Tuesday, June 22, 2010
National LGBT Bar Association Honors L.A. Attorney Jon Davidson
By a MetNews Staff Writer
The National LGBT Bar Association yesterday named Los Angeles attorney Jon W. Davidson as this year’s recipient of the Dan Bradley Award, the group’s highest honor.
Davidson is the legal director for Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund, which describes itself as the oldest and largest national legal organization committed to achieving full recognition of the civil rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender individuals and persons with HIV.
The association said Davidson will receive the award Aug. 26 at the association’s Lavender Law Conference in Miami Beach, Fla.
A member of the State Bar of California since 1979, Davidson has been working full-time as an LGBT-rights lawyer for more than 22 years, first at the ACLU of Southern California and then with Lambda Legal for the past 15 years.
“Jon Davidson’s hard work and vision have delivered some of the most important victories in the legal struggle for LGBT equality,” D’Arcy Kemnitz, executive director of the National LGBT Bar Association, said. “On behalf of our members, we would like to offer our congratulations and gratitude for all he has done on behalf of the LGBT community.”
Davidson told the MetNews that “it feels really great when your peers recognize your work,” and credited the association as “an important voice in the LGBT community and a great resource for lawyers serving the community.”
The award is named for attorney Dan Bradley, the founder of the American Bar Association Section of Individual Rights and Responsibility’s Committee on the Rights of Gay People, and recognizes the efforts of a member of the LGBT legal community whose work, like Bradley’s, “has led the way in our struggle for equality under the law.”
President Carter in 1979 appointed Bradley to head the independent Legal Services Corporation, which provides legal services to the poor in civil matters. At his retirement in 1982, Bradley was the highest ranking federal official at the time to have admitted publicly that he was gay.
He lived and practiced law in Miami until his death of AIDS in 1988, when colleagues and supporters on Capitol Hill credited the Legal Services Corporation’s survival to Bradley’s personal efforts to fight the Reagan administration’s plans to abolish it.
Davidson attended Stanford University and Yale Law School, and began his legal career as an associate, and later partner, at Irell & Manella.
He previously served as a presenter of the award at the Lavender Law Conference, and in 1996 accepted it on behalf of gay rights activist and attorney Tom Stoddard, Lambda Legal’s former executive director, who was too sick to attend. Stoddard died of AIDS in 1997.
“Like Dan Bradley, Jon Davidson sees the law as a powerful instrument of social justice,” Kemnitz said. “Every day, Jon and his team at Lambda Legal place their skills as advocates at the service of a vulnerable community. He is long overdue for this honor.”
The National LGBT Bar Association said over 1,000 practicing attorneys, law students, scholars and members of the judiciary are expected to attend the three-day Lavender Law Conference, which will feature over 35 workshops and panel discussions.
The national association is made up of lawyers, judges and other legal professionals, law students, activists and affiliated lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender legal organizations. It describes its mission as promoting “justice in and through the legal profession for the LGBT community in all its diversity.”
Copyright 2010, Metropolitan News Company