TLDEF Appoints Experienced Litigator David Brown as Legal Director


July 17, 2019

New York, NY - Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund (TLDEF) today announced the appointment of David Brown as Legal Director, marking an important step in the growth of TLDEF’s team of lawyers fighting to confront the immense challenges facing transgender and non-binary people across the country.

Brown is a civil rights attorney who has dedicated his entire career to justice and equity and brings more than a decade of litigation experience to this role. He has led teams challenging restrictions on abortion and contraceptive access in state and federal courts throughout the nation, including the United States Supreme Court; represented transgender and non-binary clients in groundbreaking litigation; and participated in numerous asylum cases.

In his role, Brown will design and spearhead TLDEF’s legal strategies with a focus on the most vulnerable in our communities. He will build, lead, and mentor an in-house legal team and represent TLDEF in a variety of activist, legal, and public spaces in service of the organization’s goals and priorities.

“We are excited to welcome David as our Legal Director at this critical time in the movement for transgender equality,” said TLDEF Executive Director Andy Marra. “David has spent his career working on behalf of those most vulnerable to discrimination and often in hostile places. David brings a wealth of insight and skills to TLDEF at a time when transgender and non-binary people face an increasing barrage of attacks on multiple fronts. We look forward to having David join our team where he will undoubtedly advance our mission.”

“I am honored to take on this new role with TLDEF, an organization I love and with which I have a long history,” Brown said. “I believe legal advocacy achieves the best results when it is part of a social movement, and lawsuits have the greatest impact when they are intersectional. In my new role, I will work to bring high-impact cases that, while focusing on discrimination because of gender identity, also acknowledge that transgender and non-binary people face multiple sources of oppression because of their race, class, citizenship status, and disability. Bringing an intersectional perspective to movement lawyering allows us to represent and amplify the voices of the greatest possible range of stakeholders in the transgender community.”

“Additionally,” Brown continued, “the Supreme Court’s upcoming decision in the Harris Funeral Homes v. Stephens case will mark a huge turning point, and I am eager to work with TLDEF at this pivotal moment to help shape the next generation of our movement’s legal work.”

On July 3, TLDEF filed a historic amicus brief in that case, joining 33 civil rights organizations asking the Court to affirm that under federal law a person cannot be fired for being transgender.

Brown joins TLDEF from the Lawyering Project, an organization dedicated to advancing reproductive health care access and challenging state-imposed restrictions on abortion and other forms of reproductive healthcare, which he helped found in 2017. Previously, he served as an attorney at the Center for Reproductive Rights and practiced at the firm of Cleary, Gottlieb, Steen & Hamilton. He received his law degree from the University of Michigan Law School. Brown originally joined TLDEF as a member of its first class of law clerks in 2007 and served on TLDEF’s Board of Directors from 2009 to 2017.

Prior to pursuing law, Brown focused his advocacy in Central America and Mexico. He served as a researcher on the human rights situation of LGBTQ populations in Honduras. In addition, Brown served as a grant-maker at the American Jewish World Service where he established the first-ever LGBTQ grantmaking portfolio focused on the region. He is fluent in Spanish.

Brown’s first day is July 22 where one of his first priorities will be to hire a Staff Attorney. To learn more about the position and to apply, please visit the TLDEF website.

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