Lecture Series

Lecture Series

The LGBT Bar’s Lecture Series features some of the best legal minds in the country discussing some of the most critical legal issues we face today.

  • National Call-in: Issues in LGBT Immigration

    January 28th, 2013

    The call focused on the general topic of LGBT immigration. Speakers discussed how the Defense of Marriage Act is especially debilitating for same-sex couples in the context of US immigration and nationality law and how rulings in the upcoming Supreme Court cases will affect LGBT families. Additionally, new developments in LGBT asylum were analyzed, including what is working and what is not in terms of keeping families together. The call was co-sponsored by Immigration Equality, a national organization fighting for equality under U.S. immigration law for the LGBT community. Victoria Neilson, executive director of Immigration Equality; Lavi Soloway, partner at Masliah & Soloway; and Scott Titshaw, a professor at Mercer University School of Law discussed the many issues that LGBT families and individuals face when it comes to immigration.

  • National Call-in: Current Issues Affecting Adoption by Members of the LGBT Community

    November 28th, 2012

    November is National Adoption Month. More than 100,000 children are currently in foster care, waiting to find permanent, loving families. Unfortunately, there are numerous barriers in place that prevent LGBT families from adopting these children. Experts on adoption law will discuss the laws that impede same-sex couples from creating families as well as recent litigation challenging those policies and allowing LGBT couples to become loving parents. Speakers will cover topics such as the Indian Child Welfare Act, the Adar decision and state by state laws for adoptive parents. This call was co-sponsored by the Family Equality Council, a national organization committed to supporting LGBT families across the country, and featured speakers from the Family Law Institute, a group of experienced law practitioners jointly supported by the LGBT Bar and the National Center for Lesbian Rights. Jennifer Chrisler, executive director of the Family Equality Council; Debra Guston, managing partner of Guston & Guston LLP; and Denise Seidelman, partner at Rumbold & Seidelman raised awareness about adoption law and helped promote National Adoption Month.

  • National Call-in: Election Day Relationship Recognition Victories

    November 13th, 2012

    On November 6, four states featured relationship recognition measures on their ballots. In all four states –Maryland, Minnesota, Maine, and Washington– voters awarded major victories to same-sex couples. In Minnesota voters struck down a ban on marriage equality. Maryland, Maine, and Washington became the first three states to legalize marriage for same-sex couples through a ballot referendum. However, Arizona was the first state to reject a ballot initiative that would have banned forms of relationship recognition for same-sex couples, doing so in 2006. Experts from all four states will join us to discuss how victory was achieved and what the results mean for the LGBT community. Mary Bonauto, director of the Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders (GLAD)’s Civil Rights Project; Carrie Evans, executive director of Equality Maryland; Jamie Pedersen, Washington State Representative and vice president and general counsel of McKinstry; and John Sullivan, corporate secretary of Minnesotans United for All Families examined how victory was achieved and what the results mean for the LGBT community.

  • National Call-in: Voter Suppression Laws in Florida

    September 21st, 2012

    National LGBT Bar Association is hosting a national call-in that will discuss the voter suppression laws in Florida. Florida passed a law that reduced the early voting period from 14 days to 8 days and eliminated early voting the Sunday before the election. Also, voters are no longer able to update their registration at the polls if they have moved within the state. Another Florida law stipulated that all voter registration groups must register within the state. Parts of that law have been blocked, but many are still in effect. These laws unfairly target low income and minority populations who take advantage of early voting and often do not have the time or resources to fill out additional forms. Julie Ebenstein, policy and advocacy counsel for the ACLU of Florida; Diana Kasdan, counsel for the Brennan Center of Justice’s Democracy Program; and Uzoma Nkwonta, staff attorney for the Advancement Project discussed the many ongoing cases in Florida and how they will impact upcoming elections. This is the final part of a lecture series that will examine voter suppression laws in three states across the country.

