Jennifer C. Pizer has been named permanent chief legal officer of Lambda Legal, the oldest and largest national legal organization working for the rights of LGBTQ+ people and those living with HIV. S
Pizer has beem acting CLO since June, leading a department of 26 attorneys and 11 paraprofessionals with offices in Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, New York City, and Washington, D.C.
“Jenny Pizer has dedicated her life’s work to the cause of LGBTQ equality and inclusion, and Lambda Legal specifically, with a history dating back to when she was a legal intern in the ‘80s and a board member in the ‘90’s before joining the staff in 1996,” Lambda Legal CEO Kevin Jennings said in a press release. “The immense respect our movement holds for her was symbolized in July when the National LGBTQ+ Bar Association awarded her its highest honor, the Dan Bradley Award. At a moment when we face daunting and unprecedented threats to our community, Jenny brings the experience and wisdom we need to lead Lambda Legal’s litigation and policy work into our next 50 years.”
“Lambda Legal continues to secure protections for LGBTQ people nationwide, defending our most vulnerable against the onslaught of attacks in statehouses and the random abuses inflicted daily because too many in this country are still learning who we are — still see us as some kind of dangerous threat,” Pizer said in the release. “Our nearly 50-year history of strategic successes proves that challenging these injustices leads to law reform, which can save lives and create futures. I am honored to continue to lead Lambda Legal’s team of incredibly talented attorneys during this critical time.”
Pizer has worked on cases covering issues such as marriage and family equality, ending discrimination, protecting refugees, and stopping the misuse of religion to license discrimination. She has also developed legislation, advised policymakers, and worked with community advocates to advance family law and nondiscrimination protections and to confront overbroad religious exemptions.
Pizer has taught law school courses and given presentations for the U.S. State Department. She consults with lawyers seeking to secure legal protections for LGBTQ+ people in other countries and serves as cochair of the board of Outright International, which conducts research, training, movement resourcing, and advocacy to advance the human rights of LGBTQ+ people globally.
She received the Dan Bradley Award this summer at Lavender Law, the National LGBTQ+ Bar Association’s annual conference. She has received many other community service and professional achievement awards, including from New York University School of Law, the California Assembly, the city of Los Angeles, API Equality-LA, the Greater Seattle Business Association, and just this month, Equality California. She has been named one of California’s top women lawyers seven times. She is a graduate of NYU School of Law and Harvard/Radcliffe College.
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