consulting, Mr. Hatti has a deep understanding of the challenges lawyers face while trying to maximize results within defined budgets. He also advises the General Counsel and other senior executives on risks, opportunities, and potential solutions impacting the corporate legal environment, including those related to data security and personally identifiable information.
Mr. Hatti is a graduate of the George Washington University Law School. Additionally, he earned a Masters in International Relations from George Washington University, a Certificate of Economics form the London School of Economics, and his B.A. in Government & Economics from William & Mary.
Christopher “Edwin” Hopkins-Gillispie – Edwin received his BS in Business Administration from Valparaiso University in 2003 and his MBA from Woodbury University in 2006. Edwin started his career in the marketing and public relations industry in Los Angeles at the international public relations firm Hill & Knowlton (know “HK Strategies). He then moved in-house for at Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage Southern California Region before heading to law school in 2008.
He received his JD from Indiana University’s Maurer School of Law in 2011. Following law school, Edwin joined the global law firm Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP in the Washington office, where he was an associate concentrating in labor and employment litigation and counseling. This past year, he joined Lidl US as Senior In-House Counsel, specializing in employment law. Lidl is part of the Schwartz Group, the fourth largest retailer in the world and has been a growing presence in the European grocery market place with 10,000 stores in 27 countries. Lidl is now planning to launch into the market here in the United States by 2018.
Therese Lee – Therese is Senior Counsel, Global Ethics & Compliance at Google Inc., where she is responsible for legal and regulatory compliance matters, particularly Google’s worldwide compliance with the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (“FCPA”) and international anti-bribery laws. Prior to Google, Therese practiced at the law firm of Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr LLP in Washington, DC, where she specialized in FCPA matters, international litigation, and human rights cases. Therese also has worked in the Appeals Section of the Office of the Prosecutor at the United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, researched Singapore and Malaysia’s anti-terrorism laws as a Fulbright Scholar, analyzed East Asian security issues at the Center for Strategic & International Studies, and served as foreign policy adviser to U.S. Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan (D-NY, 1977-2001). In 2013, 2014, and 2015, the Ethisphere Institute recognized Therese as a top Ethics & Compliance officer in its annual Attorneys Who Matter list. In 2014, Therese was also named Compliance Champion of the Year at the Women in Compliance Awards and received a Top 10 30-Somethings Award from the Association of Corporate Counsel. Therese holds a Masters in Public Affairs from the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University, a law degree from UC Berkeley, and a bachelor’s degree from Stanford University. She is an Aspen Institute First Movers Fellow and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.
Jaron Luttich – Jaron is Director, Practice Development with H5, a consulting firm that operates at the intersection of science, technology and legal services. Mr. Luttich supports in-house and outside counsel in addressing the myriad challenges of electronic information by providing high-quality eDiscovery and advanced search, review and data analytics as a service for ongoing litigations, investigations, information governance challenges, and compliance efforts. For over 10 years, Mr. Luttich has been consulting on a wide range of legal services, including eDiscovery, staff augmentation, and technology assisted solutions. He is a graduate of the University of Kansas – School of Law, served on the Kansas Law Review, and practiced litigation in Missouri and the District of Columbia.
Paul Marchegiani,- Paul serves as VP, Business Affairs at Warner Bros., where he negotiates scripted and unscripted talent and rights deals for the Warner Horizon television studio, and advises senior executives on deal making, rights, talent relations, financial strategy, and risk management. He has deep experience with above-the-line talent deals for scripted/unscripted television, film, digital content, and live stage projects at all stages of development and production. Prior to joining Warner Bros., Paul served as VP, Business Affairs at Miramax, Director of Business Affairs and Sr. Counsel, Legal Affairs at NBCUniversal, and as a litigation associate at Morrison & Foerster and Orrick in San Francisco. Paul holds a J.D. from U.C. Berkeley, and a B.A. and B.Mus. from Northwestern University, and has taught entertainment law courses at U.C. Berkeley and Chapman University. In addition to his behind-the-scenes entertainment experience, Paul has performed in several productions with the LA Opera, SF Symphony, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Cabrillo Music Theatre, and Glendale Center Theatre, and has trained for 8 years as an improviser with Studio ACT, Upright Citizens Brigade, Groundlings, and Impro Theatre.
Philip Matthys – Philip is Head of Business Affairs for Hulu, where he is responsible for negotiating all development and production deals related to Hulu’s slate of original series, international co-productions, documentaries, and specials. He is responsible for managing the business and production relationships with studio suppliers such as Warner Bros., Universal Television, Sony and Marvel, overseeing Hulu’s production slate and budgets, and leading negotiations with talent agencies & law firms. Prior to joining Hulu in 2015, Philip held various roles at NBCUniversal over more than a decade, most recently as Senior Vice President, Head of Business Affairs for USA Network, Syfy Channel and Universal Cable Productions. Before joining NBCUniversal, Philip worked in private practice at Irell & Manella LLP in Los Angeles. Philip has a B.A. from UCLA and received his J.D. from Columbia University.
Lauren Mutti, Southern Glazer’s Wine and Spirits – Bio coming soon.
Michelle Peak, American Airlines – Bio coming soon.
Jason Prussman – Jason works as Senior Corporate Counsel for Broomfield, Colorado-based Level 3 Communications, LLC, a leading international provider of fiber-based communications services. As the company’s senior employment attorney, Jason counsels the Human Resources Department and other business units on day-to-day employee relations matters, helps develop policies and compliance programs, and conducts large-scale employment law trainings for Level 3’s mangers across the country. Jason also represents Level 3 at the administrative stages of employee disputes and manages outside counsel when litigation arises. Jason was a founding member of Level 3’s LGBT Employee Resource Group. Prior to joining Level 3, Jason worked as a litigation associate in Denver at Husch Blackwell and Holme Roberts & Owen (now Bryan Cave). He also enjoyed a stint as a Research Analyst at the Institute for the Advancement of the American Legal System at the University of Denver. Jason served on the board of directors for the Colorado LGBT Bar Association, from 2006 through 2013, including as President in 2007. He graduated from law school at the University of Colorado in 2003 and received his B.A. from Colorado State University in 1996, with a minor in French. Jason has trained as an improviser since 2013 with the Bovine Metropolis Theater in Denver and the Denver Center for the Performing Arts.
Mark E. (Rick) Richardson – Rick is Vice President and Associate General Counsel, Global Litigation at GlaxoSmithKline (GSK). Mr. Richardson leads a team of lawyers who manage all forms of non-IP litigation for GSK. Active in efforts to obtain civil justice reform and ensure a level playing field for all litigants, Mr. Richardson serves on the boards of Lawyers for Civil Justice and the Product Liability Advisory Counsel, and is a member of the DRI Drug and Device Steering Committee. He also led the development of GSK’s philosophy and processes for managing e-discovery, its Early Case Assessment and Early Dispute Resolution program, and its Write Right program. Passionate about diversity and inclusion, Mr. Richardson is a member of GSK Legal’s Diversity and Inclusion Steering Team, is on the Admissions Committee and Advisory Council of the National Association of Minority and Women Owned Law Firms, and is GSK’s representative to the Inclusion Initiative.
Ashley Tessier – Ashley is a Boston area native who recently relocated to the San Francisco Bay Area. She practiced law in Massachusetts from 2008-2015 at the Boston law firm of Choate Hall & Stewart LLP. Her practice focused on employment law and intellectual property law. She also gained prosecutorial experience, serving as a Special Assistant District Attorney in Suffolk County at the Boston Municipal Court. She was named a Massachusetts Super Lawyers Rising Star.
Jasmine Thomas, Citibank – Bio coming soon.
Michelle Waites – Michelle is Senior Patent Counsel for Xerox Corporation, actively involved in enforcing and obtaining the company’s patent and other intellectual property rights. Her primary responsibility is patent litigation, and typically includes reviewing pleadings and motions, leading internal fact investigations, managing outside counsel, preparing for and attending court hearings, participating in settlement and case strategy discussions and drafting and negotiating settlement agreements. Her practice also includes reviewing technology transfer agreements, supporting product design and development programs and working with business and technical staff to develop and implement effective legal strategies. She is a registered patent attorney and has extensive experience preparing and prosecuting patent applications.
Ms. Waites has maintained her own law practice, has been associated with law firms in New York City and spent several years as an engineer in the aerospace/military defense industry.
She received a Juris Doctor degree from the University of California at Berkeley and a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from Syracuse University. She is admitted to the Bar in California and New York and is registered to practice before the US Patent and Trademark Office. Ms. Waites is a member of the American Bar Association, Lambda Legal and the National LGBT Bar Association.
Tricia Wagner – Tricia is the Senior Manager of H5’s Information Governance department, which is responsible for H5’s compliance program. Mrs. Wagner oversees H5’s compliance with global data protection laws, regulations and standards including, but not limited to, HIPAA, PCI, Privacy Shield, and ITAR. She provides advice to the business during planning and implementation phases of new business processes, infrastructure design, and product development. Mrs. Wagner has over 10 years’ experience in compliance and information security, developing policies, procedures, training, and implementing an assessment frameworks. Previously, Mrs. Wagner served as H5’s Senior Manager of Operations, working extensively with the information technology department managing the information systems development, deployment and maintenance.
Mrs. Wagner graduated from the University of San Francisco School of Law where she also earned a Master’s in Business Administration. She earned her bachelor’s degree in Political Science and Philosophy from the University of California, Davis. Mrs. Wagner is CISSP certified.
Edward Willey III – Edward is Senior Counsel with Hewlett Packard Enterprise, specializing in complex transactions, global contracting, data privacy, and cyber security. Edward also is a member of the Diversity Committee in HPE’s Office of the General Counsel and serves at Chair of North Texas PRIDE and Business Impact Chair of the HPE Global PRIDE. Edward’s career includes Ericsson, Huawei Technologies, and Mitel prior to joining HPE in 2014. Edward is an member of the International Association of Privacy Professionals and is certified as an Expert by the International Association of Contract and Commercial Management. He is a 2004 graduate of The University of Texas School of Law.
Nicole A. Bashor – Nicole is a patent attorney in the Intellectual Property Group at Quarles & Brady who helps clients obtain, enforce, and defend against patents involving primarily mechanical, software, chemical, and medical device technologies. Nicole assists clients in all stages of business development to implement long-term intellectual property strategies that integrate the procurement and enforcement of intellectual property rights. She also has experience in prosecuting, licensing, and providing pre-litigation and IPR strategy advice for patents and trademarks, both nationally and internationally. Nicole has served on the Lesbian and Gay Bar Association of Chicago’s (LAGBAC) Board for 10 years, with 4 of those years as vice president. At times, she oversaw the women’s committee, the community outreach committee, and the mentorship committee. Nicole recently finished her term on the c(6) board and continues to serve the organization as a LAGBAC Foundation c(3) Board Member.
Ava Benach – Ava is a founding partner of Benach Collopy. For nearly two decades, Ava has navigated clients safely through the maze of immigration law. Ava has concentrated her practice on representing clients in removal proceedings and in litigation matters before the federal courts. She also has extensive experience advising clients on the immigration consequences of criminal convictions and complex citizenship and residence questions. Ava was identified as being a “go-to attorney when it comes to representing individuals in complex government cases” and at the “forefront of an emerging generation of litigators” in the immigration field by Chambers International. Ava currently serves on the Amicus Committee of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA), helping to set nationwide litigation strategy for the organization. She has also taken a lead role in representing trans individuals in asylum and immigration proceedings and has worked with prominent LGBT organizations to increase access to counsel and quality representation in immigration matters.
Maria Bernstein – Maria is Of Counsel at Foley & Lardner LLP. She has over 20 years of real estate experience documenting, negotiating and closing commercial lease, purchase and sale, development, and real estate secured finance deals. Ms. Bernstein’s experience, particularly in lease transactions and with property management, is remarkably broad and deep, including office, retail, industrial, data, telecommunications, energy, health care and infrastructure product/industry deals. She represents all size, domestic and multinational companies and clients. She works internationally, running deals primarily for domestic clients in foreign countries and also represents international clients in U.S. Ventures. Prior to joining Foley, Ms. Bernstein’s career included positions in the Los Angeles and San Francisco offices of large law firms, and as in-house managing counsel, corporate counsel, and general counsel for private and publicly traded companies, including at Equity Office Properties and Google.
Jennifer L. Branch – Jennifer has been a partner with Alphonse Gerhardstein since 2005. The firm concentrates its practice in civil rights litigation. Jennifer practices civil rights litigation in the areas of race, sex, disability, sexual orientation, and gender identity discrimination; employment discrimination; police misconduct; prisoner civil rights; and reproductive rights. In 2015 Gerhardstein & Branch won the landmark case, Obergefell v. Hodges, which held that the Fourteenth Amendment requires States to license and recognize marriages between same sex couples. In 2004 Al and Jennifer won a jury verdict for transgender police officer who was discriminated against on the basis of sex stereotyping, Philecia Barnes v. City of Cincinnati, 401 F.3d 729 (6th Cir. 2005). In 1998, Jennifer and Al won a bench trial for a public school teacher fired because of his sexual orientation and achieved reinstatement and damages, Glover v Williamsburg Local School District 20 F. Supp.2d 1160 (S.D. OH 1998). Jennifer joined the firm as an associate in 1997 and began her legal career in 1987 at the Legal Aid Society of Cincinnati. She graduated from New York University in 1984 with Honors in Politics and from Case Western Reserve University School of Law cum laude in 1987. Jennifer’s litigation experience includes bench trials, jury trials, and administrative hearings in state and federal court, as well as arguing appeals in the Ohio Court of Appeals, Ohio Supreme Court, and Sixth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
Ashley H. Brooks – Ashley is co-leader of the Real Estate Group in the Boston office of Sullivan & Worcester LLP. Her practice focuses on all aspects of transactional commercial real estate law, including single-lender and syndicated multi-lender financing, acquisitions and dispositions, private/preferred equity investing, and leasing, representing institutions and public and private companies across all asset classes throughout the United States. Ms. Brooks’ experience includes negotiating and documenting complex loan facilities (senior and mezzanine), construction loans, and leveraged loans in connection with New Markets Tax Credits, Low Income Housing Tax Credit structures, portfolio acquisitions and sales, private/preferred equity ventures, fund formation, ground leases, sale-leasebacks, workouts and foreclosures.
Ms. Brooks is co-chair of the firm’s Diversity and Inclusion Committee and an alumna of the Leadership Council on Legal Diversity Fellows Program. She is an alumna of the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce, Women’s Leadership Program and served as Co-Chair of the Boston Bar Association’s Real Estate Finance Committee. Ms. Brooks is also an active member in several industry organizations, including CREW Boston, Real Estate Lenders Association (RELA) and NAIOP.
Bernadette Bulacan, Director – Drawing from her experiences as a former assistant general counsel and law firm partner, Bernadette is a frequent speaker and author regarding the use of technology in corporate legal departments; collaboration between in-house and outside counsel; and best practices related to legal department operations, data & analytics, and legal project management. Bernadette specifically leads the Thomson Reuters Market Development Group, which is charged with identifying trends and innovations affecting the corporate legal department practice. She was a founding employee and Assistant General Counsel of Serengeti Legal Tracker, a Saas electronic billing and matter management software company, which was acquired by Thomson Reuters.
Prior to joining Serengeti/Thomson Reuters, Bernadette was a partner at Graham & Dunn, a Seattle law firm, where she was the head of the firm’s Entrepreneur and Emerging Companies/Corporate practice group. She started her legal career advising start-up technology companies with Venture Law Group, a Silicon Valley law firm.
Bernadette received her undergraduate degree from Yale University and her law degree and LL.M (Taxation) from the University of Washington.
Lyzzette Bullock – Lyzzette is a senior litigation associate at Mintz Levin in Boston. She represents clients in a variety of complex civil and commercial disputes in courts, mediations and arbitrations. She has experience in matters involving product liability, government investigations relating to health care entities, bank lien foreclosures, and direct selling company actions. In addition, Lyzzette has defended clients in a number of professional negligence actions before administrative agencies and licensing boards. She has significant interest in legal and regulatory developments that impact the food and consumer products industry.
Lyzzette is committed to professional and community involvement and has held positions as a board member on the boards of several organizations across the country, including in Arizona, California and New York. She has an active pro bono practice where she routinely represents indigent clients and local non-profit organizations.
Paul C. Burke – Paul is a partner, director, and general counsel of Salt Lake City-based Ray Quinney & Nebeker, one of the oldest and largest law firms in the Intermountain West. His clients became the first same-sex couple to marry legally in Utah and he officiated Utah’s first wedding of a lesbian couple. Mr. Burke has been recognized as a “Utah Hero” by the Utah Pride Center for his public advocacy for LGBT rights. Mr. Burke also received the Utah State Bar’s Pro Bono Attorney of the Year award.