  • National Call-in: Voter Suppression Laws in Ohio

    September 19th, 2012

    National LGBT Bar Association is hosting a national call-in that will discuss the voter suppression laws in Ohio. Last year, Ohio shortened the early-voting period from 35 days to 17 days and eliminated early voting three days before an election. Minority and low-income voters are most affected as they often choose to vote early because their jobs do not allow them to take time off to vote. Also, transportation might not be stable or reliable enough to allow them to vote on Election Day. Jennifer Brunner, former Ohio Secretary of State; Susan Becker, board president of the Ohio ACLU; and Lawrence Norden, deputy director of the Brennan Center for Justice’s Democracy Program discussed these laws and how they will impact the upcoming election. This is part of a lecture series that will examine voter suppression laws in three states across the country.

  • National Call-in: Voter ID Law in Pennsylvania

    September 11th, 2012

    National LGBT Bar Association is hosting a national call-in that will discuss the recent enactment of strict voter ID laws in Pennsylvania. Transgender individuals who may not have an ID that accurately reflects their gender or appearance, and low-income and elderly voters without access to updated forms of identification are most affected by these laws. David Rosenblum, director of legal services for the Mazzoni Center; Larry Felzer, director of development and finance for SeniorLAW Center; and Witold Walkczak, legal director of the ACLU of Pennsylvania discussed the new voter ID law and its ramifications. This is part of a lecture series that will examine voter suppression laws in three states across the country.

  • National Call-in: A Day in the Life of a JAG Officer

    July 10th, 2012

    It was not even a year ago that the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell (DADT)” law was officially ended. Since then, openly lesbian, gay and bisexual service members no longer have to worry about being discharged for who they are. Military recruiters Captain Laura DeSioLieutenant Colonel Mary Card-Mina and Lieutenant Tashinda Richardson, all of whom have extensive experience speaking with the National Association of Law Placement, will explain the opportunities for lesbian, gay and bisexual service members and a day in the life of a JAG officer.

  • National Call-in: Updates on Recent Challenges to DOMA

    June 18th, 2012

    On May 31, 2012, the First Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the Defense of Marriage Act is unconstitutional. This is just the latest victory against the 1996 law forbidding the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriages.  Mary Bonauto, Civil Rights Project Director for GLAD, Maura Healeychief attorney for the Civil Rights Division at the Massachusetts Office of the Attorney General, and Bill Eskridge, John A. Garver Professor of Jurisprudence at Yale Law School, will discuss the First Circuit Court’s decision and the future of the case.

  • National Call-in: Recent EEOC Ruling

    June 5th, 2012

    In co-sponsorship with the National Employment Lawyers Association and Seyfarth Shaw LLP, the National LGBT Bar Association is hosting a national call-in to discuss the recent decision from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) in the case of Macy v. Holder. The EEOC ruled that transgender individuals are included under Title VII, which protects employees and applicants from being discriminated against based on sex. The landmark ruling has ensured that under federal law, transgender individuals now have a legal recourse to file formal complaints against employers on the basis of sex discrimination. The magnitude of the EEOC’s decision cannot be overstated – LGBT individuals now have federal support and resources to fight for equality within the workplace. Join us as experts, includingChai Feldblum, commissioner of the EEOC, discuss the major impact this decision will have on the LGBT community. Other speakers include Laura Maechtlen, partner at Seyfarth Shaw LLP; Shannon Minter, legal director for the National Center for Lesbian Rights and Ilona Turner, legal director for the Transgender Law Center.

  • LGBT Issues and the Muslim Community

    April 23rd, 2012

    Muslim and LGBT communities are often portrayed as holding competing and incompatible worldviews, distinct and non‐overlapping cultural identities and mutually exclusive political values and goals. But what is the reality in North America? Does this narrative of irreconcilable conflict depict the day‐to‐day reality of these communities? To what extent is this narrative used to obscure and deny the existence of shared worldviews, overlapping identities and common political goals? And does this narrative really serve Muslim LGBT communities in North America or does it divide and conquer oppressed communities and help maintain the status quo? Join us for a discussion of these questions and more. Speakers include El-Farouk Khaki, Canadian lawyer and human rights activist and Khurshid Khoja, general counsel for Emerald Growers Association.

