Staff

  • D’Arcy Kemnitz, Esq.

    Executive Director

    D’Arcy brings more than two decades of non-profit and social justice experience to her role as The LGBT Bar’s executive director. Under her leadership, The Bar has become the largest and most recognized organization of LGBT legal professionals in the country. In addition to orchestrating a coalition of more than 25 local, state, and regional LGBT bar associations, and dozens of LGBT law student associations, D’Arcy has overseen the annual “Lavender Law” Conference and Career Fair with thousands of attendees each year.

    D’Arcy is a frequently quoted expert on LGBT legal issues, appearing in media outlets including The ABA Journal, ABC News, Time Magazine, and others. She is a distinguished graduate of the University of Wisconsin and the Hamline University School of Law. She has experience speaking on a number of issues related to LGBT rights and the law and is available to speak at future events.

    EMAIL: darcy@lgbtbar.org
    PHONE: (202) 637-7663
  • Paul Thaler, Esq.

    Director of External Affairs

    Paul cultivates 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, having been the Vice-Chair and Secretary of the Legal Education & Admission to the Bar section and a past Fellow of the Maryland State Bar Association’s Leadership Academy. Paul has experience speaking on a number of issues related to LGBT rights and the law and is available to speak at future events.

    EMAIL: paul@lgbtbar.org
    PHONE: (202) 637-7663
  • Judi O'Kelley, Esq.

    Chief Program Officer

    Judi joined the LGBT Bar’s team in 2017, and works on a broad range of programmatic initiatives including building the Bar’s law school affiliate program and supporting the work of the Family Law Institute. Judi brings over twenty years of legal and political experience working for equality within the LGBT community. While in law school, she worked against anti-gay ballot initiatives in Oregon; after graduating and entering private practice, she moved to Georgia and worked on behalf of local and national LGBT groups as a pro bono attorney, drafting and lobbying for successful non-discrimination protections and domestic partnership benefit programs for several Georgia municipalities, including Atlanta and Athens. In 2004, she served as President and Campaign Chair for the campaign for the Athens, Georgia area in opposition to Georgia’s constitutional amendment banning same-sex unions, and continued grass-roots organizing and local political work after the campaign. Judi also was the lead plaintiff from 2004-2006 in the case of O’Kelley v. Perdue, in which Lambda Legal, the Georgia ACLU, and the law firm of Alston & Bird sought to strike down Georgia’s anti-marriage amendment. Judi then spent over eleven years on the staff and in senior management of Lambda Legal in roles ranging from Southern Regional Director, to Director of Life Planning, to Deputy Director of Development, to Director of Leadership. Along the way she moved to Seattle, Washington, where she is involved with a number of local LGBT groups as the Bar’s West Coast outpost.

    Judi received her B.A. from the Colorado College in 1990. After receiving her J.D. from the University of Oregon School of Law in 1996, she served as a law clerk for Judge James L. Oakes of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit and practiced appellate and employment law in Atlanta for Jones Day and two boutique law firms, before joining Lambda Legal in 2006. Judi has roots in the Washington, D.C. metro area as well as Juneau, Alaska, and is admitted to practice in DC, Alaska, and Georgia. She lives in Seattle with her spouse and twin teenagers, with whom she laughs, cooks, plays video games, and watches Star Trek. Judi has experience speaking on a number of issues related to LGBT rights and the law and is available to speak at future events.

    EMAIL: judi@lgbtbar.org
    PHONE: (202) 637-7663
  • Seth Rosen, Esq.

    Director of Development

    Seth is an attorney and seasoned fundraiser and raises funds to support and expand the LGBT Bar’s work to promote justice and protect the LGBT community.

    As a senior at Brandeis University, Seth spent a year at GLBTQ Legal Advocates and Defenders (GLAD) working as an intake volunteer.  Answering countless questions from members of the LGBTQ community, Seth saw how a small, dedicated staff tackled enormous problems and helped thousands of people obtain the equality they deserved.  The experience was life changing.  It opened his eyes to the effectiveness of strategic advocacy and the power of perseverance.  Seth’s commitment to social justice and public service led him to law school and then to litigating federal civil rights claims on behalf of the City of New York.

    Since then, Seth has gained considerable expertise in nonprofit law and fundraising. He’s held leadership positions at major national and international organizations including Amnesty International USA. Millennium Promise and Malaria No More.  He was also the Managing Director of Development, Communications, and Marketing at Gay Men’s Health Crisis, the world’s first HIV/AIDS service organization. Most recently Seth was a Senior Major Gifts Officer at Lambda Legal.

