On May 2-3, the Litigation Section of the American Bar Association will be hosting its first ever LGBT Forum in San Francisco, California. This forum brings together legal thought leaders and LGBT rights advocates to discuss some of the most pressing issues facing this community.
The idea for this conference began back in the fall of 2015 as the brainchild of Laurence F. Pulgram,who is now the Chair of ABA Litigation. Laurence’s vision was to create a two day-intensive featuring programming pertinent to LGBT professionals as well as the legal issues this group faces on a daily basis. This type of seminar was the first of its kind for the ABA and I’m proud to be an integral part of the planning process.
Our goal in planning the individual workshops and panel discussions is to pick individuals who have experienced these issues firsthand, whether that be through client representation or personal impact. This program reflects not only how far we’ve come, but what action needs to be taken to make sure we don’t slip back from the immense progress that has been made.
I am spearheading three panels that focus on assisting parents, professionals, and those most impacted by aggressive or discriminatory legislation:
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
This panel will cover how officials have overcome hostile political environments. They will provide advice to lawyers on how to position their cases for appeal and how to draft legislation to help improve the political environment toward the LGBT community.
Panelists include: Pamela Chen, United States District Court Judge for the Eastern District of New York, Brian Sims, member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives in the 182nd district, and Howard Dean, Former Chair of the Democratic National Committee.
Advice to My Younger Self: Overcoming Historical Bias Against Out Litigators
Have a question you’d like to ask some of the country’s top litigators (who happen to be LGBT) about how they overcame obstacles to get to the top of the legal profession? Many times, LGBT attorneys must overcome bias in the firm and in the courtroom to rise to the top. This all-star panel of LGBT lawyers will discuss these obstacles and how we can eliminate them as well as answer questions that lawyers around the country have submitted by video and from the audience.
The Changing and Conflicting State of Parentage—Custody, Adoption, and Assisted Reproductive Technology for the LGBT Community
This panel will discuss new trends and law involving adoption, custody, and alternative reproductive technology as it specifically relates to the LGBT community.
Panelists include: Deborah Wald, Founder and Managing Partner at The Wald law Group, Cathy Sakimura, Deputy Director & Family Law Director at the National Center for Lesbian Rights, Debra Guston, managing partner at Guston and Guston and moderated by Lee Carpenter from Temple University.