  • Transgender Advocacy and Medical Frameworks

    April 18th, 2012

    The National LGBT Bar Association would like to invite you to a call‐in with two of our nation’s leading experts on transgender rights and strategy talk about the connections between transgender advocacy and medical frameworks for understanding transgender identities and transsexualism. The subject of this discussion is even more pressing in light of the American Psychiatric Association’s forthcoming revision of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM) which classifies many transgender people as having a mental health condition. Should attorneys and transgender clients pursue disability claims? What are the implications for arguing that gender transition‐related care is medically necessary? Come join us for a fascinating hour‐long discussion to hear answers to these and other burning legal questions you may have on related topics. Speakers include Dru Levasseur, Transgender Rights Attorney for Lamda Legal and Jennifer Levi, director of GLAD’s Transgender Rights Project.


  • Recent Cases Challenging the Defense of Marriage Act

    April 13th, 2012

    The National LGBT Bar Association would like to invite you to a national call in that will discuss the recent Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) challenge. Mary Bonauto, Civil Rights Project Director for GLAD, Maura Healey and Bill Eskridge, John A. Garver Professor of Jurisprudence at Yale Law School, will discuss the DOMA case in Boston that was recently was heard by the U.S. First Circuit Court of Appeals, referred to as Gill v. Office of Personnel Management. The current case is a consolidation of three previous cases. The first involves U.S. Postal Worker Nancy Gill and her wife, Marcelle Letourneau, who have been denied federal health benefits that all other married couples receive. The second, filed by the Massachusetts Attorney General, also challenges section 3 of DOMA, which defines marriage as “a legal union between one man and one woman as husband and wife.” Gill v. Office of Personnel Management will be the first DOMA challenge to go before the U.S. Appeals Court and could possibly reach the Supreme Court next year.

  • Legal Challenges Facing the Intersex Community

    April 5th, 2012

    The intersex community is considering a number of legal challenges to current harmful practices.  During this call-in,Anne Tamar-Mattis, director of Advocates for Informed Choice, and Professor Julie Greenberg will discuss (1) current harmful medical practices, including unconsented to cosmetic genital surgeries and involuntary sterilizations, (2) proposed changes to current rules regulating athletic competition participation, and (3) other discriminatory practices affecting the intersex community.  They will advise attorneys working with the LGBT community about spotting these issues and developing effective legal strategies, including sex and disability discrimination arguments, to mount successful challenges.  For those interested in background information about intersexuality, see the websites for Advocates for Informed Choice (aiclegal.org) and the Intersex Society of North America (http://isna.org/).

  • End of Life Planning for the LGBT Community

    March 7th, 2012

    Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender clients consult lawyers to protect their families at time of crisis, particularly end of life decisions. Yet, horror stories abound. Listen to three experienced attorneys discuss how to write documents that can withstand attack and what advice to give clients when they are confronted with hostility when trying to enforce their rights. Speakers include William S. Singer, partner at Singer & Fedun, LLC, Debra E. Guston, partner at Guston & Guston, LLP,  Nancy J. Knauer, I. Herman Stern Professor at Temple University and Carrington Mead.

  • LGBT Tax Law

    January 25th, 2012

    For the LGBT community, filing your annual taxes can be extremely stressful and full of questions. This year, the National LGBT Bar Association hosted two national call-ins to help answer questions LGBT individuals and families face when trying to file their taxes. Panelists included leading experts in LGBT tax law. Speakers include Kate FletcherPat CainDeb KinneyDeborah Wald and Paul Thorndal.

  • California Court Rules Proponents of Prop 8 Have Standing

    November 25th, 2011

    This 30-minute call addressed the future of Proposition 8 and what steps are needed to finalize decisions for either party. Speakers on the call included Kate Kendell, Executive Director at the National Center for Lesbian Rights; David Codell, co-counsel in the California In re Marriage Casesand, Tobias Barrington Wolff, Professor of Law at the University of  Pennsylvania Law School.

