Founded in 1990, the LGBT Bar Association of the District of Columbia is an independent, non-partisan bar association serving gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender lawyers, law students, and legal professionals in the national capital area. The LGBT Bar Association of DC works to advance the interests of the LGBT community, to be their voice within the legal community, and to improve their professional lives. An affiliate of the National LGBT Bar Association, the LGBT Bar Association of DC acts in coalition with other local and national groups dedicated to LGBT concerns.
The LGBT Bar Association of DC’s advocacy and activities on behalf of the LGBT community include:
- Raising issues of concern with officers and directors of the American Bar Association, the D.C. Bar and other state and voluntary bars.
- Sponsoring a Mentorship Program.
- Recruiting and training volunteers to provide pro bono legal services for people living with HIV/AIDS through Whitman-Walker Clinic.
- Co-sponsoring the D.C. Bar Candidates Forum and endorsing candidates for local bar offices and the judiciary.
- Hosting continuing legal education programs, social activities and other membership networking events.
- Sponsoring public forums on legal issues of concern to the LGBT community.
The mission of the LGBT Bar Association of DC is to advance the rights of persons in the LGBT community, to be their voice within the legal community, and to improve their professional lives.
The LGBT Bar Association of DC, is a nonprofit 501(c)(6) tax-exempt corporation supported entirely by its members and other private contributors. Contributions are not deductible as charitable contributions for Federal income tax purposes, but membership dues may be deductible as a business expense to the extent permitted by law.
DON DAVIS is an Employment, Labor & Benefits Associate in the Washington, DC office of Mintz Levin. His practice involves representing employers in a wide variety of workplace-related matters. Before joining Mintz Levin, Don was Senior Litigation Associate at Ackerman Brown, an LGBT-owned law firm in Washington, DC, and previously practiced at an employment litigation boutique in North Carolina. A graduate of The Ohio State University’s Moritz College of Law, Don is a proud Buckeyes fan, despite the fact that he grew up in North Carolina. Don was recognized as one of the nation’s Top LGBT Lawyers Under 40 by the National LGBT Bar Association in the summer of 2015. Having also been active in LGBT issue advocacy in North Carolina prior to moving to Washington, Don now serves on the SMYAL Board of Directors here in Washington. Don and his husband Nick enjoy the many cultural and recreational opportunities the DC area has to offer.
KATIE O’CONNOR is the Director of Policy Development and Programming at the American Constitution Society for Law and Policy, where she and develops and implements national programming for ACS’s Democracy & Voting and Equality & Liberty portfolios. Before joining ACS, Katie was a staff attorney with the Voter Protection Program at Advancement Project, where she coordinated and advocated with local and state election officials, legislators, and community organizations to ensure fair and accessible elections. Prior to joining Advancement Project, she worked as a staff attorney with the ACLU Voting Rights Project in Atlanta, where she litigated several federal court challenges to laws that burdened the fundamental right to vote. Katie received her B.S. from the Georgia Institute of Technology and her J.D. from Georgia State University College of Law.
JOSEPH VARDNER is an associate in the Washington, D.C. office of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher. His practice focuses primarily on antitrust, intellectual property, and consumer protection matters, including litigation, transactions, and client counseling. Mr. Vardner joined the firm in 2015 after serving as a trial attorney in the Antitrust Division of the U.S. Department of Justice, where he began his legal career through the Attorney General’s Honors Program. He earned his law degree cum laude from Harvard Law School in 2011, where he was a Heyman Fellow and served as the Submissions Editor for the Harvard Journal of Law & Technology. He also won the National Giles Rich Patent Moot Court before a panel of the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals. In 2006, Mr. Vardner received his Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering from the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA). He presently serves as an Adjunct Professor at the Georgetown University Law Center, where he teaches a course on U.S. Legal Discourse. Prior to law school, Mr. Vardner served as a judicial extern to the Honorable S. James Otero of the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California. Mr. Vardner is heavily involved in several volunteer and pro bono efforts, including work in DC Landlord-Tenant Court, as well as his service as a Member of the Trevor Project’s DC Ambassador’s Board, whose focus is raising awareness of mental health and youth suicide issues. Mr. Vardner is admitted to practice in California, the District of Columbia and is a member of the Federal District Court of Colorado bar.
