The National LGBT Bar Leading Family Law Practitioner Award is awarded to recognize lawyers whose work supports our families, in all of their configurations. Family law involves more than family creation and relationship dissolution. LGBTQ family law may also include allied practices in immigration, tax, military, benefits, children’s rights and welfare, disability rights, employment, bankruptcy, landlord-tenant, health care, decision making and managing costs.
The Award will be given each year to one individual who:
1) Is in the private practice of law, and
2) Has improved the lives of members of LGBTQ families, parents or children through outstanding legal work, demonstrated by a longstanding commitment to providing legal services of a high quality to the LGBTQ community; by commitment to significant
pro bono work for LGBTQ families, parents or children; or by leadership in significant impact litigation or advocacy affecting or in support of LGBTQ families, parents, or children while engaged in the private practice of law.
Each year, the Director the LGBT Family Law Institute will appoint a committee to make a single nomination subject to approval of the LGBT Bar.
Please note: In November 2019, the Leading Practitioners Award was renamed to the Leading Family Law Practitioner Award.
We are proud to present the 2019 Leading Practitioners Award recipients, Tiffany L. Palmer and Fabiana Quaini.
Tiffany L. Palmer has dedicated her legal career to the achievement of social justice and equality in the field of family law, adoption and assisted reproductive technology law. Her work has helped create major advances in the legal rights of LGBTQ families in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Tiffany Palmer is a founder and shareholder in Jerner & Palmer, P.C., in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She has been counsel on a number of groundbreaking trial and appellate cases affecting the rights of LGBTQ parents as well as for those who conceive through assisted reproductive technologies. She was counsel in the Sherri Shepherd surrogacy case (In Re Baby S) in 2015, which held for the first time that surrogacy contracts are legally enforceable in Pennsylvania. In 2018, she argued before the Pennsylvania Supreme Court (C.G. v. J.H.) on issues related to expanding the definition of legal parent to protect the rights of same-sex co-parents. She has co-counseled one of the only cases nationally to recognize the child support obligations of non-biological intended parents before marriage equality (LSK v. HAN). Tiffany and her firm’s strong commitment to pro bono service to the LGBT community is reflected in the many nationally significant cases they have handled. Tiffany also currently serves as the Director of the Family Law Institute, a joint venture of the LGBT Bar and the National Center for Lesbian Rights. In 2002, Tiffany and Conference Co-Chair David Rosenblum founded the annual Lavender Law Career Fair, now the largest annual minority group career fair in the country. In 2018, Tiffany received the “Justice in Action Award” from the Mazzoni Center in Philadelphia for her legal work on behalf of LGBT rights. In 2014, Tiffany received the Rutgers University School of Law Mary Philbrook Public Interest Award for her case work and pro bono service on behalf of advancing the rights of LGBTQ families in Pennsylvania. Tiffany began her legal career in 1998 with a prestigious Equal Justice Works public interest fellowship, where she created a legal department at a new Philadelphia nonprofit (the Center for Lesbian and Gay Civil Rights, then Equality Advocates Pennsylvania). Ms. Palmer launched the Family Rights Project to provide direct legal services to low-income LGBT Pennsylvanians to mitigate the consequences of the legal non-recognition of their relationships. In May 2019, Tiffany won the Philadelphia Primary Election for Judge of the Court of Common Pleas and is the Democratic Party nominee for the November 2019 General Election.
Fabiana Quaini is an attorney in Argentina who has maintained a family law practice for over 34 years, with offices in Buenos Aires and Mendoza. Her legal career is characterized by her passion, zeal and commitment to make laws reflect the reality of her clients’ lives. The global scope of Fabiana’s practice sets her apart from other practitioners. Her firm was the first to achieve a decision on international adoption and surrogacy in Argentina, recovered an abducted child from China in a case with no precedents, and is a leader in Argentina in the civil and criminal aspects of international child abduction, in both Hague and non-Hague countries. Fabiana is currently representing two fathers before the Argentina Supreme Court who are suing to win recognition of their parental rights. Fabiana is a member of International Academy of Family Lawyers, Academy of Adoption & Assisted Reproduction Attorneys, ReUnite, and the LGBT Bar. This past March, Fabiana organized the first, historic meeting of LGBTQ+ family law attorneys in Latin America. The “FLI Latin America” meeting was a huge success, with twenty-two attorneys participating from 6 countries.
2019 | Lavender Law - Philadelphia
Tiffany L. Palmer – Jerner & Palmer, P.C.
Fabiana Quaini – Quaini Law Firm
2018 | Lavender Law - New York City
Elizabeth Schwartz – Elizabeth F. Schwartz, P.A.
Zack Paakkonen – Portland Legal, LLC
2017 | Lavender Law - San Francisco
Debra E. Guston – Guston and Guston, LLP
Heather Fann – Fann Law, LLC
2016 | Lavender Law - Washington, D.C.
Noemi Masliah – The Masliah Firm
Cynthia Barrett – Cynthia Barrett, Attorney at Law
2015 | Lavender Law - Chicago
Bridget Wilson – The Dean Law Group, APLC
2014 | Lavender Law – New York
Carol Buell, Partner, Weiss, Buell & Buell
Judith Turkel, Turkel Forman LLP
2013 | Lavender Law – San Francisco
Bill Singer, Partner, Singer & Fedun, LLC