Dr. Jillian T. Weiss

Transgender Law Institute 2011 Schedule Announced

Filed By Dr. Jillian T. Weiss | May 04, 2011 12:30 PM | comments

Filed in: The Movement, Transgender & Intersex
Tags: D'Arcy Kemnitz, Dru Levasseur, Julie Greenberg, Lambda Legal, Lavender Law, Matt Wood, Michael Lauro, National LGBT Bar Association, Outten & Golden, Seth Marnin, TLI, Transgender Law Center, Transgender Law Institute

Soon, it will be time again for the Transgender Law Institute at the National LGBT Bar Association Conference and Career Fair. slide-hotel5.jpg Last year's TLI, our first, was a great success, with over 75 lawyers in attendance. Our planning committee has just decided on the schedule for the 2011 Institute.

The 2011 Institute will be held on September 8, 2011, prior to the main "Lavender Law" conference (as that conference is colloquially known). It is being held in Hollywood, California, at the Hollywood Renaissance Hotel.

The Institute may be a bit controversial in some circles. Far be it from me to stir the pot, but I do think the issue is worth discussing. This Institute is, in some senses, an outgrowth of the "Transgender Roundtable," an informal gathering of advocates who actively practice in the area to discuss strategy, which grew out of the "LGBT Litigator's Roundtable". Strategy is important, because one bad legal precedent or policy decision can cause legal headaches for decades. On the other hand, the Transgender Roundtable has been somewhat controversial in trans legal circles on the grounds that an elite group of lawyers, many of whom are not trans, should not be deciding these matters for the community. What are your thoughts on that, and how should we handle this issue at the Transgender Law Institute?

Discussion of that, and the schedule, after the jump. Click here to apply.

For this year's program, we'll be looking to invite some local community members to try to address the issues along with us. It's not a complete solution, but we are sensitive to the concern about elitism and community involvement. I, for one, think it's an important point, though I don't pretend to have all the answers. In any event, this Institute is not the Transgender Roundtable. We're not deciding on strategy. We're just discussing it. (Maybe that's the same thing, I don't know, but I do know I'm on the hook to plan it, so it's too late for me to beg off.)

The theme of this year's Institute is "Developing Competence and Expertise in Trans Representation."

8:30-9:00 Coffee/Tea
9:00-10:30 Survey of Transgender Litigation

10:45-12:15
Choice of four breakout sessions, the first part of which will be a presentation by community advocates regarding their experiences, followed by a facilitated discussion amongst the entire group in the breakout session.

Breakout Session 1: Employment Law 101
Breakout Session 2: Employment Litigation for Experts
Breakout Session 3: Identity Documents 101
Breakout Session 4: Identity Document Litigation for Experts

12:15-1:45 Lunch - Discussion of Intersex Issues

1:45-3:00
Choice of four breakout sessions, the first part of which will be a presentation by community advocates regarding their experiences, followed by a facilitated discussion amongst the entire group in the breakout session.

Breakout Session 1: Trans Incarcerees 101
Breakout Session 2: Trans Incarceree Litigation for Experts
Breakout Session 3: Health Benefits 101
Breakout Session 4: Insurance coverage Litigation for Experts

3:15-4:30 Discussion: What is "competent" representation for a trans client?

Click here to apply.

Thank you to D'Arcy Kemnitz, Executive Director of the National LGBT Bar Association, for providing us with space and resources to put this on, and the Planning Committee, composed of myself, Dru Levasseur of Lambda Legal, Seth Marnin of Outten & Golden, Matt Wood of Transgender Law Center, Julie Greenberg of Thomas Jefferson Law School, Natalie Hrubos of Greenberg, Traurig and Michael Lauro, Esq. of Lauro Law, PLLC, Little Rock, Arkansas. Also big thanks to Ben Schock, administrative assistant.


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I'm happy to see that health benefits and insurance litigation are being looked at. This has been a pet issue of mine as a result of having to fight with the insurance bureaucracy to get medical care as a trans person.

The other topics are important too. Thanks for getting this together!

Health benefits are defintely key. As a former insurance coverage litigator, I believe that transsexual exclusions will eventually be ruled illegal by court action.

Branigirl | May 4, 2011 7:56 PM

Jillain While I agree that Transsexual exclusion will eventually be ruled Illegal as they should be. I do However think that the requirement for letters of recommendations and the need for a GI/GID diagnosis by a trained gender professional will be still be required in order for Insurance companies to be required to cover any procedures....something I am in complete agreement with.

Yes, Branigirl, certainly proper medical procedure would need to be followed, and the "reasonable and necessary" provisions of the standard insurance contract would still apply.

OMG! I wish I was a lawyer! So far it is 2 to 0 ,Me against lawyers! I have won two cases, and I am just a amateur! I wish I could attend this conference! Dr. Jillian I really need to meet you!
You have really impressed me!

Well don't keep us in suspense, Regina. What cases did you win?

Well don't keep us in suspense, Regina. What cases did you win?

Can I start an Internet meme that you're holding a "secret meeting" that tries to exclude people? :)

Seriously tho, will folks be live tweeting the day or will there be video (streaming or released later)?

There's no plans for video or live tweeting. In fact, the session is "closed" and one has to submit an application and get approved in order to attend. Our website, carried over from last year's, says the following:

"To create an environment that encourages the free flow of information, registration is limited. The meeting will be closed, the proceedings will not be recorded, and the Institute does not qualify for continuing legal education (CLE) credit.

To help guarantee that the level of discourse remains at a high level, and to ensure that all participants are able to contribute meaningfully to the conversation, we are asking that interested parties submit their information on the following application."

I'm personally not sure whether this is all a good idea. The original intent of this last year, as I understood it, was to prevent litigators from firms representing potentially anti-trans employers and organizations from accessing our strategy discussions. Since then, the Institute's planning committee has, in my unofficial opinion, moved away from the "Transgender Roundtable" approach. Nonetheless, we do vet all applicants, and reserve the right to deny some admission. I argued against this last year, but was overruled, and we did start out by only admitting a select few, Over the course of a month or so, the weight of opinion shifted, and we ended up admitting everyone who asked. I think this year will probably wind up the same way. But I believe we still feel that if Maggie Gallagher et al applied we would reserve the right to say no.