LEAD Academy

The National LGBT Bar Association’s LEAD Academy
Training LGBTQ+ and ally law students on Legal Equality And Diversity

Hosted by inaugural sponsor Reed Smith LLP
August 6, 2019

This year, the LGBT Bar is launching our inaugural LEAD Academy the day prior to the 2019 Lavender Law® Conference and Career Fair in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. This innovative new academy is designed to provide engaged LGBTQ+ and ally law students with the tools they need to create change in and through the legal profession. The LEAD Academy will have three main components:

  • An overview of LGBTQ+ history;
  • The legal developments in the ongoing LGBTQ+ rights movement;
  • How to implement a commitment to LGBTQ+ equality in a legal career at a solo, small/medium, or large firm, as in-house counsel, in a government position, or in impact litigation.

This Academy is designed to get you up to speed with the legal framework of the LGBTQ+ movement so you are prepared to be an advocate after leaving law school – no matter what area of law you practice or where you practice law!

Build lasting connections with other students and with experienced legal professionals, gain the knowledge you need to make a difference, and prepare to lead the next generation of LGBTQ+ legal advocates!

Apply below. Application will close on July 15. Please contact info@lgbtbar.org for more information. 


L.E.A.D. Academy Application

  • Membership is required upon acceptance. Need-based scholarships are available.
  • Examples: He/Him/His; She/Her; They/Them/Their
  • We cannot provide funding for travel or hotel stay for the LGBT Bar's Annual Lavender Law Conference and Career Fair.


Leonore F. Carpenter (Temple University Law School)
Professor Leonore (Lee) Carpenter teaches Legal Research and Writing, Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity and the Law, Appellate Advocacy, and Introduction to Public Interest Law. Her research interests are LGBT rights, public interest lawyering, and legal education. 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 provides direct legal services, education, and policy reform advocacy for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) Pennsylvanians. Professor Carpenter also acted as an adjunct clinical instructor to Temple Law students in an LGBT-rights clinical course that she designed. Professor Carpenter began her employment at Equality Advocates Pennsylvania as an Equal Justice Works Fellow, working with victims of hate crime and domestic violence. 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.
Jon W. Davidson (Freedom For All Americans)
Jon W. Davidson has been one of the nation’s leading lawyers fighting for LGBTQ civil rights for more than 30 years. He was the national Legal Director of Lambda Legal, the largest and oldest national legal organization committed to achieving full recognition of the civil rights of LGBTQ people and those living with HIV, for 12 years, and worked there from 1995-2017. As the organization’s Legal Director, he was the architect of the organization’s national legal strategy and supervised its 31 attorneys and 16 policy advocates, trainers, Help Desk analysts, and legal assistants, in all six of its offices across the country. Davidson has worked on a broad range of LGBT and HIV-related legal and policy matters throughout his career, including being co-counsel in the cases that brought marriage equality to California, Nevada, Virginia and then the entire nation and that increased anti-discrimination protections for employees, students, consumers, families, prisoners, and immigrants. He was honored with the National LGBT Bar Association’s highest award in 2010.A graduate of Stanford University and Yale Law School, Davidson previously was a partner in the Los Angeles law firm of Irell & Manella and a senior staff attorney at the ACLU Foundation of Southern California. He also has taught courses on LGBT rights, constitutional law, youth law, and pretrial civil litigation at UCLA Law School, the USC Law Center, Loyola Law School, and the former Whittier Law School.
Miriam Edelstein (Reed Smith LLP)
Miriam has broad litigation experience before administrative agencies, state courts and federal courts at the trial and appellate levels. She litigates matters that span the gamut of issues that arise between employers and employees, including discrimination, leave of absence, retaliation, wage-and-hour, restrictive covenant, unfair competition, whistleblower and breach of contract issues. Additionally, Miriam works on matters involving fair housing and public accommodation laws, directors and officers liability, and traditional labor matters on behalf of private employers under the National Labor Relations Act.
Dru Levasseur (The National LGBT Bar Association)
Dru Levasseur is the Deputy Program Officer, expanding the LGBT Bar’s programmatic work and increasing engagement with law schools and students, firms, and corporations. A leading figure in the LGBT equality movement for more than a decade, Dru has extensive experience in LGBT law, advocacy, philanthropy, and community organizing. Previously, Dru was Senior Attorney and Transgender Rights Project Director for Lambda Legal, the oldest and largest national legal organization committed to achieving full recognition of the civil rights of LGBTQ+ people and people living with HIV. From 2009-2019, Dru led Lambda Legal’s transgender rights work through strategy development, impact litigation, policy advocacy, and public education. He served as counsel in landmark impact litigation cases and amicus briefs in federal courts, including the U.S. Supreme Court. Dru was also instrumental in the creation and development of Lambda Legal’s Transgender Rights Project in 2013, as well as Lambda’s Trans Toolkit. Upon his departure, transgender rights was the largest portion of Lambda’s litigation docket, integrated across all areas of work, including health care, employment, education, housing, and criminal justice. Prior to joining Lambda Legal, Dru was the first staff attorney at Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund, and before that, served as a law clerk in the Massachusetts Superior Court. In 2007, Dru co-founded the Jim Collins Foundation, a trans-led national nonprofit that funds surgeries for transgender people in need, and he continues to serve as a working group member for Grantmakers United for Trans Communities. Dru received his B.A. from the University of Massachusetts, his J.D. from Western New England University School of Law, and is admitted to practice in DC, NY, GA, and MA. He is a bereaved step-parent and lives with his partner, Rebekah Spicuglia, in Atlanta, GA after a decade in NYC. Dru has experience speaking on a number of issues related to LGBT rights and the law and is available to speak at future events.
Angela Lim (Grasshopper Ventures)
Angela is licensed in both Texas and California and started out her career clerking for a Bankruptcy Judge in Dallas, Texas. Her experience has also included practicing in law firms as well as providing counsel to large multi-national technology companies and small venture-backed firms. For the past seven years, she has been involved in venture backed companies focusing on Digital Health. She is currently at Grasshopper Ventures. 
Judge Larnzell Martin, Jr.
Bio coming soon
Tiffany Palmer 
Bio coming soon
Mariano Reyes
Bio coming soon 
Alan York (Reed Smith LLP)
Alan is a partner in Reed Smith’s Appellate Group. Alan has been involved in appellate law since the inception of his legal career, serving from 1989 to 1990 as briefing attorney to Justice Sam Robertson on the Fourteenth Court of Appeals. Since that time, Alan has maintained an active involvement in appellate bar activities, serving as chair of the Houston Bar Association Appellate Practice Section, and as a council member of the State Bar of Texas Appellate Practice Section. He has also served as a judicial liaison between these bar sections and the judiciary, and has co-authored and co-presented numerous CLE topics with members of the appellate judiciary.