Marla Butler – Trial attorney Marla Butler has spent the last 18 years litigating and leading high-stakes intellectual property and patent litigation trials, Markman hearings, mediations and arbitrations. Her representations, which have included critical early case evaluations and assessments, have helped technology clients in the medical, semiconductor, LCD, networking and other electronics technologies industries monetize their patent assets and/or defend against lawsuits that threaten their businesses.
As a partner and firm leader at Robins Kaplan LLP, Ms. Butler has an enhanced understanding of the nuanced business issues her clients face. Ms. Butler’s leadership roles include serving on the firm’s Executive Board and serving as chair of the firm’s Diversity Committee (2008 – 2014).
Kylie Byron – Kylie is an associate in the Chicago office of Seyfarth Shaw LLP. She received her J.D. from the Washington University School of Law in 2014. Kylie’s practice focuses on consumer and credit reporting, background checks, and wage and hour litigation. Kylie also consults and speaks on employment-related legal issues facing the transgender community, and on developing best practices for including and accommodating transgender and transitioning employees in the workplace.
Dominic Campodonico – Dominic is a partner in Gordon & Rees’ San Francisco office. He has more than 17 years of experience serving as national, regional, and/or local counsel in litigation involving manufacturers of a variety of pharmaceuticals, medical devices, and biotechnology products. He has extensive experience handling sales and marketing litigation strategies and assists his clients with high-stakes matters that frequently occur simultaneously with litigation, such as risk management and compliance, FDA/regulatory issues, government investigations, False Claims Act cases, and crisis communications. In addition to his legal practice, Mr. Campodonico is an active member in the community serving on various Boards of Directors including Under One Roof, the Castro/Upper Market Community Benefits District, and the Bar Association of San Francisco’s (BASF) Justice & Diversity Center. He has also served on many committees including the Equality Committee on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Issues for BASF and the judiciary and dinner committees for Bay Area Lawyers for Individual Freedom. He has had many roles at Gordon & Rees including co-chairing its national LGBT Affinity Group, the Recruiting Partner for the Summer Associate Program, and the Chair of the firm’s Community Service, Diversity, and Pro Bono Committees for the San Francisco office. Mr. Campodonico has spoken and been published on LGBT legal issues at national and local seminars.
Peter C. Catalanotti – Peter is a partner in the San Francisco office of Manning & Kass, Ellrod, Ramirez, Trester LLP, where he specializes in professional indemnity insurance defense and employment law. His sub-specialty is real estate broker, appraiser, and insurance broker liability. He also represents lawyers in malpractice actions. Mr. Catalanotti is a licensed real estate broker and serves as Co-Chair of the Real Estate Sales and Brokerage Subsection of the Real Property Law Section of the State Bar of California. He is a volunteer for the San Francisco Superior Court. Mr. Catalanotti is an elected board member of the Bay Area Lawyers for Individual Freedom (BALIF), who was named co-chair in 2016. He is also an elected board member of the National LGBT Bar Association (he was also named to the 2015 class of the “Best LGBT Lawyers Under 40”). Mr. Catalanotti is also the co-chair of the LGBT Equality Committee of the Bar Association of San Francisco (BASF). In his free time, he volunteers with Destination Law School and the LGBT Youth Project and practices Muay Thai kickboxing.
Joseph Cohen – Joe is a partner in the litigation practice group of Porter Hedges. He handles catastrophic injury and wrongful death cases arising from allegations of products liability (including pharmaceutical products), chemical and substance exposure, general negligence, and commercial litigation. He also advises U. S. and foreign companies on privacy issues and regulations, blocking statutes, and cybersecurity issues. Joe also provides individual representation to employees (current and former) of pharmaceutical and medical device manufacturers in both civil and criminal contexts. In the commercial litigation area, Joe litigates various types of disputes including fraud, deceptive trade practices, securities fraud, breach of contract, copyright and trademark infringement contract and non-compete litigation.
Aaron Coombs – Aaron represents corporate policyholders in coverage disputes and litigation at Perkins Coie LLP. Aaron has experience in every stage of civil litigation—from pre-suit negotiation to appellate litigation—having represented clients in disputes over mass tort, product liability, environmental contamination, and other claims. He has helped clients maximize their insurance assets under many different types of policies—from spacecraft to cyber, property to casualty, and many others. He routinely counsels clients when purchasing insurance, and has extensive proficiency in identifying gaps in coverage and negotiating the terms and conditions for cyber-risk and management liability (D&O) insurance policies. He also helps clients with additional insured and contractual indemnification issues.
Stuart F. Delery – Stuart is a litigation partner in the Washington, D.C. office of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher. Before joining the firm, he was the Acting Associate Attorney General of the United States, the third-ranking position at the U.S. Department of Justice. Mr. Delery’s practice focuses on representing corporations and individuals in high-stakes litigation and investigations that involve the federal government across the spectrum of regulatory litigation and enforcement.
Kelly Dermody – Kelly is Managing Partner of the San Francisco office of Lieff, Cabraser, Heimann & Bernstein, LLP. She chairs the firm’s Employment Practice Group and specializes in class and collective actions on behalf of plaintiffs in employment and consumer cases. In 2012, she served as President of the Bar Association of San Francisco. She is a member of the College of Labor and Employment Lawyers and the ABA Labor & Employment Law Section (LELS) governing Council. She previously served as Co-Chair of the ABA LELS Annual Section Conference, Committee on Diversity in the Legal Profession, and Equal Employment Opportunity Committee. The Daily Journal has selected Ms. Dermody as one of the top 100 attorneys in California (2012-2015), top 75 labor and employment lawyers in California (2011-2016), and top 100 women litigators in California (2007, 2010, 2012-2017). She has received awards from charitable and civic organizations, including the National Association of Women Judges, the Anti-Defamation League, the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights of the San Francisco Bay Area, California Rural Legal Assistance, Legal Momentum, Centro Legal de la Raza, and Bay Area Lawyers for Individual Freedom. Ms. Dermody received a B.A. degree from Harvard University and a J.D. degree from UC Berkeley Law School (Boalt Hall). She clerked for the Hon. John T. Nixon, U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee, before joining Lieff Cabraser.
Christopher Dolan – Chris is a partner in the Faegre Baker Daniels’ Minneapolis office, specializing in environmental and natural resources litigation, environmental review, administrative proceedings, permitting, and compliance matters. He focuses on environmental litigation arising under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA), the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), and a variety of state statutes as well as contractual environmental indemnity provisions. Chris has also worked with many federal and state administrative agencies on behalf of clients, including the EPA and the Bureau of Land Management. In litigation matters, he specializes in complex factual development and expert team management. Chris has significant experience working with clients in the animal agriculture, oil and gas, energy, and manufacturing sectors.
Prior to joining Faegre Baker Daniels, Chris worked as a McCleary law fellow with the Human Rights Campaign. Before beginning his legal career, he was executive director of Neighbors Helping Neighbors Food Drives, an organization that collected food for Twin Cities food shelves.
Carlos E. Estrada – Carlos has been an immigration lawyer for 22 years. He holds an undergraduate degree from the University of Massachusetts at Boston (1992) and a J.D. from Suffolk University Law School (1995). He is fluent in Spanish, French and Italian. Mr. Estrada handles a multitude of immigration cases spanning from affirmative and defensive asylum, family-immigration, removal defense in Immigration Court, BIA appeals, U.S. District Court actions and Federal Court of Appeals. Most recently, Mr. Estrada successfully litigated petitions for rehearing in the First Circuit Court of Appeals (Peralta Sauceda v. Lynch) and petitions for review (Murillo-Robles v. Lynch). Mr. Estrada has also served for a number of years as a member of the EOIR Committee for the AILA New England Chapter. He is also a member of the AILA Federal Litigation Steering Committee. Mr. Estrada has also handled numerous pro bono cases.
Sam Felker – Sam is a shareholder in Baker Donelson’s Nashville and Fort Lauderdale offices, focuses his litigation practice on products liability, food safety, mass torts, insurance coverage, cyber security and commercial disputes. A seasoned trial lawyer, Sam handles matters from start to finish and is also trained in all aspects of ADR. For more than a decade, he has been active in American Bar Association work and currently serves as Co-Chair of the ABA Products Liability Committee. Sam frequently speaks and writes on the subject of diversity in the legal profession, and he is a member of the firm’s Diversity Committee and a leader in the firm’s LGBTQ employee group called Affinitas. Recently Sam earned the designation of Certified Information and Privacy Professional (CIPP-US).
Stephen Fronk – Stephen is a partner at Sidley Austin, where he focuses his practice on technology and intellectual property transactions. In particular, he has deep experience advising clients on digital media-related transactions and for many years has negotiated digital entertainment content distribution deals with leaders in the movie, television, music, publishing, and consumer electronics industries. Recently, with the emergence of new distribution models and players in the content ecosystem, Stephen has spent much of his time working with clients on transactions for the creation, distribution, and other exploitation of digital entertainment content through both traditional and new media. Representative clients of Stephen’s include Amazon.com (including Amazon Studios), AwesomenessTV, eOne, Hulu, Microsoft, Rheo, Tribeca Enterprises, Vessel (recently acquired by Verizon), and 60dB. Stephen is a graduate of Brown University, The Courtauld Institute of Art, and University of California, Hastings College of the Law.
Kenneth Garrett – Ken is a partner at the law firm of Gang, Tyre, Ramer & Brown, an 85 year old talent boutique specializing in contract negotiations for actors, directors, writers, producers, musicians and entertainment-industry executives. Ken focuses primarily in television and film, advising clients with respect to above-the-line talent deals, executive employment agreements, rights acquisition, financing, production and merchandising. Ken works with clients at all stages of their careers, from those who are just starting out, to some of the firm’s (and the industry’s) most celebrated names. Prior to joining GTRB, Ken was an associate in the entertainment, sports and media group at O’Melveny & Myers in Century City. His practice there straddled the line between sports and film/television, for example helping the International Olympic Committee negotiate its television distribution deals around the world. Ken holds a B.A. from Stanford University and a J.D. from Harvard Law School.
Christopher Hanson – Christopher is a fifth-year associate at Covington & Burling LLP in the Washington, DC office. He advises international and domestic clients on U.S. regulatory strategies and compliance for biological products, pharmaceuticals, medical devices, cosmetics, and radiation-emitting electronic products. His broad range of clients include large multinational companies, venture capital firms, industry associations, clinical laboratories, and development-stage companies. Mr. Hanson has extensive experience counseling clients on interactions with state and federal regulatory agencies.
Mr. Hanson is an active firm member having served as Vice Chair of the Summer Associate Program (2015, 2016). Additionally, he pursues extensive pro bono work related to the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT+) community. Along with colleagues at Covington, he has assisted Whitman-Walker Health in preparing several rounds of FDA public comments concerning agency blood donation guidelines.
He is a graduate of Northwestern University School of Law, where he was elected to the Order of the Coif and graduated in two years. He holds a Masters of Divinity degree from Harvard University and an undergraduate degree from Yale University.
Douglas Hauer – Doug is a Member in Mintz Levin’s Corporate & Securities Practice and Immigration Practice. On the corporate side, he focuses on private offerings and related securities work. He also works with entrepreneurs, new ventures and established businesses on setting up operations in the US, providing advice on entity formation and on the legal risks of expanding into the US. In the immigration law space, Doug represents corporate, institutional, and individual clients in routine and complex immigration matters. He has in-depth experience advising companies on the immigration consequences of corporate restructuring, as well as representing clients in immigration-related investigations involving the US DOL, USCIS and FBI. Doug frequently speaks, writes and is often quoted in the press about immigration, corporate and securities law, and foreign investment.
Jordan Heinz – Jordan is a partner at Kirkland & Ellis in Chicago and practices in both the intellectual property and general litigation departments. Within the intellectual property department, Jordan focuses on Lanham Act litigation (trademark, false advertising and unfair competition) and trade secret litigation across a broad range of industries. Within the general litigation department, Jordan focuses on complex commercial litigation matters, including employment and consumer fraud litigation. Jordan also helps coordinate the Firm’s pro bono program and currently serves as a Chicago Pro Bono Coordinator. Jordan was counsel for the same-sex couples seeking the right to marry in Illinois (Gray v. Orr & Lee v. Orr) and in Indiana (Baskin v. Bogan).
Kara N. Ingelhart – Kara is a Skadden Fellow at Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund, the oldest and largest national legal organization committed to achieving full recognition of the civil rights of lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, transgender people and people living with HIV. Her fellowship project focuses on LGBTQ youth who have been involved in the criminal or juvenile legal system and the collateral consequences of that system involvement. Kara earned her J.D. at The University of Chicago Law School and her certificate in Health Administration and Policy with a Concentration on Global Health at The University of Chicago School of Social Service Administration. Kara earned her B.A. in Gender Studies and Biology at Indiana University, where she was a research assistant at The Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender and Reproduction.
Paula A. Kohut – Paula is a shareholder in Kohut & Adams, PA in Wilmington, North Carolina. Her principal practice areas are estate planning, trust and estate administration, business law and asset protection. Paula is a Fellow in the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel. She attended the University of California at Irvine for her B.A degree and obtained her J.D. degree, with honors, from Wake Forest University School of Law.
She serves on the Boards of the North Carolina Association of Women Attorneys, Equality NC, Coastal Women Attorneys and St. Jude’s Wilmington Foundation, Inc.
John Koss – John Koss is E-Discovery Counsel for Mintz Levin. John’s practice focuses exclusively on counseling clients on discovery and large data matters. John relies on his extensive experience in practice and discovery project management to help clients: develop and implement processes for preserving, collecting, and processing electronic data; prepare defensible discovery plans addressing production of electronically stored information; implement best-in-class early case assessment tools to reduce data volumes to be collected; advise on technology-assisted review approaches to prioritize and automate document review, and; utilize innovative workforce arrangements to maximize cost savings.
Prior to rejoining the firm in 2016, John led the Boston office of one of the nation’s leading legal services firms, where he worked with in-house legal departments and law firms to create effective and economical business solutions in a wide variety of practice areas. During his initial tenure at Mintz Levin, John was a founding member of the firm’s Electronic Discovery Practice Group. John maintained a diverse litigation and counseling practice serving as national trial, strategy, and discovery counsel for pharmaceutical clients involved in serial litigation. In this role, he also advised on information governance and the coordination of companywide and multinational discovery efforts.
Kevin Kraham – Kevin is a shareholder in Littler Mendelson’s DC office and represents employers in all aspects of civil rights and employment discrimination law. A former EEOC investigator, law clerk, and administrative judge, Kevin works as a strategic business partner with employers to help ensure that human resources and labor relations practices support and drive business plans. Kevin provides day-to-day advice, counseling, and training to employers about workplace issues such as positive employee relations, investigations, recruitment, performance management, discipline, compliance, communications, and crisis-management. He represents a variety of employers, including those in the transportation, retail, education, hospitality, distribution and logistics, healthcare, insurance, government contracting, and non-profit industries. He is a former adjunct professor at Georgetown University, where he taught cross-cultural management and negotiations and global labor and employment law. Kevin is the chair of Littler Pride, Littler’s LGBT affinity group, and he serves on Littler’s associates committee.
Noah Kressler – Noah is an experienced corporate finance and transactional attorney whose practice covers a wide range of capital markets, securities law and general corporate matters. Currently based in New Orleans, Noah previously spent nearly a decade in New York and London with Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP. His clients have included the world’s leading private equity firms, public companies and investment banks. He has been very involved in LGBT recruiting and retention issues during his career, and currently serves on his firm’s recruiting committee. Since 2014, he has also been an adjunct professor of law at Tulane Law School.
Josh Langdon – Josh has extensive experience in representing lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender clients throughout Ohio and Kentucky in a variety of areas. His practice focuses on employment law, family law, and probate and estate law. As Chair of the Cincinnati Bar Association LGBT Interests Committee and Chair of the Ohio State Bar Association Family Law subcommittee formed with the sole task of revising the Ohio statutory code post-Obergefell, Josh frequently gives speeches to companies, non-profits and interests groups on the legal rights of the LGBT community. Josh is also involved in the Greater Cincinnati community by volunteering for various charities devoted to helping the disadvantaged. He is a Board Member of CASA for Kids of Kenton and Campbell County, Inc. and Pro Seniors Inc.. Josh received his Bachelor of Arts from The College of Charleston and his Juris Doctor from the University of Cincinnati College of Law. He was Treasurer of the South Carolina College Republicans and worked for the Human Rights Campaign Foundation in Washington, D.C. prior to entering law school. While at UC, Josh was President of Out & Allies, the LGBT student group, and a member of the Moot Court Honor Board.