    Seth received his J.D. from New York Law School and his M.P.A. from New York University. Seth and his husband, Dr. Jacob Goertz, reside in New York City with their two children and two increasingly plump cats.

    EMAIL: seth@lgbtbar.org

  • Meredith Walsh

    Development Associate

    Meredith joined the team in early 2016 and works as the Development Associate. She helps maintain organization and improve communication between staff, leadership, and members.  Working and volunteering for over ten years in a variety of management and hospitality roles, she brings extensive experience and passion to all of her endeavors. Having previously worked in restaurant management in the mountains of Colorado and the beaches of Hawaii, she subsequently moved closer to her roots to obtain her bachelor’s degree at the University of Missouri – Kansas City. While completing her degree, she worked in a non-profit animal shelter and became involved in volunteer work with local governance and the AmeriCorps/EnergyCorps federal program. Meredith enjoys exploring her new home in the DC area with her one-of-a-kind Labrador mutt, Radley, and wonderful husband of 5 years, Joel. Although she finds great things in every place she’s lived, she will always be “TrueBlue” – Go Royals!

    EMAIL: meredith@lgbtbar.org
    PHONE: (202) 637-7661
  • Mari Nemec

    Manager of Public Affairs

    Mari graduated from The College of William and Mary in January of 2018 with a B.A. in History and a minor in Gender/Sexuality Studies. During her time at The College, she founded and led William and Mary’s chapter of The National Organization for Women and provided tours of the historical Sir Christopher Wren Building as a member of the prestigious Spotswood Society. She also worked as an organizer for the 2017 Women’s March, coordinating with college students around the state of Virginia to provide them with the resources needed to attend the March. Mari served as a legislative intern to Delegate Mike Mullin in the Virginia General Assembly in January and February of 2017. In the summer of 2017, Mari was The National LGBT Bar Association’s Programs Intern. In that role, she aided in planning the LGBT Bar’s Annual Lavender Law Conference and Career Fair and contributed to other programmatic efforts of the Bar. As the Manager of Public Affairs, Mari is responsible for much of the communication between the LGBT Bar, our members, and the wider community. She is the author of our Membership Spotlight blog and of our Member Newsletter, manages our volunteer opportunities and our community platforms, and assists in the LGBT Bar’s programmatic initiatives. After growing up in Colorado, Alaska, and the DC area, Mari is excited to spend more time in the nation’s capital.

    EMAIL: mari@lgbtbar.org
    PHONE: (202) 637-7661
  • Valeria Pareja

    Administrative Assistant

    Valeria graduated this past December with a B.A. in Sociology and minors in Women & Gender Studies and Art History from George Mason University. During her time in school, she immersed herself in work pertaining to gender and sexuality issues: from working at the Women and Gender Studies office at GMU to volunteering for the campus crisis hotline. Valeria joined the staff this Spring as the Administrative Assistant. Valeria is a DMV native and loves working downtown; she feels right at home at the LGBT Bar. She works to support the internal functions of the office while also maintaining organization and communication for the staff and LGBT Bar members. Valeria cares deeply about many social issues and is motivated by doing work that contributes to shifting the status quo towards equality.

    EMAIL: valeria@lgbtbar.org
    PHONE: 2026377661
  • Rishell Chambers

    Research Fellow

    A recent graduate of Towson University, Rishell Chambers completed her B.S. in Women’s and Gender Studies and a minor in African American Studies in May 2018. Throughout her college career, Rishell participated in various social justice oriented activities, from serving as Director of Diversity Outreach in Towson’s Student Government Association, to studying women and social justice in Ghana, Africa as a sophomore. She completed three internships during school with organizations such as the World Trade Center Institute in Baltimore and the American Civil Liberties Union of Maryland.

    Rishell joined the LGBT Bar as a research fellow during the Summer of 2018. Her primary role is to assist with the development of several of the Bar’s programs, such as the Law Student Congress, the Ally Initiative, and the Affiliate Congress. Some of Rishell’s favorite hobbies include reading Harry Potter, listening to music, and doing ballet. She is incredibly honored and excited to be a part of the LGBT Bar team!

    EMAIL: rishell@lgbtbar.org
    PHONE: 2026377661