  • Unsafe Schools: Bullying/Harassment

    May 18th, 2011

    This call–in partnership with the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network–invited legal professionals to speak about their experience on litigating cases involving LGBT youth that have been heavily harassed and bullyed in schools. Speakers also provided briefs used for litigation purposes for listeners to review and become better educated on the delicacy of these types of cases. Please use the links below to download both the recording as well as the briefs. Speakers include Alison Gill, Public Policy Manager at GLSEN, Samuel Wolfe, Staff Attorney at the Southern Poverty Law Center, Paula Rosenstein, partner at Rosenstein, Wilson & Dean, Joni Thome, attorney at Halunen & Associates, andJohn Elliott Eichhorst, Deputy Attorney at the USDA Office of the General Counsel, Pacific Region.

  • Current Developments in the Implementation of the Dodd-Frank Act: Views from Capitol Hill and the SEC

    April 26th, 2011

    This live webinar will present an overview of current developments in the implementation of the recently passed Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. The Dodd-Frank Act made sweeping changes in the regulation of financial products and services, including banking, securities, and commodities law, some of which are now targeted for repeal by the new 112th Congress. At the same time, regulators are facing a July 21, 2011, deadline for implementing key mandates of the legislation.In the midst of these developments, this webinar will feature commentary from one of the Act’s primary authors, Congressman Barney Frank, Ranking Member of the House Financial Services Committee. Of particular interest to in-house and outside counsel to public companies, current and former SEC and FINRA staffers will discuss recent developments in the implementation of Dodd-Frank. Speakers include John Ramsey, Deputy Director, SEC Division of Trading and Markets; Brian V. Breheny, Corporate Partner, Skadden Arps, and former Deputy Director, SEC Division of Corporation Finance; Brian M. Castro, Chairman and founding member of the National LGBT Bar Association’s Financial Regulation & Reform Working Group, and former Senior Counsel, FINRA Department of Enforcement.

  • LGBT Tax Law Issues

    April 12th, 2011

    The restrictions imposed by the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) have left the marital status of many same-sex couples in a state of confusion when it comes to life and financial planning. As the deadline for filing federal tax returns draws near, significant questions and disarray regarding tax filing requirements keep circulating on the list serve. The National LGBT Bar Association is pleased to host a national call-in that focuses on issues of tax law. The panelists will address significant questions and confusion regarding DOMA and tax filing status, Registered Domestic Partnership status, community property rules, and the lack of clarity and guidance as relates to tax payers in the LGBT community. Speakers include Patricia CainInez Mabie, Distinguished Professor of Law at Santa Clara Law and Katie D. Fletcher, past president of the National LGBT Bar Association.

  • DOMA, the Department of Justice, and Congress: A Conversation About the Road Ahead

    March 28th, 2011

    In a February 23, 2011 letter to House Speaker John Boehner, Attorney General Eric Holder announced the Obama Administration’s position that Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) is unconstitutional and would no longer be defended in court by the federal government. Subsequently, Speaker Boehner announced his intent to have the House of Representatives step in to defend DOMA in court. Many questions remain. What exactly did the letter from Attorney General Holder mean?  How is that letter squared with the general presumption that the federal government will defend laws that remain on the books?  How does the letter fit within the context of historic examples of exceptions to the duty to defend? What is the difference between the federal government’s duty to defend laws and its duty to enforce laws while litigation is pending? What is the process going forward for the various pending cases? What are the ramifications of the government’s views on heightened scrutiny for classifications involving sexual orientation? Two legal scholars with extensive federal government experience will discuss these and other issues, along with answering audience questions, on a national conference call. Speakers include Nan Hunter, /professor of Law and Associate Dean of Graduate Programs at Georgetown Law, and Peter Shane, professor at Moritz  College of Law at Ohio State University.