May 10, 2013 Articles

Ruth Harlow: One of Our Heroes

By Emily Babcock

"Lives of great [LGBT litigators] all remind us we can make our lives sublime; and, departing, leave behind us, footprints on the sands of time."
—Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

I replaced "men" with "LGBT litigators" to illustrate a point—the need to recognize heroes among lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) litigators whose lives a younger generation of LGBT litigators, including myself, can emulate. One of the missions of the LGBT Litigator committee is to act as a forum for discussion of the unique issues that face LGBT litigators. One of those issues is the lack of historical role models in the field of litigation because, just 10 years ago, it was still illegal in some states to be LGBT. As a result, LGBT lawyers remained closeted. It is possible that Supreme Court justices, presidents, or prominent legal scholars may have been LGBT, but we may never know. The purpose of this article, and future articles like this, is to profile LGBT litigators worthy of being recognized as heroes, who were not closeted and whose careers, both in public interest and private practice, bear the hallmarks of excellence in litigation.

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