LGBT Family Law Institute®

The Family Law Institute®, a joint venture of the LGBT Bar and the National Center for Lesbian Rights, allows experienced LGBT family law practitioners to share collective wisdom and to discuss cutting-edge legal strategies for representing members of the LGBT community on such matters as family creation, assisted reproductive technology, ethics, interstate and international parentage issues, estate planning, collaborative law, transgender issues, dissolution of relationships, and elder law.

In order to create an environment where there can be a free flow of information, the meetings are closed and are not recorded. Registration is limited to 125 participants whose work history qualifies them as seasoned attorneys.

Institute sessions are not formal lectures, but rather are structured to encourage participation from everyone in attendance. Further, the LGBT Family Law Institute gives participants an opportunity to network with lawyers from other states in order to build a cadre of family law practitioners throughout the country.

To guarantee that the discourse remains at a high level, and to ensure that all participants are able to contribute meaningfully to the conversation, we are asking that interested parties submit the following application:


Current members of the Family Law Institute® will be given priority access to the annual summer institute meeting. If you are a current member, please register for the annual meeting here. Within one business day of submitting a form, a staff member of the LGBT Bar will reach out to you with the FLI registration code. You can then register for the overall conference (a requirement to attend FLI) here.

If you are not a current member, there is a more rigorous path to attendance. To begin the application process, please complete and submit the online application. The Membership Committee Chair of the LGBT Family Law Institute® (FLI) will then review your application, conduct an interview with you, and make a decision regarding your attendance. Should you be accepted, you will be notified via email and receive the FLI registration code. Once you receive the code, please register for the LGBT Bar’s 2019 Annual Lavender Law® Conference and Career Fair as an FLI attendee using the FLI code.

Please contact Mari Nemec at or call (202) 637-7661 if you have any questions.

Applicants will be selected based on their experience with LGBT family creation, protection, and dissolution. Applicants should have familiarity with these issues and may be asked to provide evidence describing their familiarity with LGBT family law.


Below is the agenda for the 2018 Family Law Institute®. Please stay tuned for the 2019 schedule.

FLI Agenda 2018 FINAL

8:30am-10:00amYear In Review
Moderator/Panelist: Emily Haan
10:00am-10:45amFLI "Get To Know Each other More Than Just To Say Hello"
Moderators/Panelists: Amira Hasenbush and Meryl B. Rosenberg
10:45am-11:00am Break
11:00am-12:30pmDebate/Town Hall/Interactive Discussion: Adoption vs. Presumption
Moderators/Panelists:Elizabeth Schwartz, Brian Esser, and Debra Guston
12:30pm-1:30pm, Salon 1, Floor 5 Lunch (Vegetarian Options Available)

(Ziegfeld for mingling, Brecht for mingling with Trust and Estates Institute, O'Neil for mingling with Transgender Law Institute)
FLI/T&E Combined Program
(Optional but encouraged), TLI Welcome

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Guest Speaker: Mike Wells, Atticus
1:30 - 3:00 p.m.-ZiegfeldFLI/TLI Combined Panel Discussion: Family Law Issues Affecting Transgender & Non-binary Adults and Children
Moderators/Panelists: Celeste Fiore, Alana Chazan, Angie Martell,
Asaf Orr, and Diane Bruessow, PA-C, MPAS, DFAAPA
3:15pm-4:15pmBreakout Session 1:
Ziegfeld Insurance, Health Care, Denial of Services, Denial of Fertility Care
Moderator: Meryl B. Rosenberg
Wilder (Front) SSI & Medicare

In this session, the group will discuss how the federal poverty program emerges in our LGBT practices and what to do about it. Intersection with SS retirement and disability, Medicaid health coverage for disabled under age 65 who are not yet on SSD and Medicare, how SSI affects and intersects with a separate program, long term care Medicaid for those (under age 65 or over age 65) needing home care, institutional facility or nursing home care, heirs with "public benefits" and how that inheritance or life insurance or retirement account affects eligibility and what to do about it, special needs trusts and risks to SSI check and health coverage and what to do about it, and any other ways the SSI program emerges in your practice.
Moderator: Cindy Barrett
Wilder (Back) Poly/BDSM Relationships

In this group we will discuss how our law practices can support
Poly and Kink families, the issues they face, and best practices to address them
Moderator: Diana Adams
4:30pm-5:30pm Break Out Session 2:
Ziegfeld LGBT Family Law Practice-Friendly Jurisdiction

Members from more LGBT friendly jurisdictions will gather to share ideas and best practices
Moderator: Amira Hasenbush
Wilder LGBT Family Law Practice-Unfriendly Jurisdiction

Members from more difficult/unfriendly jurisdictions will gather to share ideas and best practices, and how to distinguish bad case results
Moderator: Heather Fann