Karen Langsley – Karen recently relocated from Dripping Springs, Texas to the Denver, Colorado area to work with Gutterman Griffiths, PC, Karen is licensed in Colorado (pending admission), California and Texas. She is a former chair of the Texas State Bar LGBT Law Section; Vice-Chair of the Texas State Bar Committee on Child Abuse and Neglect; a member of the National Family Law Advisory Council of the National Center for Lesbian Rights; a member of the LGBT Bar Association’s Family Law Institute; and a founding member of the San Francisco Bar Association’s AIDS Legal Referral Panel. She is certified as a Child Welfare Law Specialist by the National Association of Counsel for Children. Her practice in Texas since 2004 has focused on Child Welfare Law and LGBT Family Law. She is committed to educating the bench and bar on issues of same-sex parents and family law after the Obergefell decision, and on issues for transgender individuals.
Scott Lerner – Scott is a litigation partner at Kirkland & Ellis in Chicago. He focuses on complex commercial litigation, including breach of contract, fraud, antitrust, and bankruptcy matters. Scott represented the same-sex couples seeking the right to marry in Indiana (Baskin v. Bogan) and represented same-sex couples in a constitutional challenge to a Michigan law that barred public entities from providing health insurance to their employees’ partners (Bassett v. Snyder).
Laura Maechtlen – Laura is the National Vice-Chair of the Labor and Employment Department and Co-Chair of the Seyfarth Shaw’s Diversity and Inclusion Action Team. Her practice is focused on employment litigation and includes the defense of class, collective and multi-plaintiff actions. Ms. Maechtlen also has experience litigating against the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) in systemic actions, both at the early charge stage and in large-scale EEOC pattern-and-practice litigation.
Adeel Mangi – Adeel is a partner in the litigation department at Patterson Belknap Webb & Tyler LLP in New York. Mr. Mangi’s practice is in complex commercial disputes, and he has particular experience in false advertising, pharmaceutical pricing and class action defense.
Mr. Mangi serves on the Boards of Directors of the Legal Aid Society, the Muslim Bar Association of New York, the National LGBT Bar Association, and the Advisory Board of the Alliance of Families for Justice. Mr. Mangi joined his firm in 2000 upon his graduation from Harvard Law School with an LL.M. Mr. Mangi was at Harvard as a Kennedy Memorial Scholar. Mr. Mangi also holds a First Class Degree in Law from the University of Oxford (Pembroke College), where he held the Roger Bannister Scholarship for Academics and Sports and Domus scholarships.
Angie Martell – Angie is the founder and managing partner of Iglesia Martell Law Firm, PLLC in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and she has practiced law for over 26 years and is licensed in New York, Massachusetts, and Michigan. In her holistic law practice, she works in a variety of areas, including family, criminal, and business law, and also advocates for the LGBT, Spanish-speaking, and Deaf communities. In 2014, she was the recipient of The Washtenaw County Bar Association’s Martin Luther King “I Have a Dream” Award for her work building trust between the community and the legal system, and for tireless devotion to securing fair and equal treatment for all individuals under the law. She also serves as Co-Chair of Washtenaw County’s LGBTQ Rights section. She is a past Cooperating Attorney with LAMBDA Legal Defense and Education Fund, Volunteer Attorney with the National Center for Lesbian Rights, and Contributing Attorney for the Institute of Continuing Legal Education. Angie co-wrote the amicus brief, In the Matter of Sharon Kowalski, Court of Appeals for the State of Minnesota. Angie has worked extensively in the areas civil rights, family law, LGBT issues, employee rights, criminal defense, mediation, and arbitration. Angie graduated with a Masters of Law from Harvard Law School and a Juris Doctor from the City University of New York Law School.
Kerene Moore – Kerene is currently a practicing attorney for Legal Services of S. Central Michigan where she has represented underserved Michigan residents in civil legal matters for the past 9 years. Kerene, a graduate of the University of Michigan, earned her Bachelor’s with distinction and honors prior to obtaining her Juris Doctor from the University of Michigan Law School. Kerene has a strong commitment to public service and provides a voice to marginalized community members. She regularly advocates on behalf of survivors of domestic violence, undocumented immigrants, disabled persons, and other underrepresented groups. Kerene plays a leadership role in a number of community organizations, including serving as Co-Chair of the Washtenaw County Bar Association’s LGBT Rights Section, Vice President of the Jim Toy Community Center, and Supervising Attorney of the Center’s Know Your Rights Project. She also serves on the Board of Directors for Equality Michigan and was recently appointed to the City of Ann Arbor’s Human Rights Commission.
Scott Morgan – Scott currently serves as the Sr. Director of U.S. Legal Sales Operations for Thomson Reuters (TR). Prior to that, Scott held multiple roles at TR with progressive responsibility including leading U.S. Legal Customer Service and Small Law Firm Sales Operations. Scott also spent ten years as a Reference Staff Attorney serving as that organization’s Hiring and Recruiting coordinator at TR. Scott was the co-founder of the first ever TR Pride@Work Business Resource Group in 2001 and currently serves as its co-chair. Scott is a former President of the National LGBT Bar Foundation and former board member of the Minnesota Lavender Bar Association. Scott received his JD from the Mitchell | Hamline School of Law and his BA from Vanderbilt University.
Dale Noll – Dale Noll is an associate in the Miami office of Akerman LLP. His practice focuses on fiduciary litigation, estate planning, and family law. He regularly represents fiduciaries, beneficiaries, and other interested parties in high conflict, complex, and high-profile guardianship, trust, and probate matters. Dale is also currently Co-Chair of the Miami Dade County Gay and Lesbian Lawyers Association. He is admitted to practice in Florida and California.
John Owen – John practices in the areas of capital markets and general corporate law and has represented domestic and international underwriters, issuers, and investors in public and private offerings of debt, equity, convertible, and equity-linked securities; exchange offers; bond and other tender offers; restructurings; and other complex capital markets transactions. His practice has particular emphasis on advising issuers and underwriters in cross-border offerings, and he has worked on transactions involving issuers and offerings in a number of jurisdictions, including China, France, India, Indonesia, Israel, and the United Kingdom. John serves on the board of directors of the Ali Forney Center, an organization that provides services to homeless LGBTQ youth in New York City and is active in coordinating affinity group efforts at his firm.
Kelly Perigoe – Kelly, partner at Boies Schiller Flexner LLP, is an experienced litigator who represents clients in a wide range of matters both in the trial court and on appeal. Her practice covers a number of substantive areas, including intellectual property law, entertainment litigation, securities litigation, and complex commercial litigation. In addition to several other high-profile matters, Kelly recently represented a transgender woman seeking an amendment to the gender marker on her Kansas birth certificate in a petition for review of an adverse agency ruling before the Kansas district court. Kelly is also a member of the Los Angeles Leadership Committee of Lambda Legal, a national legal organization whose mission is to achieve full recognition of the civil rights of LGBT people and people with HIV.
Mark T. Phillis – Mark handles a wide range of employment issues with a focus on those related to the Family and Medical Leave Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act. He represents employers in federal and state courts and before the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission, and other administrative agencies for Littler Mendelson, P.C.
A frequent speaker at seminars, Mark also conducts training for employers on topics such as harassment prevention, investigations and recruiting techniques. He serves as co-chair of the firm’s Diversity and Inclusion Council and was one of the founding shareholders of the Pittsburgh office.
Before joining Littler Mendelson, Mark studied at the Universidad de Salamanca in Spain and received an Organization of American States grant to study at the Universidad de Belgrano in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Katrina Quicker – Katrina Quicker is a Partner at BakerHostetler, focusing her practice on intellectual property litigation with a particular emphasis on patent litigation and pre-litigation counseling. Katrina routinely appears before federal district and appellate courts throughout the country, as well as before tribunals such as the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC), the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB), and the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB). She also serves as a Special Assistant Attorney General for the State of Georgia for intellectual property matters. A registered patent attorney, Katrina has extensive experience securing, protecting, and managing patents and trademarks in the United States and internationally. She also represents licensors and licensees in negotiating and drafting agreements that transfer intellectual property rights, and has advised clients on Hatch-Waxman lawsuits, regulatory filings for FDA Orange Book listing, FDA medical device matters such as premarket approval, and drug manufacturing compliance issues. Katrina has been named an “Up and Coming” Intellectual Property attorney by Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business since 2012 and called “a future frontrunner” in the 2013 edition of IAM’s Patent 1000 list—the best-in-class listing of patent prosecution, licensing, and litigation practitioners. She is a member of the firm’s Diversity Committee.
Gary J. Ross – Gary focuses his practice on securities law, venture capital and private equity, and corporate governance. Gary represents early-stage and mature companies, angel investors, investment advisors and venture capital funds. Gary has extensive experience advising as to SEC-registered and exempt capital markets transactions, including initial public offerings. He has also been engaged as an expert witness in commercial litigation matters. Gary is also an adjunct professor at Seton Hall Law School.
Prior to founding Jackson Ross PLLC in 2013, Gary worked at Sidley Austin LLP, where he was seconded for a time to Colgate-Palmolive Company, and at Alston & Bird. From 2009 to 2012, Gary served in the U.S. Department of the Treasury, where he oversaw contractors and financial agents engaged by Treasury to provide asset management, advisory, and other services relating to the Troubled Asset Relief Program.
Gary received his law degree from Northwestern Law School in 2004 and earned a B.B.A. from the University of Miami in 1994.
Matthew (“Matt”) Rudolphi – Matthew is a Shareholder with the law firm of Duncan, Weinberg, Genzer and Pembroke, PC, practicing in energy law and economic regulation, corporate and non-profit law, and administrative law and litigation. He works with cooperative, municipal, non-profit and corporate clients on regulatory, project development and corporate issues. Rudolphi represents several of the firm’s principal clients, including Cooperative Energy, the Navajo Tribal Utility Authority, the Transmission Agency of Northern California. Rudolphi currently serves as Vice President of the Energy Bar Association and as a Board Member of the Foundation of the Energy Law Journal and the Charitable Foundation of the Energy Bar Association. From 2006-2007 he served as the student member of the Board of the Gay and Lesbian Lawyers of Philadelphia and from 2007-2011 he served on the Board of Gaylaw, the LGBT Lawyers of Washington, DC. Rudolphi is a veteran of the 82nd Airborne Division and clerked during law school at Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, representing those affected by the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” Policy. Rudolphi has been selected for the past four years-running for inclusion in Thompson Reuters’ “Rising Stars” List, recognizing the Top Rated Energy & Natural Resources Attorneys in Washington, DC.
Kenneth Sanchez – Ken is Director of Legal Solutions with Thomson Reuters and works with law firms as well as in-house legal, compliance and risk professionals to address and mitigate compliance, regulatory, corporate, M&A and litigation support challenges. Ken is a seasoned attorney and counselor who has spent his career focused on partnering with clients to find the best and most cost-effective ways to leverage technology, processes and people to reduce or eliminate risk, increase efficiency and improve work product. Prior to moving to Los Angeles, Ken served on the Board and as Vice-President of the LGBT Bar Association of Greater New York. He is currently the Co-President Elect of the LGBT Bar Association of Los Angeles and serves as chapter leader for the Boston College Law School Alumni Association of Los Angeles.
Jean Schmidt – A highly-skilled and successful litigator Jean L. Schmidt has successfully represented and counseled employers in all aspects of employment law for more than 20 years at Littler Mendelson, P.C. She also has represented technology companies, catalog companies, and IT service providers in disputes involving the enforcement of non-competition agreements, confidentiality agreements and non-solicitation agreements, including obtaining and defending against preliminary injunctions.
Jean owned her own business prior to receiving her law degree, which has made her particularly effective in understanding clients’ businesses and helping them achieve their business goals in ways that minimize the risk of employment litigation and liability.
Richard Segal – Mr. Segal is the managing partner of Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman’s San Diego and San Diego North County offices. He has litigated in state, federal and bankruptcy courts on a variety of issues at both the trial and appellate levels. His practice emphasizes commercial and business litigation with particular concentrations in consumer finance, employee benefits, unfair competition, false advertising, securities, antitrust and banking matters. He represents benefit plans and trustees in ERISA cases in courts throughout California. He also has substantial litigation experience representing vehicle finance and leasing companies in class actions and private attorney general actions challenging their practices, and advises vehicle sales companies regarding state statutory, common law and regulatory compliance. Other significant matters include his representation of public corporations and/or inside or outside directors in various class action securities cases in state and federal courts. Additionally, Mr. Segal is the leader of Pillsbury’s firm-wide LGBT attorney network and is a member of Lambda Legal’s National Leadership Council.
Andrew Shackelford – Andrew is an Associate at Fragomen’s Santa Clara office, where he represents corporate clients in a variety of industries, including the pharmaceutical, insurance, engineering and technology fields. His practice includes all aspects of corporate U.S. immigration, including nonimmigrant visas, permanent residence, citizenship, I-9 compliance and immigration support for corporate restructuring.
Andrew frequently lobbies on behalf of the American Immigration Lawyers Association for the reform of employment-based immigration laws. In addition, Andrew represents lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (“LGBT”) individuals and families in connection with nonimmigrant visa petitions, family-based and employment-based permanent residence applications and naturalization applications. Andrew has practiced in the field of corporate immigration and nationality law since 2001. Prior to becoming an attorney, Andrew worked for several years as a paralegal in the corporate immigration field. Through The Florence Project, Andrew has handled two detained asylum cases: one involving a political prisoner from Congo, and another involving a transgendered woman from Mexico. In addition, he participates in Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) application drives and naturalization fairs.
John Stephens – John is the chair of Sedgwick LLP’s Cybersecurity and Privacy practice group. He focuses his practice on data privacy and digital marketing issues; media and entertainment litigation; live entertainment transactional matters, including music festivals and intellectual property licensing and transactions; and specialty insurance coverage and litigation. Mr. Stephens’ entertainment and media clients include media entities, national and worldwide live entertainment and sports companies, magazines, television and radio stations, production companies, entertainment technology companies, computer technologies, online content and software providers and talent. Additionally, Mr. Stephens represents clients in manufacturing and the financial and insurance industries. While in law school, Mr. Stephens was a clerk for U.S. District Court Judge Stanley Brottman.
Michael Stevens, Seyfarth Shaw LLP – Bio coming soon.
David Tsai – David is a Partner in Vinson & Elkins LLP’s San Francisco office and Co-Managing Partner of V&E’s Taiwan Office. David’s practice focuses on patent, trade secret, complex breach of contract, and product defect litigation for companies innovating biotechnology, medical devices, software, and hardware. His legal experience includes defending clients in international arbitration cases, litigating in the areas of copyrights and trademarks, preparing and prosecuting U.S. electrical engineering patent applications, drafting patentability, freedom-to-operate and non-infringement opinions, as well as inter partes review petitions. He also represents clients in patent negotiations, licensing and overall intellectual property strategy. David has been quoted regarding his work in various business and technology publications including The New York Times. He is President-Elect of the Asian American Bar Association of the Greater Bay Area, Past President of the Silicon Valley Intellectual Property Law Association (SVIPLA), and past Co-Chair of Bay Area Lawyers for Individual Freedom (BALIF). He currently serves on the Boards of the Bar Association of San Francisco (BASF) and Lambda Legal. David has been recognized as a top 50 California Lawyer on the Fast Track by The Recorder, Super Lawyer in IP Litigation, Best Lawyer Under 40 by the National LGBT Bar and National Asian Pacific American Bar, and by the California State Legislature for his work in civil rights. David is committed to pro bono work and has successfully represented a number of LGBT and HIV+ clients. He also led the drafting of amicus briefs filed in the California same-sex marriage/Prop 8 cases for which more than 100 organizations signed. David is a graduate of Harvard, Stanford, and Santa Clara University.
Deborah H. Wald – Deborah is managing partner of The Wald Law Group, a full-service family law firm based in San Francisco, California. While her law firm handles all aspects of family law, Ms. Wald herself focuses almost entirely on issues related to children. Her practice is divided between family formation – including egg and sperm donation, surrogacy and adoption – and parentage and custody litigation. She is a Certified Family Law Specialist, certified by the State Bar of California, and is a Fellow of the American Academy of Assisted Reproductive Technology Attorneys and the Academy of California Family Formation Lawyers. She is trained in both mediation and collaborative practice. She recently completed a term as a member of the State Bar of California’s Family Law Executive Committee; and she has been involved for many years in both legislation and litigation that has helped frame California’s approach to assisted reproduction and, more generally, to determining parentage. She has participated in much of the litigation that has shaped the way California views LGBT families, as well as drafting many LGBT-family-related bills and statutes. She is the standing Chair of the National Family Law Advisory Council of the National Center for Lesbian Rights.
