Patricia Harrington, Intake Coordinator
Patricia is a native New Yorker. After graduating from Queens College with a B.A. in Physics and Mathematics, she had a twenty year career as a programmer and medical physicist at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. She entered Pace Law School in 2006. During the summer of her first year she interned with the Westchester County Law Department assisting child abuse and neglect attorneys in Family Court. At Pace, she was active in the Public Interest Scholarship Organization, Lambda Law Students, and the Women’s Association of Law Students. Prior to entering law school, Patricia spent a year as a volunteer tutor at the Hetrick-Martin Institute. She is committed to eliminating the discriminatory obstacles facing transgender people in daily life. In her spare time she works on her personal animation projects.
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Adam Herpolsheimer, Legal Intern
Adam was born in Wichita, Kansas and moved to the Northeast for law school. They attend Rutgers Law School and live in Newark, walking distance from the campus and just a short train ride away from TLDEF's Manhattan office. As a Center for Gender & Sexuality Law & Policy Fellow at Rutgers law school, Adam is dedicated to legal work in all facets of gender equality and social justice.
Pairing with volunteer lawyers from around the tri-state area, Adam is student coordinator for the Newark LGBT Pro Bono Assistance Clinic. The clinic serves an under-represented population of the north Jersey community, giving LGBT individuals information on their legal issues.
Adam is set to graduate from Rutgers in May of 2018, and continues to explore new and impactful ways in which to spread consciousness within the legal framework.
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Noah E. Lewis, Staff Attorney
Noah has worked as TLDEF’s Staff Attorney for five years. Noah works on leading-edge cases such as helping Coy Mathis win the right to use the girl’s bathroom at school and successfully eliminating the requirement that people undergo surgery in order to correct the sex on a NYC birth certificate. His policy work includes achieving NY State birth certificate modernization and helping to eliminate the NY Medicaid ban on transgender health care. Noah also provides training and legal support for the volunteer attorneys participating in the Name Change Project.
Noah frequently speaks and provides trainings on transgender issues. His writings include “Sex and the Body: A 21st-Century Understanding of Trans People” in Gender, Sex, and Politics: In the Streets and Between the Sheets in the 21st Century.
A Pittsburgh native, Noah graduated magna cum laude from the University of Pittsburgh with a B.S. in chemistry and a B.A. in the history and philosophy of science. Noah was the first openly trans student to graduate from Harvard Law School. There he received the Dean's Award for Community Leadership and worked successfully to eliminate transgender health exclusions from student and staff health plans.
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Rita Renner, Bookkeeper
Rita is TLDEF’s bookkeeper. She also works as a bookkeeper for other non-profit organizations and teaches QuickBooks. Prior to joining TLDEF, she was in charge of accounts payable and payroll for the town of Darien, CT and then used her masters degree in music education to teach. She taught band and orchestra for over ten years before playing the trombone for national Broadway tours and on cruise ships. Rita settled in New York City in 2000 and has been performing as both an instrumentalist and actor. She is a past president of Crossdressers International and is an avid supporter of TLDEF.
Samuel Rosh, Legal Intern
Sammy is a native New Yorker from Bayside, Queens. He graduated from Hunter College High School and Wesleyan University, majoring in the College of Social Studies and Economics. He has completed his first year at Columbia Law School and expects to graduate in 2018. He is passionate about advancing the rights of LGBT people. In his spare time, he enjoys reading fiction and biographies.
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Charles Russak, Legal Intern
Charlie is a native of Westfield, New Jersey and is a graduate of Ithaca College, where he obtained a B.A. in history. After a year working for an Americorps program where he served in a Philadelphia k-8 school, Charlie made the decision to attend law school. He is currently enrolled at Columbia Law School in New York City, where he volunteers as a teacher for the High School Law Institute and is involved in various other campus groups. Charlie is set to graduate from Columbia Law School in 2018. Charlie is passionate about social justice and seeks to use the law in positive and meaningful ways to improve the lives of others. He also enjoys Chinese food, naps, and a good book.
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Michael D. Silverman, Founder
Michael is TLDEF's founder and outgoing Executive Director, a position he has held since he founded the organization in 2003. He has worked as an attorney in the LGBT civil rights movement since 1994. In addition to his work at TLDEF, Michael is Adjunct Professor of Law at Fordham University School of Law, where he teaches courses on gender, sexuality and the law.
As a cooperating attorney with Lambda Legal, Michael worked on a number of groundbreaking cases, including Baehr v. Miike, one of the earliest challenges to restrictions on the freedom to marry, and Boy Scouts of America v. Dale. In that case, Michael represented a coalition of religious organizations opposed to the Scouts’ exclusionary policy, and his brief (cover, tables, brief) submitted to the United States Supreme Court on their behalf was cited in the opinion of the dissenting justices. While on a Georgetown University Law Center Women’s Law and Public Policy Fellowship, Michael taught in the law school’s domestic violence clinic and worked in the legal department at NARAL Pro-Choice America.
