April 14, 2017

Nation’s most influential LGBT lawyers take center-stage at forum dedicated to the success of LGBT attorneys and their allies

CHICAGO, April 14, 2017 — Leading activists and politicians at the forefront of LGBT legal issues and general counsel who have navigated their way to the top of the profession will headline the inaugural LGBT Forum sponsored by the American Bar Association Section of Litigation in San Francisco May 2–3.  This first-ever open enrollment ABA program focused on LGBT issues and allies is expected to draw hundreds in San Francisco.

Inaugural LGBT Forum
ABA Section of Litigation

Tuesday – Wednesday, May 2-3

Hyatt Regency Embarcadero
5 Embarcadero Center
San Francisco, Calif. 94111

From combating bias in the workplace to evolving issues facing transgender employees, this conference is aimed at lawyers who practice civil litigation, criminal law and family law, as well as corporate counsel and anyone interested in learning about the unique legal issues facing the LGBT community. 

Speakers include Tina Tchen, chief of staff to first lady Michelle Obama and Therese M. Stewart, the first openly lesbian justice appointed to the California Court of Appeal, who will keynote the “LGBT Politics and Justice” luncheon on Wednesday at 12:15 p.m.

Other highlights include:

“Views from the Corner Office: Tips from Managing Partners and Senior In-House Counsel” – Openly LGBT attorneys who’ve navigated the path to the top of their organizations—both major law firms and in-house legal departments—discuss their career paths, describe how they’ve overcome bias and offer advice to LGBT lawyers.  Speakers: Kelly M. Dermody, Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein, San Francisco; Therese Lee, Google, Mountain View, Calif.,; Larry W. McFarland, Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton, San Francisco; Hilary Ware, Netflix, San Francisco; Maurice A. Watson, Husch Blackwell, Kansas City. Keith C. Wetmore of Morrison & Foerster in San Francisco will moderate the program.

May 2, 3:15-4:45 p.m.

“How to Handle a Hostile Political Environment: Advice and Tips from Officials on How Attorneys Can Position Themselves to Navigate Hostile Laws Impacting the LGBT Community” Panelists will share strategies for success and provide advice for drafting legislation to help improve the political landscape. Speakers: U.S. District Court Judge Pamela Chen, of Brooklyn, N.Y.; former Vermont governor Howard Dean; and state Rep. Brian Sims of Philadelphia. Paul Henderson, deputy chief of staff, San Francisco mayor’s office, will moderate the program.

May 3, 8–9:30 a.m.

CLE breakout sessions include:

“Advice to My Younger Self: Overcoming Historical Bias Against Out Litigators” – Top litigators—who happen to be LGBT—answer questions from the audience and discuss how they overcame obstacles to rise to the top. Speakers: Cristina C. Arguedas, Arguedas Cassman & Headley, Berkeley, Calif.; James J.S. Holmes, Sedgwick, Los Angeles; and D. Jean Veta, Covington & Burling, Washington, D.C.  David J. Tsai, Vinson & Elkins, San Francisco, will moderate the program.

May 2, 2–3 p.m.

“In Transition: The Fast-Evolving Law on Transgender Rights in Governmental Spaces” – Practitioners who have litigated cases involving transgender rights will offer their perspectives on recent developments in the law. Speakers: Elizabeth Gill, ACLU of Northern California, San Francisco; Shannon Price Minter, National Center for Lesbian Rights, San Francisco; Ilona Turner, Transgender Law Center, San Francisco; Scott Wilkens, Jenner & Block, Washington, D.C. Ghenete Wright Muir of Sunrise, Fla., will moderate the program.

May 3, 11 a.m.–Noon

“Post-Obergefell: The New LGBT Cases After Marriage Equality” – Panelists answer questions about the new wave of civil rights lawsuits—barriers to birth certificates, Medicaid exclusions for gender dysphoria treatments and denial of benefits for same-sex spouses. Speakers: R. Bradley (Brad) Sears, UCLA School of Law, Los Angeles; Camilla B. Taylor, Lambda Legal, Chicago; and retired judge Vaughn R. Walker, Law Office of Vaughn R. Walker, San Francisco. Kate Kendell, executive director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights in San Francisco, will moderate the program. May 3, 9:45–10:45 a.m.

The complete agenda can be found online.

The LGBT Forum is presented by the ABA Section of Litigation, its LGBT Law and Litigators Committee, with co-sponsorship from NCLR, National LGBT Bar, BALIF, Lambda Legal and others.   

There is no charge for media covering this event but pre-registration is necessary. To register, please contact Julie Brown at 312-988-6133 or Julie.Brown@americanbar.org

The Section of Litigation, the ABA’s largest practice specialty section with more than 50,000 members, is dedicated to helping litigators become more effective advocates for their clients.

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