MATT WETZEL is Vice President & Assistant General Counsel of the Advanced Medical Technology Association (AdvaMed), the world’s largest trade association of medical device manufacturers. At AdvaMed, Mr. Wetzel advocates on behalf of the medical device industry with respect to several key legal issues, including ethics and integrity, health care fraud and abuse concerns, anti-bribery/anti-corruption measures, and physician-industry transparency initiatives, among others. He also oversees the Association’s amicus curiae program. Prior to joining AdvaMed, Mr. Wetzel served as Senior Counsel, Global Compliance and Ethics at Boston Scientific Corporation. While there, he played an integral role in overseeing several critical elements of the company’s global compliance and privacy programs and advised on a variety of legal issues. Previously, Mr. Wetzel was as an Associate in the health care practices of Reed Smith LLP and Latham & Watkins LLP, both in Washington, D.C. Mr. Wetzel is also a trained executive and career coach, a member of the American Health Lawyers Association Diversity & Inclusion Council, and a Fellow of the Leadership Council on Legal Diversity. He received his J.D., cum laude, and his A.B., magna cum laude, from Georgetown University. He spends his spare time spoiling his English Bulldog, Boris.
SHANE SHANNON is an associate in the investment management practice at K&L Gates. Prior to moving to Washington D.C., Shane was associate general counsel for a Chicago-based asset manager where he advised on a variety of investment management and securities law matters, including the formation, registration, and ongoing operations of investment companies. While in law school, Shane interned for the SEC Division of Trading and Markets in Washington, D.C. and the SEC Division of Enforcement in Miami, Florida. He has particular experience advising on regulatory and compliance matters arising under the Investment Company Act of 1940, Investment Advisers Act of 1940, Securities Exchange Act of 1934, and Securities Act of 1933.
BRANDON ROMAN works at Squire Patton Boggs in developing comprehensive strategies to further assist clients with their legislative and regulatory interests before Congress, relevant congressional committees, and various regulatory agencies. Brandon also assists various non-profit organizations with their corporate formation, including assistance with obtaining tax-exempt status with the IRS and state-level tax regulators. He also advises nonprofit organization, such as charities and trade associations, on corporate governance and compliance issues. Prior to joining Squire Patton Boggs, he served as a judicial intern for Chief Judge Nancy V. Alquist of the United State Bankruptcy Court for the District of Maryland, as well as for Judge Laura Cordero of the Superior Court for the District of Columbia. Brandon also spent time in El Salvador where he leveraged his fluency in Spanish to assist ALDES (La Oficina de Asistencia Legal para la Diversidad Sexual El Salvador) in organizing the country’s first conference on LGBT rights.
VINCENT ALEXANDER is an Attorney-Advisor at the U.S. Department of the Interior, Office of the Solicitor, Division of General Law, Employment and Labor Law Unit. He was previously an associate attorney at Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP specializing in labor and employment matters. He was a member of Akin Gump’s 2013 summer associate class. He received his B.A. in Political Science from Miami University and his J.D. from Loyola University Chicago School of Law where he participated in Loyola’s Federal Tax Clinic and completed a semester externship with the Circuit Court of Cook County, Law Division.
MANUEL POSSOLO is an associate in the litigation department at Jenner & Block, where has worked on criminal investigations, civil litigation, and a variety of pro bono matters, including before the U.S. Supreme Court. He received a B.A. in Political Science from Brown University, an M.Phil. in Political Thought and Intellectual History from the University of Cambridge, and a J.D. from Stanford Law School. Mr. Possolo clerked for the Honorable Stanley Marcus on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit in Miami, and previously interned in the appellate division of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia. Mr. Possolo was a finalist in the Williams Institute Moot Court Competition at UCLA in 2013. His note–“Morals Legislation After Lawrence: Can States Criminalize the Sale of Sexual Devices?”–was awarded as the best note of Volume 65 of the Stanford Law Review.
MEGAN SCHAEFFER is the Chair of the Trusts & Estates practice group at Ackerman Brown PLLC, an LGBT-owned law firm in Washington, DC. Prior to joining Ackerman Brown, Megan was an associate in the Private Wealth Services group at Holland & Knight LLP. Megan grew up in the Washington, DC area. She attended DePaul University College of Law in Chicago for her law degree and received her undergraduate degree from Saint Mary’s College in Notre Dame, Indiana. While at Saint Mary’s College, Megan founded the first gay-straight student alliance in the nation to receive funding from a Catholic college. In law school, Megan was the president of DePaul’s student LGBT organization and was a board member of the Lesbian and Gay Bar Association of Chicago. As an estate planning attorney, Megan’s practice focuses on assisting LGBT families and individuals protect their assets and loved ones. Megan currently serves as the Chair of the Estate & Trust Study Group for the Maryland State Bar Association. In 2017, Megan was recognized as a “Rising Star” in the areas of estate planning and probate by D.C. Super Lawyers.
Law Student Representative
AMY ERNST is in her second year at American University Washington College of Law. Her focus is on human rights and public interest law. Before law school, Amy worked in crisis intervention with survivors and perpetrators of sexual assault in the United States and abroad.