Immediately prior to joining TLDEF, Michael worked for four years in New York Lawyers for the Public Interest’s Access to Health Care Program and Disability Law Center. In that capacity, he provided technical assistance to numerous community groups seeking to end discrimination in access to health care on the basis of race and ethnicity. He also successfully prosecuted large scale litigation in conjunction with the United States Department of Justice against hospitals for violations of, among other things, the Americans With Disabilities Act. He is thrilled to be back in the movement for transgender equality.
Michael is a graduate of Vassar College and The University of Michigan Law School.
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Jillian Weiss, Executive Direrctor
Jillian T. Weiss is a nationally recognized transgender rights attorney and law professor with three decades of legal experience. Jillian has a powerful track record of fighting for the rights of transgender people in the workplace. Her cases have resulted in landmark settlements and rulings increasing protections for transgender employees and sending an unmistakable message that employment bias will not be tolerated. She is also one of the nation’s preeminent transgender discrimination scholars who keenly understands the power of the courts and progressive government in achieving transgender equality under the law.
Prior to her appointment, Weiss was a tenured Professor of Law and Society at Ramapo College of New Jersey and the founder of the Law Office of Jillian T. Weiss P.C. She has a Ph.D. in Law, Policy and Society from Northeastern University and a J.D. from Seton Hall Law School, as well as a B.A. in Classics from Yeshiva University. Among her milestone cases are Jamal v. Saks & Co., an employment discrimination case against Saks Fifth Avenue, and Chavez v. Credit Nation Auto Sales, LLC, in which the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit ruled that a transgender woman may take her employment discrimination case against a Georgia auto sales company to trial.
In 2014, the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission chose her client’s case as the first of two to be litigated by the Commission on behalf of a transgender employee. EEOC v. Lakeland Eye Clinic, PA, resulted in a six-figure settlement. The Department of Justice followed suit in March 2015, in the case of US v. Southeastern Oklahoma State University, which is pending in an Oklahoma federal court. In addition, Weiss and the EEOC brought a transgender employment discrimination lawsuit against Deluxe Financial Services, Inc., one of the nation’s largest check-printing companies. The suit resulted in a large settlement and sweeping workplace policy changes at the company.
Jillian is a past board member of Lambda Legal, has been Chair of the annual Trans Law Symposium, and has consulted with private and public organizations regarding gender identity policy and employee gender transitions, including Harvard University, Boeing and New York City.
Jillian is committed to dismantling the systemic discrimination that inordinately burdens trans people, particularly people of color and others caught at the intersection of multiple forms of prejudice, such as race, class and gender bias.
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Sara Wight, Legal Assistant
Sara is an activist and artist based in New York City, originally from Long Island, New York. They graduated from Fordham University at Lincoln Center in 2014 with a Bachelor’s in History and Anthropology. They have pushed the transgender agenda in their personal and professional life, and have been profiled by Refinery29. After interning for a year here at TLDEF they are very excited to become a more active member of staff. They are passionate about social justice and exploring the different needs of intersectional identities. When not at TLDEF Sara enjoys doing yoga, reading, and exploring all the food New York City has to offer.
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Ezra Young, Staff Attorney
Ezra is TLDEF’s staff attorney. His work centers on trans rights, with a focus on rights of recognition, employment protections, and health care and insurance coverage issues.
Ezra has represented trans clients in several ground-breaking Title VII cases, including: Jamal v. Saks, Chavez v. Credit Nation Auto Sales, EEOC v. Deluxe Financial Services, EEOC v. Lakeland Eye Clinic, and United States et al. v. Southeastern Oklahoma State University et al.. Ezra has also represented trans clients in administrative actions across the country, including appeals cases seeking coverage for transition related medical care. In early 2016, Ezra won an appeals case before the Medicare Appeals Council, the first case in which the Council ordered a health plan to cover vaginal reconstruction surgery for a transgender woman.
Ezra received a BA in Philosophy from Cornell University. Ezra received his JD from Columbia Law School. While in law school, Ezra was Executive Managing Editor of the Columbia Journal of Gender and Law and Online & Consulting Editor of the Columbia Journal of Race and Law.
Ezra served as Post Doctoral Scholar at Columbia Law School from 2012 to 2014, focussing on trans rights, critical race theory, and intersectionality; Ezra’s studies were supervised by Professor Kimberlé Crenshaw. Concurrently, Ezra served as research director of the Columbia Center for Intersectionality and Social Policy Studies and legal director of the African American Policy Forum.
Prior to joining TLDEF, Ezra was an associate at the Law Firm of Jillian T. Weiss, P.C.
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