Amy Wan – Amy, CIPP/US is Partner at Trowbridge Sidoti LLP (CrowdfundingLawyers.net), where she practices crowdfunding law and advises clients on the capital raising process. She is also Founder & CEO of SyndicationBot, an automated legal document drafting solution for small real estate syndications. Formerly, she was General Counsel at Patch of Land, a real estate marketplace lending platform, where she pioneered the industry’s first payment dependent note that is secured pursuant to an indenture trustee and designed to be bankruptcy remote.
Amy is also founder and co-organizer of Legal Hackers LA, and was named one of the one of ten women to watch in legal technology by the American Bar Association Journal in 2014. Amy began her career as Presidential Management Fellow at the U.S. Department of Transportation, where she worked on U.S.-China transportation policy. She has also worked at the U.S. Department of Commerce, where she represented the United States in delegations to the WTO and participated in free trade agreement negotiations on regulatory coherence and technical barriers to trade. Amy has also taught and spoken at SXSW, Practical Law Institute, and the American College of Mortgage Attorneys. She holds an LL.M. from the London School of Economics and Political Science, a JD from the University of Southern California Gould School of Law, and a BA from the University of Southern California.
Michael Vargas – Michael Vargas is an associate in Rimon P.C.’s Palo Alto office and a member of the firm’s Corporate practice group. Michael represents clients in a range of corporate transactions including formation, convertible debt financing, angel financing, venture capital and private equity backed expansion, state and federal securities, employment concerns, and mergers & acquisitions. Michael also specializes and counsels in corporate social responsibility and represents socially responsible investment funds. Michael also supports the expansion of legal expertise in this growing area as a member of the ABA’s Corporate Social Responsibility Task Force.
Michael serves as a supervising attorney at the UC Hastings Legal Garage guiding law students in the high tech and bio-tech industry. Michael is a lecturer at the University of Santa Clara Law School, where he teaches the law of startups. He is committed to promoting progressive legal values through the Bay Area Chapter of the American Constitution Society, serving as the Chair of the organization’s Silicon Valley Committee. Prior to joining Rimon, Michael served as an intern for Judge Susan Richard Nelson at the U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota, and then as a Law Clerk in the Minneapolis Area Office of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
Denise M. Visconti – Denise M. Visconti handles a broad variety of employment litigation matters at Littler Mendelson P.C., most often stemming from claims arising under the California Labor Code and the Fair Labor Standards Act, alleging overtime misclassification and other wage and hour violations. Prior to joining Littler Mendelson in January 2004, Denise served as a judicial clerk to the Honorable Louisa S. Porter, Presiding Magistrate Judge, Southern District of California and also served as a judicial clerk to the Honorable Peter A. Nowinski, Eastern District of California. She spent her third year of law school working in the Immigration and Human Rights Legal Clinic helping newly-arriving immigrants obtain political asylum.
Keith Watts – Keith is the managing and a founding shareholder of Ogletree Deakins’ Orange County office. Keith exclusively practices labor and employment law and has handled a wide variety of matters, including sexual harassment, age discrimination, disability and wrongful termination claims. Keith’s practice focuses heavily on the advice, counseling and “prevention side” of employment claims and positioning problem employment situations for the best possible defense. Keith represents or works with employers in a wide-ranging, diverse group of industries, including automobile dealerships, advertising agencies, security and alarm companies, computer technology companies, equipment and food manufacturers, non-profit organizations, physicians, retailers and wholesalers, interstate transportation and wind energy companies. Prior to attending law school, Keith worked as an actor in New York and Los Angeles.
William E. Weinberger – William joined Parker Milliken as a shareholder in 2004 and joined its Board of Directors in 2006. He has represented businesses and entrepreneurs in a variety of industries, including real estate development, investment and management, accounting, aerospace parts manufacturing, pharmaceutical manufacturing, medical services, entertainment and high-tech. Mr. Weinberger has represented clients in the trial courts of the State of California and all districts of the U.S. District Court in California, the California Courts of Appeal, the U.S. Ninth and Sixth Circuits Courts of Appeals, and the Ninth Circuit Bankruptcy Appellate Panel.
He was one of the founders of the National LGBT Bar Association, a result of meeting LGBT attorneys while helping to organize the 1987 March on Washington.
Daniel Winterfeldt – Daniel is a partner in Reed Smith LLP’s Financial Industry Group. Currently based in Reed Smith’s London office, Daniel’s practice focuses on representing U.S., UK, European and Asian investment banks and corporate issuers in a wide range of securities transactions, including Rule 144A and Regulation S equity and debt offerings; Category 3, Regulation S transactions for US companies listing in the United Kingdom; rights offerings; exchange offers; equity-linked securities offerings; initial public offerings and secondary and follow-on offerings of equity securities, including SEC-registered transactions. He also provides ongoing U.S. securities advice to the London Stock Exchange through the Forum for U.S. Securities Lawyers in London, which Daniel is the founder and co-chair.
Governor Kate Brown – Gov. Brown became the 38th Governor of Oregon, and the first openly bisexual governor of the nation, when she was elected in 2015. For more than 25 years of service to the people of Oregon, Gov. Brown has worked to improve education for K-12 students, support working families, promote responsible environmental stewardship, and restore trust in state government by improving efficiency, transparency, and accountability.
Brown grew up in Minnesota and earned her undergraduate degree from the University of Colorado-Boulder. Kate came to Oregon to attend Lewis and Clark’s Northwestern School of Law, where she received her law degree and Certificate in Environmental Law.
Bree Buchanan – Bree is a graduate of the University of Texas School of Law and practiced law in the public and private sector with a focus on representing both adult and child victims of family violence. Upon graduation, Ms. Buchanan worked as a family law attorney for Legal Aid of Central Texas and went on to private practice in Austin. From 1998 to 2002, she served as the Public Policy Director for the National Domestic Violence Hotline. After this position, Ms. Buchanan was appointed Clinical Professor and Co-Director of the Children’s Rights Clinic at the University of Texas School of Law. In 2010, Ms. Buchanan joined the Texas Lawyers Assistance Program of the State Bar of Texas and now serves as its Director. In 2015, she was appointed to the ABA’s Advisory Commission on Lawyers Assistance Programs. Ms. Buchanan is also the proud parent of a sophomore at New York University.
Susan Belinda Christian – Commissioner Christian is an Assistant District Attorney in the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office where she is currently assigned to the Behavioral Health Court, a collaborative, multidisciplinary court providing treatment and rehabilitation for people whose offenses are tied to mental illness. She is a member of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights of the San Francisco Bay Area. Commissioner Christian received her B.A. and J.D. from Yale University. A former Co-Chair of the Alice B. Toklas LGBT Democratic Club, Ms. Christian has also served on the boards of directors for Walden House, the Transgender Law Center and the Service Members Legal Defense Network, the national organization which led the legislative, legal and lobbying effort to fully repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”. As a Commissioner, Ms. Christian’s primary interests include reform of the criminal justice system so that it no longer substitutes for meaningful responses to the effects of social inequality.
Eduardo Juarez – Eduardo is a Senior Trial Attorney with the San Antonio Field Office of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission where he litigates individual, class and systemic lawsuits under the federal civil rights statutes prohibiting employment discrimination. In August 2011, he worked on detail as Special Assistant to EEOC Commissioner Chai Feldblum, the first out lesbian EEOC Commissioner. Before his employment with the EEOC, Mr. Juarez was a Trial Attorney with the Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia and began his legal career as an Associate with the law firm of Sidley & Austin in Chicago, Illinois. Eduardo received his B.A. from the University of Notre Dame and his law degree from the University of Michigan. He is active in various LGBT political and professional organizations and is a past Chair of the LGBT Law Section for the State Bar of Texas.
Debra Murphy- Debra Murphy is an attorney in the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), Office of Justice Programs (OJP), Office for Civil Rights (OCR). The OCR reviews recipients of DOJ’s financial assistance to ensure that they are complying with applicable civil rights laws, and investigates complaints of discrimination from individual program beneficiaries and employees. One of the civil rights provisions that the OCR enforces is the nondiscrimination grant condition in the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013 (VAWA), which prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, disability, sex, sexual orientation, and gender identity. Ms. Murphy chaired DOJ’s intra-agency working group that developed its Frequently Asked Questions about the VAWA nondiscrimination grant condition, and routinely conducts civil rights training for recipients of federal financial assistance from OJP and DOJ’s Office on Violence Against Women. Ms. Murphy worked at a domestic violence and sexual assault program in Illinois for approximately 10 years, and was the Coordinator of Sexual Assault Programs at the University of Illinois. She has a bachelors degree in social work and a masters degree in education from the University of Illinois, and a law degree from Duke University.
Aaron D. Schuham – Aaron serves as associate general counsel for the division. He leads a national practice group of attorneys that advises its client, the Office for Civil Rights (OCR), in its regulatory, policymaking, and law enforcement activities. OCR is responsible for enforcing several civil rights statutes, including Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act, which prohibit discrimination in HHS health and human services programs. OCR is also responsible for enforcing HIPAA. Previously, Mr. Schuham had several roles in the Civil Rights Division at the U.S. Department of Justice, including chief of the Policy and Strategy Section from 2013-2015; deputy chief in the Employment Litigation Section from 2010-2013 (where he reviewed investigations and lawsuits involving numerous forms of employment discrimination); and trial attorney in the Employment Litigation Section from 1997-2003. From 2003 to 2010, Mr. Schuham served as legislative director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, where he led a team of attorneys and policy professionals. In this role, he advocated before Congress, the Executive Branch, and state legislatures on a number of religious liberty and civil rights policy issues. He also led several national coalitions on these same issues.
Ma’ayan Anafi – Ma’ayan is a policy counsel at the National Center for Transgender Equality, and focuses on expanding federal nondiscrimination protections and challenging anti-transgender state legislation. Ma’ayan joined NCTE on a public interest fellowship after graduating from Harvard Law School in May 2015.
Flor Bermudez – Flor is the Director of the Detention Project at Transgender Law Center (TLC). Previously, Flor served as the Director of the Mental Health and Advocacy Project at Lawyers for Children, where she worked to ensure that children in foster care receive appropriate and necessary mental health services. At Lambda Legal, Flor served as the Youth in Out-of-Home Care Attorney and engaged in litigation to ensure adequate treatment and competent, sensitive, and informed services for at-risk LGBTQ youth. Flor also spent four years as founding executive director and staff attorney at Esperanza del Barrio, representing immigrant street vendor women in criminal proceedings, and served as a board member of Streetwise and Safe in New York City. From 2001-2003 Bermudez was a Skadden Public Interest Fellow staff attorney at Mothers on the Move and the Urban Justice Center where she brought affirmative litigation to improve housing conditions, defended group rent strikes and conducted education workshops on tenants’ rights, civil rights and immigration. Flor’s work has been recognized with several awards, including Northeastern University School of Law’s prestigious Daynard Public Interest Fellowship, and two “Best Attorney Under 40” awards from the National Hispanic Bar Association and the National LGBT Bar Association.
Nishan Bhaumik – Nishan Bhaumik is an Equal Justice Works Fellow focusing on the intersection of LGBTQ violence and immigration in minority communities. He provides direct representation to clients in New York City, affirmative impact litigation on local LGBTQ issues, and policy advocacy on a local, state, and national scale. At AVP, he works with coalition partners to focus on cutting-edge immigration relief for LGBT individuals. He regularly attends immigration legal clinics and provides technical legal assistance to local organizations. He has been published on the Violence Against Women Act, and has provided research for the 2015 White House Summit on Civil Rights and Equal Protection for Women. He is a member of the NYC LGBTQ Direct Services Roundtable, the NYC Asian Pacific Islander Anti-Violence Coalition, the Lawyer’s Committee Against Domestic Violence, and the NY Immigration Coalition. Before working at AVP, he was previously a Holley Law Fellow at the National LGBTQ Task Force where he coordinated responses to Hobby Lobby and Windsor. He is a 2015 graduate of CUNY School of Law, and a 2009 graduate of UC Davis in International Relations and Mandarin Chinese.
Sean Bland – Sean is an Associate with the National HIV/AIDS Initiative at the O’Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law at Georgetown University. Through the O’Neill Institute’s Ryan White Policy Project, Sean engages policymakers and stakeholders in support of sustaining and adapting the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program. Sean is the Principal Investigator of a project examining the impact of laws and policies on sex workers’ access to clinical care and social services. He also served as the lead author of a Blueprint for HIV Biomedical Prevention, examining the status of biomedical HIV prevention modalities for communities of color and assessing policy options that support uptake of these modalities.
Prior to joining the O’Neill Institute, Sean was a litigation associate at Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson LLP in New York and Washington DC. He also worked as a research associate at The Fenway Institute at Fenway Health, where he helped to coordinate research projects focused on social and behavioral factors affecting HIV transmission among gay and bisexual men and transgender individuals. Additionally, he has served as a law clerk with the United States Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions, the American Psychological Association, and Lambda Legal.
Molly Brennan – Molly is a Senior Attorney at Mental Health Advocacy Project (MHAP), a program of the Law Foundation of Silicon Valley, in San Jose, CA. MHAP provides free legal services to low-income individuals living with mental health or developmental disabilities in Santa Clara County. MHAP assists clients in the practice areas of housing, economic rights, and patients’ rights. Molly runs a Medical-Legal Partnership with the Valley Homeless Healthcare Program as part of the Silicon Valley Medical-Legal Partnership, which was awarded Outstanding MLP at the National MLP summit in 2017. Molly received her law degree from Santa Clara University, with an emphasis in Public Interest/Social Justice law. Molly also has her Masters in Social Work from Tulane University.
Kylar W. Broadus – Kylar is Senior Staff Attorney at Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund founded in 2003 whose mission is to end discrimination and achieve equality for transgender people, particularly those in our most vulnerable communities. TLDEF focuses on impact litigation to helps it’s transgender clients. He is formerly a tenured Business Law Professor at Lincoln University in Missouri and ran is own law practice in Missouri. He served as senior policy counsel at the National LGBTQ Task Force and director of the Transgender Civil Rights Project from 2013 to 2015. In 2012, Broadus made history as the first openly transgender person to testify before the U.S. Senate, speaking in support of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA). He has served on the National Black Justice Coalition Board, where he served as board chair from 2007 to 2010 and a board member for ten years. He founded the Trans People of Color Coalition on 2010 which is a national organization dedicated to the needs of trans people of color. He is a former member of the American Bar Association Civil Rights Division and a former three time serving SOGI Commissioiner. He is currently served on the board of the Freedoms for All Americans since 2016.
Tanya Broder – Tanya directs the state and local policy work at the National Immigration Law Center (NILC). She specializes in the laws and policies affecting access to health care, public benefits and education for low-income immigrants across the United States. She writes articles and policy analyses, provides technical assistance, co-counsels on litigation, and presents trainings to legal and social service providers, government agencies, legislative staff, and community-based organizations. Before joining NILC in 1996, Tanya worked as a policy analyst for the Northern California Coalition for Immigrant Rights and as a staff attorney for the Legal Aid Society of Alameda County in Oakland. She holds a juris doctor degree from Yale Law School.
Daniel Bruner – Daniel Bruner is the Senior Director of Policy at Whitman-Walker Health in Washington, DC, which specializes in HIV care and LGBT health and wellness. He joined Whitman-Walker in 1995, and served as Director of Legal Services from 2004 through 2014. Dan’s areas of expertise include disability, sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination law; access to health care; and public health law and policy. Prior to joining Whitman-Walker, Dan was a partner at the Washington, DC law firm of Spiegel & McDiarmid, and volunteered with Whitman-Walker, the Pennsylvania AIDS Law Project and Lambda Legal. Between 2000 and 2005, he taught seminars on AIDS and the Law and courses on Public Health Law at American University’s Washington College of Law. Dan has received awards from the LGBT Bar Association of DC and the Washington Council of Lawyers, and is a past Co-Chair of the DC Consortium of Legal Services Providers. He received his law degree (magna cum laude) and master’s degree in public policy from the University of Michigan. He is the author of the “Forward” in David W. Webber et al., AIDS AND THE LAW (4th ed. 2007), and has given many presentation on HIV and LGBT law.
Sasha Buchert – Sasha joins Transgender Law Center from Basic Rights Oregon, the state’s chief LGBT advocacy organization, where she was the Communications Manager, and most recently the Transgender Policy Organizer. She is a member of Basic Rights Oregon’s legal advisory group, where she has worked on a wide range of transgender policy issues, and is a member of the Transgender Justice Working Group, a group of community members driving transgender justice forward in the state. She is a board member of the LGBT Bar Association of Oregon, and is the current chair of the Oregon State Hospital Advisory Board, and is the first openly transgender person to be appointed to an Oregon state board. Sasha often presents “Know Your Rights” talks addressing LGBT legal rights and has hosted a community radio program focused on queer culture. She received her J.D. from Willamette University.
