Helen Casale Reflects on ABA Litigation’s Inaugural LGBT Forum

Hangley Aronchick Family Law’s Helen Casale helped organize the Litigation Section of the American Bar Association’s (ABA) first ever LGBT Forum in San Francisco, California. Earlier this month, the forum brought together thought leaders, advocates, and politicians to discuss some of the most pressing issues facing this community.

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Almost 250 ABA members attended this two day forum, which gave attendees a mix of substantive and lifestyle programs. Some of the most popular programs included discussions around post- Obergefell issues, how to navigate a hostile political climate, and advice for young lawyers. These panel discussions were supplemented by unique mentorship opportunities, such as the dine around, which invited participants to try local cuisine with other attendees in order to experience the wonders of San Francisco while also gaining career insight.

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The conference highlighted not only the need for this type of outlet, but how up-and-coming lawyers can benefit from mentorship. During the LGBT forum, there were many informal settings which allowed attendees to make professional and personal connections to members from all over the nation.

One of my favorite stories to come out of the LGBT Forum was one told by our keynote speaker, Tina Tchen.

hcrecap2 Tina, a lawyer who was an assistant to President Obama and later Chief of Staff to First Lady Michelle Obama, was in the room when the President received word of the Obergefell decision. Upon hearing the news, Tina decided to turn the White House outdoor lights rainbow to celebrate this historic decision.

This was just one of many compelling and inspiring stories to come out of the LGBT Forum. I thank each speaker for their time and dedication to not only our program, but to the entire LGBT community.
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After over two years of planning, I couldn’t be more pleased with the response from the panelists, the organizers, and of course the participants. As the first time any section of the ABA has ever put on a conference tackling this topic, we’ve provided a robust platform in which to build future sessions. I’m looking forward to continuing the education and advancement of LGBT members of our legal community.

By Helen Casale

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