2017 Speaker Bios

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.

Distinguished Speakers

Corporate Counsel

Private Practice

Government Agencies



Veterans and Armed Services Personnel



Career Counselors


Corporate Counsel

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Private Practice

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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).

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.

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.

Angie Martell – Angie Martell 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 Moore 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.

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.

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 Ross – Gary J. Ross 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.

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.

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.

Amy Wan – Amy Wan, Esq., 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.

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.

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.

Government Agencies

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.

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.

Samuel Pearson-Moore – Samuel is an Attorney-Advisor at the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development, in the Office of General Counsel’s Office of Legislation & Regulations. He works with HUD’s senior leadership and program offices to draft regulations and advise them on nuanced policies and administrative requirements. His portfolio includes HUD’s rules providing equal access to housing for LGBT individuals, HUD’s rule implementing the Violence Against Women Act’s 2013 reauthorization, HUD’s rules implementing the Dodd-Frank Act, and HUD’s rule incorporating quid pro quo and hostile environment harassment under the Fair Housing Act. In addition to his regulatory work, he sits on the Executive Board of HUD’s LGBT affinity group. Mr. Pearson-Moore is a member of the Maryland Bar, graduated cum laude from American University Washington College of Law (WCL) in 2011, and earned a degree in political science from Augsburg College. While in law school, he was the Note and Comment Editor of the American University International Law Review and a Managing Editor for the Legislation and Policy Brief. Before law school, he was the office and program manager at the Center for Lobbying in the Public Interest; he also served in the U.S. Army Reserves from 2000 to 2008.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Jill Gaulding – Jill is Co-Founder and Senior Counsel for Gender Justice, a nonprofit whose mission is to eliminate gender barriers, whether linked to sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression. As leader of Gender Justice’s litigation program, Jill has been honored to represent a number of clients bringing cutting-edge legal cases, including those enforcing women’s and LGBTQ individuals’ rights to equality at school, in the workplace, and in healthcare. Jill speaks regularly to diverse audiences about gender equality, cognitive bias, and the law, and she has a particular interest in challenging harms caused by sexist and homophobic traditions like the University of Iowa’s Pink Locker Room. Prior to entering law, Jill studied cognitive science at MIT, and she has more than 20 years’ experience bringing insights from cognitive science into legal doctrine.

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.

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.

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.

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. Since 1994, Immigration Equality has advocated for LGBTQ and HIV-positive immigrants and their families. Each year, the organization provides thousands of individuals with free legal advice, and directly represents hundreds of immigrants through its pro bono program. Prior to becoming ED, Aaron led Immigration Equality’s law and policy programs. He has supervised the organization’s legal services, impact litigation, policy advocacy, and lobbying efforts. Aaron first worked with Immigration Equality as a Pride Law Fellow in the summer of 2004. Four years later, he joined the organization as a staff attorney. 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.

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.

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.

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).

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.


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. 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.


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.

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.