Joan M. Burda – Joan practices law in Lakewood, Ohio. She is the author of the award-winning Estate Planning for Same-Sex Couples, Third Edition (ABA 2015) and Gay, Lesbian and Transgender Clients: A Lawyer’s Guide (ABA 2008). She writes about LGBT legal issues for various online and print publications. Ms. Burda frequently speaks on LGBT legal issues at national and international conferences and workshops. Joan is an Adjunct Professor of Law at Case Western Reserve University School of Law where she teaches LGBT Legal Issues. She is also an adjunct faculty member in the Legal Studies Program at Ursuline College and teaches Contracts, Civil Procedure and Administrative Law. Joan graduated from Pepperdine University School of Law in beautiful Malibu and lives in Lakewood, Ohio with her spouse, Betsy. And a sidenote: during law school, Joan worked as a security officer (aka a “mouseifer”) at Disneyland.
Arli Christian – As State Policy Counsel Arli works with state advocates to modernize name change laws, state ID regulations, and birth certificate policies, and is dedicated to improving and expanding access to legal services for trans communities through NCTE’s Trans Legal Services Network. Arli is also a long-time volunteer at Name and Gender Change Clinics. Arli is an attorney admitted to practice in New York and D.C. and received a J.D. from American University Washington College of Law in 2013 and a B.A. from Wesleyan University in 2004. Arli currently serves on the Steering Committee of Trans Legal Advocates of Washington (TransLAW). Prior to law school Arli worked at an immigration law firm in San Francisco and a socially responsible investment organization in Maryland. Arli speaks English and Spanish and grew up in New York City.
Lisa Cisneros – Lisa directs California Rural Legal Assistance’s LGBT Program, a program dedicated to providing direct legal services and advocacy on behalf of rural, low-income LGBT communities in California. Lisa began practicing law in 2007. After graduating from UC Berkeley, Lisa led the launch of CRLA’s LGBT program when it began as a fellowship project with assistance from the National Center for Lesbian Rights and the Pride Law Fund. In 2010, Lisa became a judicial law clerk in the Northern District of California, and later became an associate at Lieff, Cabraser, Heimann & Bernstein, LLP. Lisa returned to CRLA in September 2014. Lisa’s past accomplishments include representing employees and injured consumers in individual discrimination cases, as well as large scale class actions and mass tort litigation, and representing civil and constitutional law professors as part of an amicus brief filed in connection with Hollingsworth v. Perry, as it was appealed before the Supreme Court. In 2010, Lisa co-authored with Cathy Sakimura, “Recognizing and Responding to the Needs of Low-Income Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Clients,” in the Clearinghouse Review Journal of Poverty Law and Policy. Lisa has presented at numerous conferences on the topic of legal services and civil rights for low-income LGBT people.
Currey Cook – Currey is the Director of the Youth in Out-of-Home Care Project and Counsel in the National Headquarters Office of Lambda Legal, the oldest and largest national legal organization committed to achieving full recognition of the civil rights of lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, transgender people and people with HIV.
Before joining Lambda Legal in 2013, Cook was the Co-Director of the Bronx office of The Children’s Law Center New York (CLCNY), a non-profit law firm representing children in custody, visitation, guardianship, domestic violence, paternity, and related child abuse and neglect proceedings in New York City Family Court, for three and a half years. While at CLCNY, Cook led the organizations efforts to work more effectively with LGBTQ clients and their families and represented the organization on a NYC Family Court committee dedicated to addressing LGBTQ issues.
Cook graduated from the University of Georgia with a B.A. in Journalism (Broadcast News) and was a radio reporter while in college. He received his law degree, cum laude, from Mercer University in 1994. He served as managing editor of the Mercer Law Review and Chief Justice of the Honor Court.
Connor Cory – Connor is a Skadden Legal Fellow at Whitman-Walker Health in Washington, DC. Connor represents young LGBT immigrants in applications for asylum, U and T visas, family petitions, and other immigration benefits. He also represents clients who have been discriminated against on the basis of their gender identity or sexual orientation and provides pro se assistance to trans folks looking to change their name and gender marker.
Abigail (Abbi) Coursolle – Abbi is a senior attorney in the Los Angeles office of the National Health Law Program. She provides technical assistance, advocate training, and litigation support on a range of issues, with a special focus on access to care for low income populations, Medicaid managed care, prescription drug access, behavioral health access, and children’s health issues. Before joining NHeLP, Abbi was the Greenberg Traurig Equal Justice Works staff attorney at the Western Center on Law & Poverty. At Western Center, she led a 58-county project to enforce safety net laws for low income Californians and worked to implement policy changes within administrative agencies in order to fully implement health programs for low income individuals not eligible for Medicaid. Abbi received a B.A. with honors in Chinese language and literature from Yale University, a J.D. with honors from the UCLA School of Law, and a Masters in Public Policy with honors from the UCLA School of Public Affairs.
Jon W. Davidson – Jon is the Legal Director and Eden/Rushing Chair at Lambda Legal, the country’s largest and oldest legal organization committed to achieving full recognition of the civil rights of lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, transgender people and those living with HIV. Based in the organization’s Western Regional Office, he is responsible for strategically guiding Lambda Legal’s legal work and supervising the organization’s attorneys, Legal Help Desk specialists, and legal assistants in all five of Lambda Legal’s offices.
Sam DePrimio – Sam is an Equal Justice Works AmeriCorps Law Fellow at Whitman-Walker Health in Washington, DC. His work focuses on eliminating barriers to employment for transgender residents of DC, Maryland, and Virginia. As part of this project, Sam co-runs Whitman Walker’s Name & Gender Change Clinic and helps people through the process of obtaining accurate identity documentation, from Court Orders to updating birth certificates and immigration documents. He also represents clients whose health insurance providers have denied them coverage for transition-related care. Prior to joining Whitman Walker, Sam was a J.D. Distinguished Fellow at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission Office of Federal Operations. He received his J.D. in 2016 from the American University Washington College of Law, where he was a Dean’s Merit Scholar and served as the Managing Editor of the Administrative Law Review. He is licensed to practice law in Maryland.
Breanna Diaz – Breanna is Legislative Counsel at the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), focusing on federal and state advocacy. She handles issues concerning LGBTQ youth, criminal justice, immigration, and co-authors HRC’s annual State Equality Index, which provides an annual summary of pro- and anti- LGBTQ legislation introduced and passed in all fifty states, then ranks them based on their overall legislative environment. Before joining HRC, Breanna obtained legal and policy experience on a wide range of issues during her tenures at The Equity Project, the U.S. Department of Labor, Civil RightsCenter, and Lambda Legal.
Ivan Espinoza-Madrigal – Iván is the Executive Director of Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Economic Justice. In a decade as a public interest lawyer, Iván has worked on a wide range of civil rights issues, including racial justice, immigrant rights, and LGBT/HIV equality. He was formerly at Lambda Legal, where he focused on LGBT/HIV issues. Previously, he handled MALDEF’s immigrants’ rights docket, including a challenge to Arizona’s immigration law, and a Supreme Court voting rights case. He also worked at Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson LLP, where he defended New Haven’s immigrant-friendly municipal ID against an attempt to dismantle the program. He graduated from the University of Pennsylvania and NYU School of Law.
James D. Esseks – James is Director of the ACLU Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender & HIV Project. He joined the Project as Litigation Director in 2001 and has been in his current position since 2010. James oversees litigation, legislative lobbying, policy advocacy, organizing, and public education around the country that aims to ensure equal treatment of LGBT people and people living with HIV. James was counsel in Obergefell v. Hodges, the case that won the freedom to marry nationwide. Previously, he represented Edie Windsor in the United States v. Windsor DOMA challenge; was counsel in Schroer v. Billington, where a federal court ruled that Title VII’s ban on sex discrimination covers transgender people; and was counsel in successful challenges to bans on adoption and foster parenting by lesbians and gay men in Florida, Arkansas, and Missouri. He has also worked extensively to ensure that claims of religious liberty are not used as an excuse to harm others, including LGBT people.
Prior to joining the ACLU, he was a partner at Vladeck, Waldman, Elias & Engelhard, P.C., in New York. He graduated from Yale College and Harvard Law School, where he was editor-in-chief of the Harvard Civil Rights-Civil Liberties Law Review. He clerked for U.S. Circuit Judge James R. Browning on the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals and U.S. District Court Judge Robert L. Carter in the Southern District of New York.
Mieko Failey – Mieko is a Supervising Attorney and Manager of the Domestic Violence Legal Advocacy Project at the Los Angeles LGBT Center’s Legal Services Department, managing the delivery of direct legal services to LGBTQ survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking. Mieko was awarded a Loyola Law School Public Interest Fellowship at the Los Angeles LGBT Center, where she provided and continues to provide direct legal services to LGBTQ youth survivors of dating violence, sexual violence, and hate violence. Mieko interned for The ACLU of Southern California’s LGBT Student Rights Project and The Center for Juvenile Law and Policy, advocating for those who were wrongfully convicted or unfairly sentenced as juveniles. Mieko received her Bachelors in Sociology with highest distinction from UC Berkeley and received her Juris Doctor from Loyola Law School with a Public Interest Concentration. Mieko currently serves on the Executive Board of the Los Angeles County Domestic Violence Council where she is Co-Chair of the LGBT DV Issues Committee. She has received awards from Loyola Law School, the Los Angeles Lesbian and Gay Lawyers Association, and The National LGBT Bar Association for her advocacy on behalf of the LGBTQ community.
Jill Gaulding – Over the last twenty-five years Jill has been, sequentially or concurrently, a cognitive scientist, teacher, lawyer, academic, and nonprofit leader. In June 2010, she co-founded Gender Justice, a nonprofit whose mission is to eliminate gender barriers. As head of Gender Justice’s litigation program, she has been honored to represent a number of clients bringing cutting-edge legal cases, including those promoting transgender individuals’ rights to equality at school, in the workplace, and in healthcare. Starting this fall, Jill will be enrolled in the Masters of Divinity program at Harvard University, where she hopes to continue developing new ways to think about the intersections between cognitive science, social justice, and theories of personal and societal change.
Morgan Givens – Morgan is a Program Officer at JDI’s Washington, D.C. office. He provides training and technical assistance to corrections agencies to support their implementation of the Prison Rape Elimination Act standards. Prior to joining JDI, Morgan was a police officer with the Washington, D.C., Metropolitan Police Department. He is a committed LGBT advocate and, as a member of a panel based at Appalachian State University, helps lead community discussions to promote and protect the rights of transgender people..
Virginia Goggin -Virginia is the Director of Legal Services at the New York City Anti-Violence Project (AVP), providing holistic legal representation to LGBTQ and HIV-affected survivors of violence. Virginia launched AVP’s legal program in November 2013. Prior to AVP, Virginia was a staff attorney at the New York Legal Assistant Group (NYLAG). While at NYLAG, she started the LGBT Law Project serving low-income LGBTQ community members with various legal issues ranging from family law, housing, immigration and wills. In 2015, she was awarded the Arthur S. Leonard Award for distinguished service on behalf of the LGBT community from the New York City Bar Association. Virginia graduated from New York Law School in 2008. She received the Hank Henry Judicial Fellowship from the LGBT Bar Association (LeGaL) in 2005 and was awarded the Joseph Solomon Public Service Fellowship in 2007.
Melissa Goodman – Melissa is the Audrey Irmas director of the LGBTQ, Gender and Reproductive Justice Project at the ACLU of Southern California. Melissa conducts legal and policy advocacy concerning LGBTQ rights, reproductive rights, gender equality, and the rights of people with HIV. Melissa’s cases include McKibben v. McMahon, a class action case challenging discriminatory treatment of gay, bisexual and transgender prisoners in San Bernardino County; ACLU of Northern California v. Burwell, a case challenging the federal government allowing federal contractors to deny reproductive health care services to unaccompanied immigrant minors dependent on the federal government for care; and American Academy of Pediatrics v. Clovis Unified School District, a case that successfully challenged medically inaccurate, non-comprehensive and biased sex education. She leads the ACLU SoCal’s advocacy to end discrimination against women directors, to protect the rights of transgender students and adults, to expand access to quality and confidential reproductive healthcare, to increase protections for working parents, to end bias and over-policing and over-incarceration of LGBTQ people and to improve health care for incarcerated women. Prior to joining the ACLU of Southern California Melissa worked at the New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU), where she directed the organization’s LGBT and reproductive rights work, and for six years as a staff attorney at the ACLU’s National Security Project, where she litigated cases concerning surveillance, excessive government secrecy, torture and detention, and the freedoms of speech and association.
Demoya Gordon – Demoya is a Staff and Transgender Rights Project Attorney for Lambda Legal, the oldest and largest national legal organization committed to achieving full recognition of the civil rights of lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, transgender people and people with HIV. Demoya brings to her work an intersectional focus aimed at addressing how discriminatory laws, policies, and systems uniquely and disproportionately affect LGBT people of color, LGBT immigrants, and low-income LGBT communities. Demoya is currently representing transgender people across the country on a wide range of issues, including denial of transition-related healthcare, unjust treatment by law enforcement, failure to protect from sexual and physical abuse in prison, and denial of equal access to bathrooms. After migrating to the U.S. from Jamaica, Demoya received her undergraduate degree magna cum laude from Macalester College and her law degree from the University of California, Berkeley. The National LGBT Bar Association named Demoya one of 2014’s Best LGBT Attorneys Under 40.
Omar Gonzalez-Pagan – Omar is a Staff Attorney in the New York Office of Lambda Legal, the oldest and largest national legal organization committed to achieving full recognition of the civil rights of lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, transgender people and people living with HIV. His work spans all aspects of Lambda Legal’s impact litigation, policy advocacy and public education efforts. As a member of the legal team in the landmark case Obergefell v. Hodges, Gonzalez-Pagan helped secure marriage equality at the U.S. Supreme Court. He is also lead counsel in Conde-Vidal v. Rius-Armendariz, the successful challenge to Puerto Rico’s marriage ban, and Smith v. Avanti, a federal housing discrimination case against a Colorado property owner and landlord who refused to rent a dwelling to a same-sex couple, one of whom is transgender, and their children on account of their gender, sexual orientation, and gender identity. Prior to joining Lambda Legal, Gonzalez-Pagan worked for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts as an Assistant Attorney General, Special Assistant District Attorney, and Associate General Counsel to the Inspector General. He is a graduate of Cornell University and University of Pennsylvania Law School. Gonzalez-Pagan was born and raised in San Juan, Puerto Rico. He is fluent in Spanish.
Sharra E. Greer – Sharra joined Children’s Law Center as its first policy director in 2008, shaping a program that takes lessons we learn from representing individual clients to advocate for city-wide changes that better serve the District’s vulnerable children. She brings with her extensive policy experience. Previously, Sharra developed the policy department at Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, where she created and supervised that department, and supervised the group’s successful legal services and impact litigation efforts. She also was a staff attorney with the National Veterans Legal Services Program, where she worked on cases before the Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims and represented plaintiffs’ in two class action suits through NVLSP’s Agent Orange Resource Center. Sharra began her legal services work while at Rutgers Law School, when she worked at Camden Regional Legal Services, and was an associate with the firm of Weissman & Mintz.
Sharita Gruberg – Sharita is the Associate Director of the LGBT Research and Communications Project at American Progress where she works on expanding nondiscrimination protections for LGBT people and researches the impact of immigration policies on LGBT immigrants.
Prior to joining American Progress, Sharita completed a fellowship with the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, where she wrote and submitted refugee resettlement requests to safe third countries and liaised with congressional offices on refugee resettlement cases. She has also worked for the Women’s Refugee Commission and as a law clerk for the American Bar Association Commission on Immigration, where she provided support to immigration detainees in removal proceedings, including LGBT asylum seekers, and filed complaints on detention conditions with the Department of Homeland Security.
Sharita earned her J.D. from the Georgetown University Law Center, where she was a public interest law scholar and the writing program director for the Georgetown Journal on Poverty Law and Policy, and she also received the Refugees and Humanitarian Emergencies Certificate from the Institute for the Study of International Migration.
Tyrone Hanley- Tyrone serves as Policy Counsel at the National Center for Lesbian Rights. In this role, he supports NCLR’s federal policy initiatives, with a focus on criminal justice reform, economic justice, and HIV/AIDS. Prior to attending the University of the District of Columbia’s David A. Clarke School of Law, Tyrone worked as the HIV Prevention Manager at SMYAL, a DC-area LGBTQ youth organization. He has also served as the Gender Public Advocacy Center’s Youth Program Coordinator and as an Americorps/National AIDS Fund volunteer at HIPS, a DC-based harm reduction organization for sex workers and drug users.
