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February 10, 2012 3:37 PM

Am Law Lawyers Added to LGBT Bar Association Board

Posted by Tom Huddleston Jr.

Gibson_Jason_SWhen the National Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender (LGBT) announced the latest appointments to its board of directors this week, six lawyers from Am Law 100 firms were among those claiming spots on the American Bar Association affiliate's leadership panel. 

The appointments included the elevation of current board member Jason Gibson (left), a Holland & Knight associate, to the post of president-elect. Gibson will hold the title for a year before beginning his one-year term as board president next February.

The new LGBT board members with Am Law ties include Winston & Strawn litigation partner Nicole Dogwill, who takes over as treasurer and Quinn, Emanuel, Urquhart & Sullivan litigation associate Brad Rosen, who becomes development committee chair. Dewey & LeBoeuf real estate associate Ashley Dunn, Littler Mendelson labor and employment shareholder Kevin Kraham, and Hogan Lovells telecommunications associate Mark Brennan join the board as at-large members.

The organization also announced that its charitable arm, the National LGBT Bar Foundation, has several new members. Appointees to the foundation board include Greenberg Traurig litigation counsel Joseph Vallo, who will serve as treasurer, and Baker & Hostetler litigation associate Brian Esser, who joins as an at-large board member.

"Under this leadership, we are better positioned than ever to expand the services available to our members, and to be the leading voice of LGBT legal issues," LGBT bar executive director D'Arcy Kemnitz said in a statement.

Founded in 1989, the Washington, D.C.–based LGBT bar group became an official ABA affiliate three years later. Its 2,500 members include a variety of legal professionals, students, activists, and affiliated LGBT legal organizations.

Gibson, 34, a real estate associate in Holland & Knight's Fort Lauderdale office, was nominated for the president-elect's position by his fellow board members. A board member since 2007, Gibson most recently served as treasurer. He will succeed current president Jeff Schimelfenig, the national director of project management for legal placement company Kelly Law Registry.

As president-elect, Gibson expects to travel frequently from his Florida office to the association's D.C. headquarters, as well as to meetings and events around the country. He says he is eager to help the group grow. Another priority, Gibson says, is expanding the association's CLE offerings as part of a broader effort to promote an understanding of legal issues faced by members of the LGBT community.

"My goal going forward would be to improve upon and expand our current offerings of CLE programs for lawyers," Gibson says. "We can serve more people. I just think we still need to get our name out there and be a resource to them."

At Holland & Knight, Gibson says he is active in his local office diversity committee, as well as with the firm's LGBT affinity group.

Holland & Knight was one of 139 firms rated by the Human Rights Campaign—the country's largest LGBT advocacy group—for their LGBT-friendly policies in the HRC's 2012 Corporate Equality Index. Gibson's firm received a score of 90, out of a possible 100, on the most recent CEI.

Of the Am Law firms represented by the new LGBT and foundation board members, Winston & Strawn, Dewey, Littler, and Hogan Lovells received perfect scores in HRC's 2012 index—released in December—and Greenberg Traurig received an 85. Quinn Emanuel and Baker & Hostetler did not participate and were not rated.

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