Laura Hoch – Laura works on both federal and state policy issues, including the Jury ACCESS Act, Transgender Military Advocacy and the elimination of the so-called gay and trans “panic” defenses. She also handles the LGBT Bar’s communications work, including all of their social media accounts. Prior to joining The Bar in 2013, Laura interned in an LGBT policy organization, focusing on federal immigration reform and has served as a Congressional intern for a United States Senator.
Laura is a graduate of the State University of New York College at Oneonta, where she studied Political Science and Spanish. She holds a Master of Public Administration with a concentration in lobbying and advocacy from American University’s School of Public Affairs.
Denise Hunter – Denise is a Staff Attorney at Whitman-Walker Health in Washington, DC, a holistic health center and the nation’s oldest medical-legal partnership, dedicated to queer and HIV health and offering transgender, primary and HIV healthcare. Denise provides direct representation and pro bono mentorship and training on immigration matters for LGBT and HIV-positive individuals. She also assists with employment discrimination matters, issues in access to healthcare, and helping transgender clients file name change petitions and updating identification documents. Prior to joining Whitman-Walker, Denise provided direct immigration representation on a wide variety of matters at the non-profits Ayuda and Hogar Immigrant Services, Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Arlington. She has also volunteered and interned at Amnesty International of Poland, World Organization for Human Rights USA, GW International Human Rights Clinic, Capital Area Immigrants’ Rights Coalition, and Human Rights First. Denise received her JD from The George Washington University Law School and attended the International Human Rights Law program at Oxford University.
John Knight – John is a Senior Staff Attorney for the ACLU’s national LGBT & HIV Project who is based in Chicago. He directs litigation — primarily in Midwest states — designed to confront bias and discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender persons and those affected by HIV. He has represented a number of transgender people in seeking the right to transition-related medical care–through public and private employer-sponsored health insurance plans and while in prison and has been counsel in several cases involving transgender persons’ ability to obtain accurate driver licenses and birth certificates. Knight also drafts and comments on laws and regulations that affect the LGBT and HIV communities, assists with the ACLU’s lobbying efforts, and works to expand public support and understanding of LGBT people and people affected by HIV. He is a graduate of the University of Chicago Law School.
James G. Leipold – Jim is the Executive Director of the National Association for Law Placement (NALP), a position he has held since 2004. Prior to joining NALP, he worked at the Law School Admission Council (LSAC) for five and a half years. Prior to joining LSAC in 1998, he was the director of admission at Temple University School of Law, where he was also an instructor in legal writing and research. He is a magna cum laude graduate of Brown University and Temple University School of Law. He is one of the leading experts on the entry-level legal employment market and speaks and writes frequently on trends in legal employment for recent law school graduates.
Dru Levasseur – Dru is Senior Attorney and Director of the Transgender Rights Project for Lambda Legal, the oldest and largest national legal organization committed to achieving full recognition of the civil rights of lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, transgender people and people with HIV. Levasseur leads Lambda Legal’s transgender rights work, now the largest area of its litigation docket, through strategy development, impact litigation, advocacy, and education. For the past ten years he has helped run the nonprofit he co-founded, the Jim Collins Foundation, which funds gender-affirming surgeries for transgender people in need. He serves as a professional mentor for emerging transgender leaders in the legal field and beyond. Prior to joining Lambda Legal, Levasseur was the first staff attorney for Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund and served for two years as law clerk to 12 Justices of the Massachusetts Superior Court. He received his bachelor’s degree magna cum laude in Women, Sexuality and Gender Studies from the University of Massachusetts, and his law degree from Western New England University School of Law. He is member of the New York Bar.
Jennifer L. Levi – Jennifer is the director of GLAD’s Transgender Rights Project and a nationally recognized expert and author on transgender legal issues. She has served as counsel in a number of precedent-setting cases establishing basic rights for transgender people, including: O’Donnabhain v. Commissioner of Internal Revenue; Doe v. Yunits; and Adams v. Bureau of Prisons, among many others. She also has worked on a number of high profile family law.
Jennifer is a law professor at Western New England University. She serves on the Legal Committee of the World Professional Association for Transgender Health, and is a founding member of both the Transgender Law & Policy Institute and the Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition. She is a graduate of Wellesley College and the University of Chicago Law School and a former law clerk to Judge Michael Boudin at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit.
Karen Loewy – Karen is Counsel and Seniors Strategist for Lambda Legal. Ms. Loewy is involved in all aspects of Lambda Legal’s impact litigation, policy advocacy and public education, with particular emphasis on issues affecting LGBT and HIV-positive seniors.
Ms. Loewy is working to develop and expand Lambda Legal’s work addressing the legal needs of LGBT and HIV-affected older adults. She works collaboratively with local and national aging organizations to advance policies that protect the rights of the LGBT and HIV-positive aging community. She speaks publicly on LGBT and HIV aging issues in areas that include life planning, access to health care, and housing.
Previously, Ms. Loewy was a Senior Staff Attorney with GLAD, where she engaged in LGBT impact litigation and policy work throughout New England for over a decade. Her work spanned a wide range of matters on GLAD’s docket, from establishing precedents under antidiscrimination laws to addressing harassment in schools; from navigating inequalities for LGBT parents to challenging unequal access to health care for transgender people and people living with HIV.
She received her J.D. from Fordham University School of Law, where she was a Stein Scholar for Public Interest Law and Ethics, and her B.A. from Brandeis University.
Nancy Marcus – Nancy is the Senior Law and Policy Adviser for Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund, the oldest and largest national legal organization committed to achieving full recognition of the civil rights of LGBT people and everyone living with HIV. She is also a co-founder of BiLaw, the first national organization for bisexual legal professionals and their allies. Marcus is a former constitutional law professor, legal aid lawyer, constitutional attorney, and state supreme court judicial law clerk. Her work has also included policy work in Washington, D.C. for the Alliance for Justice, ATLA, and the National Abortion Federation. Her past volunteer LGBT-rights work has included serving on the board of directors for the LGBT Bar Foundation and for other LGBT-rights and AIDS task forces, and chairing the ABA’s Civil Rights Litigation LGBT Subcommittee. Marcus received her J.D. from Case Western Reserve School of Law in 1997, and LL.M. and S.J.D. from the University of Wisconsin Law School in 2005 and 2006, respectively. She is the author of numerous law review articles that have been multiply cited, as well as other publications. Her legal scholarship has focused on LGBT rights, racial justice, and bisexual jurisprudence and erasure.
Robin Maril – Robin serves as associate legal director at the Human Rights Campaign. Her work focuses on federal programs and administrative policies that impact the LGBTQ community.
Prior to joining HRC, Maril served as a Presidential Management Fellow at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development in Washington, D.C. While at HUD, Maril worked on Section 8 voucher policy development, specifically focused on deconcentrating poverty and increasing mobility for voucher holders. Also at HUD, Maril worked as a regulatory attorney in the Legislation and Regulation Division of the Office of the General Counsel, where she drafted the 2010 HUD implementing rule for the Violence Against Women Act conforming amendments. Maril graduated with her bachelor’s degree in women’s studies summa cum laude from the University of Oklahoma, where she was also selected for Phi Beta Kappa. Maril received her law degree from Temple University’s Beasley School of Law, where she was named a Rubin Public Interest Law Fellow.
Denise Miller – Denise is a Senior Attorney at Health Legal Services (HLS) and Mental Health Advocacy Project (MHAP), programs of the Law Foundation of Silicon Valley, in San Jose, CA. HLS provides free legal services to low-income individuals living with HIV or AIDS in Santa Clara County. HLS assists over 300 clients each year in the practice areas of confidentiality, consumer protection, disability rights, discrimination, housing, employment, estate planning, and public/private health and income benefits. HLS also provides outreach and training to people living with HIV, as well as healthcare providers, social workers and the legal community. Denise received her law degree from Santa Clara University, with an emphasis in Public Interest/Social Justice law.
Shannon Minter – Shannon is the Legal Director at the National Center for Lesbian Rights. He has litigated a wide range of cases that have significantly impacted the LGBT community, including in the areas of family law, healthcare, marriage equality, transgender rights, First Amendment, employment, and efforts to ban conversion therapy. Minter is a nationally and internationally-recognized expert on LGBT legal issues. In 2009, he was named a California Lawyer of the Year by California Lawyer. In 2008, he was named among six Lawyers of the Year by Lawyers USA and among California’s Top 100 Lawyers by the legal publication The Daily Journal. He also received the 2008 Dan Bradley Award from the National Gay and Lesbian Bar Association for outstanding work in marriage cases and was the recipient of the Cornell Law School Exemplary Public Service Award. In 2005, Minter was one of 18 people to receive the Ford Foundation’s “Leadership for a Changing World” award. He currently serves on President Obama’s Commission on White House Fellows. Minter has traveled to El Salvador and Russia to work with LGBT advocates in those countries.
Terrance Moore – Terrance is the Deputy Executive Director at the National Alliance of State and Territorial AIDS Directors (NASTAD). NASTAD is a non-profit national association of state HIV and viral hepatitis directors who have programmatic responsibility for administering HIV and viral hepatitis health care, prevention, education, and supportive services funded by state and federal governments. Mr. Moore manages member technical assistance activities and policy development, and oversees the organization’s domestic programs portfolios: Policy, Health Care Access, HIV Prevention, Health Systems Integration, Hepatitis, and Health Equity. Prior to his current role, Moore was the driving force behind the expansion of NASTAD’s gay men’s portfolio as the Director of the Policy and Legislative Affair/Health Equity teams. Mr. Moore participates in policy development and federal advocacy on appropriations related to domestic HIV in support of health department HIV and hepatitis programs. Mr. Moore is involved in a number of national coalitions including the American Bar Association’s AIDS Steering Committee. Mr. Moore also worked for the National Prison Project of the American Civil Liberties Union and served as a legislative aide for Senators Charles Schumer (D-NY) and Christopher Dodd (D-CT). He is a graduate of Howard University and native of Chicago, Illinois.
Aaron C. Morris – Aaron is Immigration Equality’s Executive Director. Prior to becoming ED, Aaron led the organization’s law and policy programs. He has supervised Immigration Equality’s legal services, impact litigation, policy advocacy, and lobbying efforts. During his nine years with Immigration Equality, Aaron has built close relationships with members of Congress, with top government agents at the State Department and the Department of Homeland Security, and with the White House. As a national leader in LGBTQ immigration law, Aaron was invited in 2015 to provide oral arguments as amicus counsel before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in Godoy-Ramirez v. Holder. As an expert in immigration policy, Aaron spoke in 2016 at a press conference with Congress Members Becerra, Chu, Grijalva, Honda, and Lee to explain the importance of the Reuniting Families Act, a bill Aaron helped to draft. The bill provides family recognition for LGBTQ refugees and other immigrants who have no access to marriage equality. In addition to his work as an advocate in the United States, Aaron has traveled internationally, including to Russia and Jamaica, to speak about LGBTQ human rights at the invitation of local activists. Aaron is a graduate of the American University’s Washington College of Law and the University of Oklahoma. Before joining Immigration Equality, he was an immigration staff attorney in the Office of Legal Affairs of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. Aaron is a member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association, the New York City Bar Association, and the LGBT Bar Association. In 2014, he was named by the LGBT Bar Association as one of the Best LGBT Lawyers Under 40.
Amy Nelson – Amy is the Director of Legal Services at Whitman-Walker Health (WWH) in Washington, DC, a holistic health center and the oldest medical-legal partnership (since 1986!) offering transgender, primary and HIV healthcare; mental health and addiction services; dental care; medical case management; HIV testing and prevention; and legal services; WWH serves DC’s queer community and all living with HIV regardless of income. In 2015, WWH served 1,000 trans medical patients and 500 trans legal clients with fighting discrimination in employment and healthcare; securing public benefits and disability income; immigration relief; medical privacy; and name and gender marker changes. In 2014, Amy was recognized as a “Shero of the Movement” by the DC Mayor’s Office of LGBTQ Affairs, and honored with Capital TransPride’s Engendered Spirit award. She graduated from Texas A&M University and George Washington University School of Law. Amy is a member of the DC, Maryland, and New York Bars.
Isa Noyola – Isa is a translatina activist, a national leader in LGBT immigrant rights movement, and the director of programs at Transgender Law Center. She works extensively for the release of transgender women from ICE detention and an end to all deportations. She is a part of the #Not1more campaign team and sits on the advisory boards of TAJA coalition, El/La para Translatinas , and Familia:Trans, Queer Liberation movement. She has organized the first ever national trans anti-violence convening that brought together over 100 activists, mostly trans women of color, to address the epidemic of violence trans communities are facing. Isa is passionate about building the leadership of transgender communities, especially TWOC who experience high levels of discrimination and violence. She is leading programmatic strategies to help build a leadership pipeline through the creation of trainings & leadership gatherings to share advocacy tools and strategies. Isa believes that a stronger and more vibrant transgender community is possible when we abolish oppressive systems that criminalize all of our communities especially trans and queer communities of color.
Zack Paakonen – Zack is the Director of the Family Law Institute, a joint project of the National LGBT Bar and NCLR, and is the managing partner at Portland Legal, LLC in Portland, Maine. His firm handles legal issues for the LGBTQ and allied community in Maine in family law, discrimination, and work with the foster care system. Before re-entering private practice, Zack was a staff attorney at Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders. Zack is a 2005 graduate of Cornell Law School. He currently serves on the board of Equality Maine and is a board adviser to Trans Youth Equality Foundation.
Xavier Persad – Xavier serves as legislative counsel at the Human Rights Campaign. His focus includes state and municipal advocacy as well as conversion therapy related legislation. Xavier serves HRC’s Project One America as well as the legal department’s annual Municipal Equality Index publication.
Xavier earned a Bachelor of Social Work from the University of Central Florida. He obtained his law degree from Florida A&M University College of Law. Xavier also holds a Master of Laws degree in Human Rights Law from the London School of Economics and Political Science. Before joining HRC, Xavier obtained legal and policy experience on a wide range of issues during his tenures at the U.S. House of Representatives, the Caribbean Court of Justice, and the Center for International Law and Justice at Florida A&M University College of Law. Xavier is admitted to the Florida Bar.
Jenny Pizer – Jenny is Senior Counsel and directs the Law & Policy Project for Lambda Legal, the country’s oldest and largest legal advocate for the LGBT movement. Jenny litigates to secure same-sex couples’ family relationships including with marriage; to obtain fair conditions for LGBT people in health care, employment and education; and to challenge the misuse of religion to discriminate. She also drafts legislation, advises policymakers, and works with community advocates to advance LGBT protections and to oppose overbroad religious exemptions. Jenny was lead counsel in Majors v. Jeanes, the successful federal case against Arizona’s ban on marriage for same-sex couples. She co-authored a series of amicus briefs explaining the threats to LGBT people of the religious challenges by Hobby Lobby and others to the ACA’s contraception coverage rule. In 2008, she won a unanimous California Supreme Court victory for a lesbian patient denied care due to her doctors’ discriminatory religious objections. From 2011 to 2012, Jenny served as Legal Director of the Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law. Before that, she directed Lambda Legal’s Marriage Project. She is a graduate of NYU School of Law and Harvard/Radcliffe College.
Carolyn Reyes – Carolyn is Youth Policy Counsel at the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR), where she coordinates the #BornPerfect campaign to end conversion therapy. She is a national expert on issues related to LGBT youth in out-of-home care who has spent over two decades working on behalf of marginalized children, youth and families in various capacities, including child welfare worker, children’s attorney, children and family therapist, and school counselor. Prior to joining NCLR, Carolyn served as Director of getREAL California, a multi-year initiative aimed at integrating sexual orientation and gender identity/expression-informed policy and practice into California’s child welfare system. Prior to that, Carolyn spent 9 years at Legal Services for Children, where in addition to representing children and youth in dependency, guardianship, immigration, and education matters, she coordinated two projects focused on improving services to and outcomes for LGBT youth in child welfare and juvenile justice systems. She has co-authored numerous publications related to LGBT youth in out-of-home care.
Carolyn received her J.D. from UC Hastings College of the Law, her M.S.W. from San Francisco State University, her M.A. in Theology (Religion & Society) from Pacific School of Religion, and her B.A. from Wheaton College (IL).
Ethan Rice – Ethan is the Fair Courts Project Attorney for Lambda Legal, the oldest and largest national legal organization committed to achieving full recognition of the rights of LGBT people and everyone living with HIV. The Fair Courts Project focuses its work on issues of judicial independence, judicial diversity, access to justice, and combating bias in the legal system.
Prior to coming to Lambda Legal, Ethan served as a staff attorney at the Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund (TLDEF). Before joining TLDEF, he was a child welfare attorney in Florida for four years. As a graduate fellow at FSU College of Law, Ethan researched and co-authored, Juvenile Life without Parole for Non-Homicide Offenses: Florida Compared to the Nation. The article was cited by the U.S. Supreme Court in Graham v. Florida in its decision finding sentences of life without parole for juveniles unconstitutional when imposed for non-homicide crimes.
Ethan received a B.A. in International Relations from Florida International University and his J.D. from Florida State University College of Law. He is licensed to practice law in New York and Florida.
Victoria Rodriguez-Roldan – Victoria is the Trans/Gender Non-Conforming Justice Project Director at the National LGBTQ Task Force. Particular areas of expertise and focus are the intersections of issues affecting transgender people with disabilities and mental illness, anti- trans workplace discrimination and gun violence prevention from a social justice lens. She has been in trans advocacy the entirety of her adult life, including advocacy in Puerto Rico and in Maine. She is the author of “Valuing Transgender Applicants and Employees”, a gold-standard best practices guide for employers, and frequently speaks on discrimination issues impacting the trans community. She was named the Autistic Self Advocacy Network’s 2016 Ally of the Year Award and has been profiled in NBC News and Latina Magazine, among other outlets. Prior to joining the Task Force, she worked as an Equal Opportunity Specialist for the U.S. Department of Labor’s Civil Rights Center. Victoria holds a B.A. in Psychology with honors from the University of Puerto Rico, and a J.D. from the University of Maine School of Law.
Terra Russell Slavin, Esq., – Terra is the Deputy Director of the Policy and Community Building at the Los Angeles LGBT Center where she is developing a leading LGBTQ policy department at the largest LGBTQ organization. In this capacity, Slavin oversees and works closely with the policy team on a range of issues advancing LGBTQ civil and human rights, which includes advocating on health, international, youth, seniors, and anti-violence related policy matters pertaining to the LGBTQ community. Prior to this position, Slavin was the Center’s Lead Staff Attorney where she was responsible for overseeing the delivery of comprehensive and holistic legal services for LGBTQ survivors of domestic and sexual violence. Slavin was a leader in the efforts to obtain the first ever non-discrimination provisions in federal law on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity in 2013 as part of the re-authorization of the Violence Against Women Act, and she is co-chairing the LGBTQ sub-committee for the 2018 re-authorization efforts. In 2015, Slavin received the Los Angeles County Betty Fisher Award for phenomenal leadership in the field of domestic violence. Slavin graduated from Northeastern University School of Law.
Richard Saenz – Richard is a Staff Attorney and the Criminal Justice and Police Misconduct program strategist at Lambda Legal, the oldest and largest national legal organization committed to achieving full recognition of the civil rights of lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, transgender people and those with HIV. His work spans all aspects of Lambda Legal’s impact litigation, policy advocacy and public education efforts. Richard established the HIV/LGBT Advocacy Project at Queens Legal Services, Legal Services-NYC, to serve low-income LGBT and HIV-affected New Yorkers. His legal advocacy has included challenging discriminatory treatment and policies of the New York City welfare agency, and representing victims of domestic violence and people with disabilities in court and administrative hearings. In addition to legal advocacy, Richard has presented at national conferences on criminalization of poverty and the intersectionality of race, poverty, and LGBT issues. Recently, he contributed to the groundbreaking report Poverty is an LGBT Issue: An Assessment of the Legal Needs of Low-Income LGBT People. In 2013, Richard was named as one of the National LGBT Bar Association’s Best LGBT Lawyers Under 40. Richard received his law degree from Fordham University School of Law. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Georgetown University.
Hema Sarang-Sieminski – Hema is a Senior Attorney at the Victim Rights Law Center and represents survivors of sexual assault, with a focus on immigrant and LGBTQ communities. Hema has worked with survivors of partner abuse and sexual violence for fifteen years in a variety of capacities including private immigration practice, community engagement in LGBTQ communities with The Network/La Red, and as a Staff Attorney at the Immigration Unit of Greater Boston Legal Services. She has presented locally and nationally on immigration options for immigrant and LGBTQ survivors to community groups, attorneys and service providers. Hema has dedicated her career to creating opportunities for wholeness and dignity for survivors and is committed to approaches to ending sexual violence that address and challenge the intersections of various forms of oppression including racism, sexism, homo-/bi-/trans- phobia, anti-immigrant sentiment and ableism. Hema is a member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association and the MA LGBTQ Bar Association. Hema received her BA from the University of Pennsylvania and her JD from Northeastern University School of Law.
Murray Scheel – Murray is a senior staff attorney at Whitman-Walker Health in Washington, DC, the nation’s oldest medical-legal partnership, dedicated to queer and HIV health. He focuses on legal services and policy initiatives to address the needs of elderly individuals who are trans, lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, or genderqueer or living with HIV/AIDS.
He came to Whitman-Walker Legal Services in 2013 from the firm of Karp, Wigodsky, Norwind, and Gold, where he served as a senior associate in civil litigation. Before private practice, he clerked for the Honorable Noël A. Kramer on the DC Superior Court and the Honorable Vanessa Ruiz on the DC Court of Appeals. During law school, he spent a summer internship with the National Lawyers Guild and the San Francisco Human Rights Commission developing draft protocols for the proper treatment of transgender prisoners in the local jails. Scheel graduated with honors from George Washington University Law School in 2003. He received his bachelor’s degree from Swarthmore College and master’s degree in social work from the University of Maryland. He is a member of the Maryland and District of Columbia Bar.
Scott A. Schoettes – Scott, who is openly HIV-positive, is the HIV Project Director at Lambda Legal. Schoettes litigates impact cases involving discriminatory denial of employment and services based on a person’s HIV status, as well as in the areas of HIV criminalization and access to care. He does a significant amount of amicus work on issues of import to people living with HIV, twice co-authoring amicus briefs in the U.S. Supreme Court’s review of the Affordable Care Act. On the policy side, Schoettes was the point-person for Lambda Legal’s work on the repeal of the HIV travel ban, works on the legislative reform of laws criminalizing conduct based on HIV status, and is a member of the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS, where he co-chairs the Disparities Committee. He has presented on various topics related to HIV discrimination at forums across the country, including the White House. Schoettes graduated magna cum laude from Georgetown Law and clerked for the Honorable J. Frederick Motz (U.S.D.C. Md.).
Matthew Skinner – Matthew is Executive Director of The LGBT Bar Association and Foundation of Greater New York (LeGaL), a bar association and related foundation dedicated to serving the local LGBT legal community and the public. In his role as Executive Director, Matt oversees and directs all of LeGaL’s events, communications, advocacy efforts, fundraising, and other activities. Prior to assuming his current position with LeGaL, Matt litigated at Proskauer Rose LLP and clerked for the Honorable Richard K. Eaton at the U.S. Court of International Trade. He graduated magna cum laude from Albany Law School and the University of Notre Dame. He was named to the 2015 class of the “Best LGBT Lawyers Under 40” by the National LGBT Bar Association.
Paul M. Smith – Paul joined the Campaign Legal Center as the Vice President of Litigation and Strategy in January 2017. Smith works directly with CLC’s talented team of litigators to protect and improve our democracy through innovative litigation strategies.
Smith has more than three decades of experience litigating a wide range of cases. He has argued before the U.S. Supreme Court 19 times and secured numerous victories, including in important cases advancing civil liberties. Two examples are Lawrence v. Texas, the landmark gay rights case, and Brown v. Entertainment Merchants Ass’n, which established First Amendment rights of those who produce and sell video games.
Krisztina Szabo – Krisztina is a Staff Attorney at Whitman-Walker Health, a holistic health center that specializes in HIV and LGBTQ health care and offers wrap-around legal services to achieve optimal health outcomes. Krisztina represents clients on a variety of legal issues, including access to healthcare and public benefits, such as SSI/SSDI, Medicaid, Medicare, TANF, Food Stamps, IDA, and other public assistance programs. Krisztina also facilitates transgender clients’ access to gender-affirming care through appealing insurance coverage denials, filing administrative complaints, and challenging discriminatory employee health benefits. In addition, Krisztina helps transgender clients with name and gender on their ID documents, and also offers representation in employment or public accommodation discrimination cases. Prior to joining WWH, Krisztina worked at Ayuda and at the National Immigrant Women’s Advocacy Project, where she assisted and advocated for immigrant survivors of violence. Krisztina received her law degree from Charleston School of Law and graduated with distinction from the American University Washington College of Law’s and Government LLM Program. She is a member of the Virginia and District of Columbia Bars.
Anne Tamar-Mattis – Anne is the founder and Legal Director of interACT, the first organization in the country focusing on legal advocacy for the civil and human rights of intersex children. She has served for many years as an organizer in the LGBTQI communities, and as adjunct faculty at UC Berkeley School of Law. Ms. Tamar-Mattis is in demand around the country as a speaker on topics relating to legal and ethical issues affecting children with intersex conditions, at UCSF Children’s Hospital, Yale Law School, and the Lawson Wilkins Pediatric Endocrine Society, to name a few. Her articles have been published in such venues as the Journal of Pediatric Endocrine and Metabolism, and the Berkeley Journal of Gender, Law & Justice.
Aaron Tax – Aaron is the Director of Federal Government Relations for SAGE, where he advocates for LGBT-inclusive federal aging policies that account for the unique needs of LGBT older adults.
Until June 2011, Aaron served as the Legal Director at Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN), the leading organization challenging “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (DADT) in Congress and in the courts. For nearly five years at SLDN, he took part in a multifaceted approach to advancing the civil rights of LGBT service members through law, policy, outreach, and education. As the Legal Director, Aaron was responsible for running the legal services program at SLDN.
Prior to joining SLDN, Aaron spent three years working for the Department of the Army in the Office of EEO and Civil Rights, the first two years as a Presidential Management Fellow (PMF). As a PMF, he worked for the Office of the Staff Judge Advocate, V Corps, Heidelberg, Germany, and served as a Special Assistant United States Attorney in the US Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia, where he tried more than two dozen cases. He is a graduate of Cornell University with honors and distinction and the George Washington University Law School with honors.
Paul Thaler – Paul is the Director of External Affairs for the National LGBT Bar Association. Paul fosters the relationships between The LGBT Bar and its members, leadership, and outside constituencies, including law schools, law firms, and corporations. He also develops programming that The LGBT Bar puts on for the benefit of its members and the LGBT and ally legal community. Paul received his J.D. from the University of Baltimore School of Law, where he graduated magna cum laude in 2012. While in law school, Paul worked for a civil litigation firm in Baltimore and externed for the Honorable Shirley M. Watts of the Court of Special Appeals of Maryland. After law school, Paul worked as an attorney for two litigation firms in the Baltimore area. Most recently, he was the Assistant Director of the Law Career Development Office at the University of Baltimore School of Law. Paul is an active member of the Maryland State Bar Association, in which he is the Vice-Chair and Secretary of the Legal Education & Admission to the Bar section. He is a 2016-2017 Fellow of the Maryland State Bar Association’s Leadership Academy.
Sarah Warbelow – Sarah is the Legal Director for the Human Rights Campaign, leading HRC’s team of lawyers and fellows focused on federal, state, and municipal policy. She also coordinates HRC’s advocacy efforts as amicus curiae (“friend of the court”) in litigation affecting the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer community. As part of her public education efforts on the laws, legislation, and policies affecting the LGBTQ community, Warbelow regularly appears on national television and contributes to medial outlets such as the New York Times, NPR, the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, and Time Magazine.
Warbelow joined the Human Rights Campaign in January 2008 as senior counsel for special projects and Justice for All fellow, then served as HRC’s State Legislative Director, from September 2009 to April 2014.Warbelow is also an affiliated professor at George Washington University and George Mason Law School, teaching courses on civil rights law and public policy. She received her master’s of public policy and law degree from the University of Michigan.
Shin-Ming Wong – Ming is the Supervising Helpline Attorney and coordinates poverty law work and legal aid partnerships at the National Center for Lesbian Rights, based in their San Francisco office. He has served on the Executive Committee of the San Francisco Bay Area chapter of the National Lawyers Guild and has been active with The United People of Color Caucus of the Guild. In 2015 he was named a Best LGBT Lawyer Under 40 by the National LGBT Bar Association. He graduated from UC Hastings in 2007 with a focus on Public Interest Law.
Keren Zwick – Keren is a managing attorney in NIJC’s litigation practice and oversees the LGBT Immigrant Rights Initiative. Keren co-chairs the committee of the American Immigration Lawyers’ Association (AILA) that acts as the liaison between government enforcement officials and private attorneys. She is also a key contributor to the Chicago LGBTQ Immigrant Rights Coalition. Keren has led or participated in federal litigation in seven different Circuit Courts and before the United States Supreme Court. Keren joined NIJC following two years of clerking for the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit. While Keren was a law student at Columbia Law School, she successfully represented clients in the Sexuality & Gender Law Clinic in both immigration and civil rights matters. Before law school, Keren attended the University of Chicago and worked as NIJC’s asylum project coordinator. Keren is licensed to practice law in Illinois.
William Berman – Prof. Berman is a Clinical Professor of Law at Suffolk University Law School. Professor Berman is the Director of Suffolk’s Housing Discrimination Testing Program, which works to eliminate housing discrimination through testing, enforcement, education, policy and academic study. Professor Berman teaches a course on fair housing and is a frequent speaker on this topic. Professor Berman is also the Managing Attorney of Suffolk’s Accelerator Practice, a clinical program designed to teach students a replicable business model for the creation of sustainable community-based law firms that serve low and moderate income individuals in the justice gap. Professor Berman has over 30 years of litigation experience. He is a graduate of Union College and Boston University School of Law.
Todd Brower – Todd is the Judicial Education Director for the Williams Institute on Sexual Orientation Law and Public Policy at UCLA School of Law. He is a professor of Constitutional Law at Western State College of Law in California, and is the Director of the Institute for Global Law and Policy there. He has an LL.M from Yale Law School, a J.D. from Stanford Law School, an A.B. from Princeton University, and was a Fulbright scholar in France. Professor Brower served on the California Judicial Council – Access and Fairness Advisory Committee and is the author of various law review articles, research studies and publications on the treatment of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered persons in the courts of the United Kingdom, California and New Jersey. He has worked with the courts of several nations in Europe and North and South America, with many US states and federal agencies on judicial education programs, and with international and national judicial organisations.
Leonore Carpenter – Prof. Carpenter is an Associate Professor of Law at Temple University’s Beasley School of Law in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Professor Carpenter teaches Legal Research and Writing, Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity and the Law, and Introduction to Public Interest Law. Her scholarship focuses on LGBT rights and on public interest lawyering. Prior to joining the Temple Law faculty on a full-time basis, Professor Carpenter served as Legal Director at Equality Advocates Pennsylvania, a public interest agency that provided direct legal services, education, and policy reform advocacy for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) Pennsylvanians. Professor Carpenter is a graduate of Temple Law, where she received the Beth Cross Award for commitment to underserved populations. Following graduation from law school, Professor Carpenter completed a clerkship with the Honorable Harold B. Wells, III of the New Jersey Superior Court, Appellate Division. In 2012, Professor Carpenter was named one of the 40 best LGBT lawyers under 40 by the National LGBT Bar Association.
David B. Cruz – David is a Professor of Law at the University of Southern California Gould School of Law, where he teaches a variety of courses in and researches and writes about constitutional law, federal courts, and sex, gender identity, and sexual orientation law. Before joining the USC law faculty he clerked for the now late Hon. Edward R. Becker, Circuit Judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, and then served as a Bristow Fellow in the Office of the Solicitor General in the Department of Justice. He is a member of the board of directors of the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California and of the Equality California Institute; a co-president of the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex Law Association (ILGLaw); a member of the faculty advisory committee of the Williams Institute; a former member of the board of directors and a former General Counsel of the national American Civil Liberties Union; and a past chair of the Association of American Law School’s Section on Sexual Orientation and Gender identity Issues. He received his J.D. summa cum laude from the NYU School of Law; an M.S. in Mathematics from Stanford University, where he studied logic; and a B.S. in Mathematics, summa cum laude, and a B.S. in Drama, summa cum laude, from the University of California, Irvine. He occasionally blogs at CruzLines.org and tweets @ProfDavidCruz.
Professor William N. Eskridge, Jr. – John A. Garver Professor of Jurisprudence at Yale Law School – Prof. Eskridge’s primary legal academic interest has been statutory interpretation. Together with Professor Philip Frickey, he developed an innovative casebook on Legislation. In 1990-95, Professor Eskridge represented a gay couple suing for recognition of their same-sex marriage. Since then, he has published a field-establishing casebook, three monographs, and dozens of law review articles articulating a legal and political framework for proper state treatment of sexual and gender minorities.
Professor Emeritus Julie Greenberg – Prof. Greenberg is an internationally recognized expert on the legal issues relating to gender, sex, sexual identity and sexual orientation. Her path-breaking work on gender identity has been cited by a number of state and federal courts, as well as courts in other countries. Her work has been quoted in hundreds of books and articles and she has been invited to speak at dozens of national and international conferences on the subject. Her book, Intersexuality and the Law: Why Sex Matters provides an invaluable description, analysis, and critique of how people with an intersex condition are treated under existing legal regimes and was the recipient of the 2013 Bullough Book award for the most distinguished book written for the professional sexological community.
Professor Greenberg joined the Thomas Jefferson Law School faculty in 1990 and was the Associate Dean for Faculty Development from 2003-2005. She serves on a number of nonprofit organizations’ boards of directors and has also been involved in a variety of community service projects relating to the rights of women and sexual minorities. Professor Greenberg’s work on behalf of LGBTI rights was recognized by the Tom Homann Association in 2006 when it presented her with the “Friend of the Community” award. She also was voted by her peers as one of San Diego’s Top Attorneys in Academics for 2006, 2008, 2009, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, and 2015.
Lisa C. Ikemoto – Martin Luther King, Jr. Professor of Law, University of California-Davis School of Law – Lisa is a legal scholar whose work is grounded in her community commitments. Her primary research areas include reproductive justice, health care inequality, and emerging biotechnology use. She uses critical race feminism and interdisciplinary approaches to surface the ways in which race, gender/identify, heteronormativity and immigration status shape technology use and health care delivery. She has written about court-ordered cesareans, involuntary sterilization, effects of Catholic – non-Catholic hospital mergers on women’s health care, race and gender disparities in health care, the impact of the Affordable Care Act’s exclusion of abortion coverage on women of color, the fertility market’s dependence on inequality, CRISPR genetic modification technology, and emerging markets in human cells and tissues. Within the academy, she has worked on a number of diversity initiatives at the Association of American Law Schools, Society of American Law Teachers, and Law School Admissions Council. Her broader community commitments as advisor or board member include Center for Genetics and Society, Forward Together, Guttmacher Institute, If/When/How, and ProChoice Alliance for Responsible Research.
Pamela S. Karlan – Prof. Karlan is the Kenneth and Harle Montgomery Professor of Public Interest Law and co-director of the Supreme Court Litigation Clinic at Stanford Law School. Karlan received her B.A., M.A., and J.D. from Yale and clerked for Judge Abraham D. Sofaer of Southern District of New York and Justice Harry A. Blackmun. She served as an assistant counsel at the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, specializing in voting rights and employment discrimination, and on the California Fair Political Practices Commission. Most recently, she served as a Deputy Assistant Attorney General in the Civil Rights Division of the United States Department of Justice, where she oversaw the Division’s voting rights and employment discrimination litigation. There, she received the Attorney General’s Award for Exceptional Service as part of the team responsible for implementing United States v. Windsor and the John Marshall Award for Providing Legal Advice as part of the team responsible for guiding the Department to its new position regarding Title VII and gender identity. Karlan is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Academy of Appellate Lawyers, and the American Law Institute.
Jamie Langowski – Jamie is a Clinical Fellow and Assistant Director of Suffolk University Law School’s Housing Discrimination Testing Program. She has five years of experience in coordinating fair housing tests and providing fair housing trainings. She co-developed and co-taught an experiential fair housing law course and she recently coauthored a study that measured the level of discrimination against transgender and gender non-conforming people in the Metro Boston rental market. Prior to coming to Suffolk, Attorney Langowski clerked for a Boston civil rights attorney and served as Director of Policy and Communications for an At-Large Boston City Councillor where she worked on a wide range of issues with a focus on the environment and education. She is a graduate of Northeastern University School of Law.
Chien-yu Liu – Chien-yu is an S.J.D. candidate from Taiwan. Chien-yu graduated from New York University (NYU) School of Law with an LL.M. in International Legal Studies and received an LL.B. in Financial and Economic Law from National Taiwan University. While at NYU, Chien-yu completed a master’s thesis on international environmental law and conducted directed research on international humanitarian law. In summer 2008, Chien-yu was awarded the NYU School of Law Institute for International Law and Justice (IILJ) and Center for Human Rights and Global Justice (CHRGJ) Fellowship and interned at the United Nations International Law Commission (UNILC) in Geneva, Switzerland.
Tangela Roberts – Tangela is a 5th year PhD student in the counseling psychology program at the University of Massachusetts Boston. She is also a current clinical intern at the University of Maryland’s counseling center. Tangela’s research tends to focus on the experience of individuals whose identities lie at the intersection of race, ethnicity, and sexual orientation while aiming at developing a better understanding of critical theories and focusing on intersectional identities, resilience and community support. Prior research projects include the impact of monosexism on the sexual orientation identity development process of bisexual identified persons; the role of community support on mental health for bisexual people of color, African-American & Latino gay family networks & HIV prevention, and the implementation of a sexual ethics curriculum for adolescents at a predominately Black and Latino high school. After completing the PhD, she plans to pursue an academic career and impact the field by placing the issues pertinent to queer people of color at the forefront of her teaching, scholarship, and activism.
Adam Romero – Adam is Legal Scholarship and Federal Policy Director, Arnold D. Kassoy Scholar of Law. Previously, Romero was a senior associate at the law firm WilmerHale, where he was a member of the Intellectual Property Litigation and Appellate and Supreme Court Litigation Groups. He successfully represented the plaintiffs in Cooper-Harris v. USA, the first case in the nation to declare unconstitutional laws barring the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriages in the veterans-benefits context.
Romero completed clerkships for the Honorable M. Margaret McKeown of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, and for the Honorable Shira A. Scheindlin of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York. He received his law degree in 2007 from Yale Law School, where he won the Kelley Prize and was a Coker Fellow, an editor of several law journals, and a student director of the Complex Federal Litigation Clinic. He received his undergraduate degree in 2002 from Cornell University, graduating summa cum laude and winning the Sherman-Bennett Prize. Romero has published in numerous volumes and journals and is the co-editor (with Martha Albertson Fineman and Jack E. Jackson) of Feminist and Queer Legal Theory: Intimate Encounters, Uncomfortable Conversations (2009). From 2007-2008, Romero was the Peter J. Cooper fellow at the Williams Institute. Prior to law school, he was a criminal defense investigator for the Bronx Defenders.
Carmel Shachar – Carmel joined the Harvard Law School Center for Health Law and Policy Innovation in September 2014. Carmel leads the Center¹s Affordable Care Act implementation, access to care, and Supreme Court projects. Prior to joining the Center for Health Law and Policy Innovation, Carmel was an associate in the health care group of Ropes & Gray LLP. She focused her practice in regulatory and compliance work, including advising client on topics such as data privacy and security, implementation of health care reform, and public payer billing and reimbursement. Carmel earned her J.D., cum laude, in 2010 from Harvard Law School and her M.P.H. in 2010 from the Harvard School of Public Health. She clerked for Judge Jacques L. Wiener, Jr. of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit from 2010-2011. Carmel is a licensed member of the bars of the State of New York and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
Scott Titshaw – Prof. Titshaw is the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and a professor of law at Mercer University School of Law in Macon, Georgia. He has written extensively on immigration law, comparative law, and legal issues concerning sexual minorities.
Dean Titshaw earned a B.A. from Georgetown University, a J.D., cum laude, from the University of Georgia School of Law, and an LL.M., magna cum laude, from the University Hamburg in Hamburg, Germany. During 2014-15, he was awarded a Fulbright-Schuman fellowship to research and write on comparative family-based migration and citizenship issues at the European University Institute (E.U.I.) in Florence, Italy, and at Leiden Law School’s campus in The Hague, The Netherlands.
Prior to joining the faculty at Mercer, Dean Titshaw was an adjunct professor at the University of Georgia School of Law and practiced immigration law for twelve years with Arnall Golden Gregory LLP in Atlanta, Georgia. He also clerked with U.S. District Court Judge Adrian Duplantier in New Orleans, Louisiana, served as a legal translator with Germany’s Federal Constitutional Court (Bundesverfassungsgericht) in Karlsruhe, Germany, and worked as a visiting foreign attorney with Roedl & Partner GbR in Nuremberg, Germany. He has served as Chair of the Georgia-Alabama Chapter of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) and as President of the Stonewall Bar Association of Georgia.
Verna L. Williams – Verna is the Special Assistant to the Provost for University of Cincinnati and Judge Joseph P. Kinneary Professor at the University of Cincinnati College of Law. A founder and co-director of the College’s Center for Race, Gender, and Social Justice , Professor Williams’s research examines the intersection of race, gender, and class in such areas as education law and policy. Prior to joining the faculty in 2001, Professor Williams was Vice President and Director of Educational Opportunities at the National Women’s Law Center, where she focused on issues of gender equity in education. In that capacity, Professor Williams was lead counsel and successfully argued before the United States Supreme Court Davis v. Monroe County Board of Education, which established that Title IX requires educational institutions to address known complaints of student-to-student sexual harassment. Professor Williams also practiced at the Department of Justice and with the firm of Sidley Austin LLP, and clerked for the Honorable David S. Nelson in the District of Massachusetts. She graduated cum laude from Harvard Law School and Georgetown University.
Hon. Christopher R. Bowen – Judge Bowen has served on the Superior Court of California, County of Contra Costa since December 2010, and he is currently Supervising Judge of the Family Law Division. Judge Bowen is a member of Bay Area Lawyers for Individual Freedom (BALIF), the National LGBT Bar Association, and the International Association of LGBT Judges. He speaks frequently on Family Law topics, including restraining orders.
Hon. Phyllis Randolph Frye – Judge Frye is an Eagle Scout, a former member of the Texas A&M Corps of Cadets, a US Army veteran (1LT-RA 1970-72), a licensed engineer, a licensed attorney, a father, a grandmother and a lesbian wife. She is the first, out, transgender judge in the nation. Now having lived almost sixty percent of her life as the woman she always felt herself
to be, Phyllis remains on the cutting edge of LGBTI and especially transgender legal and political issues. When the “gay” community was still ignoring or marginalizing the transgender community in the early 1990’s, Phyllis began the national transgender legal and political movement (thus she is known as being the TG movement’s “Grandmother”) with the six annual transgender law conferences (ICTLEP) and their grassroots training.
Attorney Frye is one of the Task Force’s 1995 “Creator of Change” award winners. In 1999 she was given the International Foundation for Gender Education’s “Virginia Prince Lifetime Achievement” award. In 2001 she was given the National LGBT Bar Association’s (a.k.a. Lavender Law’s) highest honor, the “Dan Bradley Award.” She was honored beginning in 2009 by Texas A&M University with an annual “Advocacy Award” given in her name. In 2013 the Houston Transgender Unity Committee gave her its “Lifetime Achievement Award.” In 2015 she was given the National Center for Transgender Equality’s “Julie Johnson Founders Award.” That same year, Phyllis was featured on the
front page (above the fold) of the Sunday Edition, August 30, New York Times, and she also became a Life Member of the National Eagle Scout Association.
In 2010 Phyllis was sworn-in as the first, out, transgender judge in the nation, as a City of Houston Associate Municipal Judge. She retains her senior partnership with Frye, Oaks and Benavidez, PLLC, (at www.liberatinglaw.com) which is an out LGBTI-and-straight-allies law firm. While the members of the firm practice law in a variety of areas, Phyllis devotes her practice exclusively to taking transgender clients — both adults and minors — through the Texas courts to change the clients’ names and genders on their legal documents.
Hon. Steven Kirkland – Judge Kirkland is currently Judge in the 334th Civil District Court of Harris County. He has previously served as Judge in the 215th Civil District Court and in the Houston Municipal Courts. His professional career includes representing the City of Houston, international oil companies and individual homeowners. Judge Kirkland is active in promoting recovery from drug and alcohol addiction, affordable housing, historic preservation, and LGBT rights. His affordable housing projects have been recognized with awards by the Greater Houston Preservation Alliance and he was awarded the 2006 Government Friend of the Homeless by Coalition for the Homeless of Houston and Harris County.
Hon. Victoria Kolakowski – Judge Victoria Kolakowski is the first openly transgender trial judge in the United States; she was elected to the Alameda County Superior Court in November 2010. Judge Kolakowski was an attorney for twenty-one years in Louisiana and California, serving as a sole practitioner, attorney in a small firm, as general counsel for a publicly traded company, as a senior government utility regulatory attorney, and as an administrative law judge for two different California agencies. Since coming out publicly in 1989, she has been a leader in numerous local, state and national LGBT legal, political and spiritual organizations. Her many accomplishments include co-authoring Berkeley, California’s domestic partner public registration ordinance in 1991 and co-chairing the board of directors of the Transgender Law Center, an organization focused on the well-being and protection of transgender individuals. In 2011, Judge Kolakowski served as a Community Grand Marshal for San Francisco Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Pride and was named by the Equality Forum as one of 31 international Icons for LGBT History Month. Last year, she received the first “Pioneer in the Law Award” from California Women Lawyers and was the honored guest at Transgender Equality Network Ireland’s reception at Dublin Pride.
Hon. Mark Scurti – Bio coming soon!
Hon. D. Zeke Zeidler – Judge Zeidler was elected to the bench of the Los Angeles County Superior Court in 2004. Prior to that, he served as a Superior Court Referee for over six years, presiding over cases that involved child abuse and neglect. Judge Zeidler has chaired the committee that creates anti-bias curriculum for judicial officers and court staff throughout California, and teaches new judge orientation and juvenile law courses for judicial officers in California. He has also presented nationally on diversity, child welfare, and LGBT domestic violence issues. Before taking the bench, Judge Zeidler was an attorney representing abused and neglected children. He has served as an officer in NLGLA (now the National LGBT Bar Association), was the co-chair of the NLGLA’s law student arm, and served three terms as President of the International Association of LGBT Judges. In addition to his legal involvements, Judge Zeidler has been very active on education issues. He was first elected to the Redondo Beach School Board in 1995, becoming only the tenth openly Gay or Lesbian school board member in the country, and he was overwhelmingly re-elected in 1999. Judge Zeidler resides in Los Angeles with his husband, attorney Jay Kohorn.
Alex Cooper – Alex is the co-author with Joanna Brooks of the memoir “Saving Alex,” which chronicles her experience with conversion therapy and her landmark legal battle to establish her legal right to live as an openly gay teen in St. George, Utah. Alex now lives in Portland, Oregon with her longtime girlfriend. She works for a non-profit organization and serves as a Youth Ambassador for the Human Rights Campaign.
Bendita Malakia – Bendita is a dynamic and highly sought after professional coach and diversity consultant with the Malakia Group. Bendita has a over a decade of professional coaching and diversity training experience, having coached and trained countless attorneys from newly barred and midlevel attorneys to partners and general counsel, and myriad other professionals. Prior to founding the Malakia Group, Bendita spent many years practicing international project finance law at Norton Rose Fulbright (formerly Fulbright & Jaworski LLP). Bendita also served as Counsel at International Finance Corporation (World Bank Group) and Vice President & Assistant General Counsel at Goldman Sachs.
Jim Obergefell – Jim is the named plaintiff in Obergefell v. Hodges, the landmark Supreme Court decision that brought marriage equality to the United States. After marrying John, his partner who was dying of ALS, they sued the state of Ohio to demand recognition of their marriage on John’s impending death certificate.
An accidental activist due to circumstances, Jim is now a civil rights activist and speaker with Keppler Speakers. Jim is on the Board of Advisors for the Mattachine Society of Washington, DC, an organization devoted to archive activism. Jim is co-founder of Equality Wines, a wine portfolio that supports organizations devoted to civil rights and equality.
Jim co-authored the book Love Wins, published by William Morrow, with Debbie Cenziper. Love Wins is about the lovers and lawyers in this historic Supreme Court case. Temple Hill Productions and Fox 2000 will produce a feature film based on the book.
Ann E. Tweedy – Ann specializes in federal Indian law and sexuality and the law, particularly in the area of employment discrimination. She has served as an Associate Professor at the former Hamline University School of Law and currently serves as both in-house counsel for Muckleshoot Indian Tribe in Washington State and as an adjunct professor at University of Tulsa College of Law. She has also taught at Michigan State University College of Law and California Western School of Law. After graduating from University of California, Berkeley School of Law (Order of the Coif), she clerked for Judge Gould of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals and Judge Armstrong of the Oregon Court of Appeals. Ann currently serves as Secretary on the Board of the Federal Bar Association’s Indian Law Section.
To see a list of speakers from 2016, please click here.