The LGBT Bar Association of Los Angeles (“LGBT Bar LA”), formerly known as Lawyers for Human Rights (“LHR”) and the Lesbian and Gay Lawyers Association of Los Angeles ("LGLA"), conducted its first meeting in April 1979 at The Old Spaghetti Factory on Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood. The organization was formed in the aftermath of a bitter battle over Proposition 6, a ballot measure backed by State Senator John Briggs seeking to ban homosexuals from the profession of teaching in California.
The idea for the a gay lawyers group had first occurred to Susan McGrievy as a means to provide assistance in doing gay rights litigation while she was working at The Gay and Lesbian Community Services Center. Ray Hatler, who did much of the initial organizing and served as the group’s first president, was inspired by a gay law student group that had been formed by Thomas F. Coleman and Jerold A. Krieger (who later became a Superior court Judge and was LGBT Bar LA's second Pesident).
LGBT Bar LA became an affiliate of the Los Angeles County Bar association in the mid-1980s and has taken positions on a number of bar-related issues, in addition to representing our community at local and State Bar Functions. LGBT Bar LA is also an affiliate of the National LGBT Bar Association, which itself is an affiliate of the American Bar Association. The National LGBT Bar Association, through its non-profit foundation, hosts the annual Lavender Law Conference with the assistance of LGBT Bar LA's Board representative and representatives of similar organizations around the country.
Through these affiliations, LGBT Bar LA has been a strong voice of influence regarding LGBT issues within the legal profession. Today, LGBT Bar LA continues its mission to advocate for the concerns of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender lawyers through making judicial endorsements, writing amicus briefs, participating in the Los Angeles County Bar Association and the State Bar's Conference of Delegates, and providing education, networking and social opportunities for its members. LGBT Bar LA is also an active member of The Multicultural Bar Alliance of Southern California, which is an affiliation of more than fifteen minority bar associations working to promote diversity in the profession and the community.
LGBT Bar LA regularly presents educational and social events, including the Annual Anniversary Dinner Gala, events at the Hollywood Bowl, Summer Associate Reception, the Rand Schrader Law Student Reception, Annual Holiday Party, meetings with topical speakers, networking opportunities with other LGBT organizations, and numerous other events. LGBT Bar LA is also a State Bar certified Continuing Legal Education Provider and regularly holds CLE events.
In addition, LGBT Bar LA offers the William J. Clayton Student Mentorship Program to provide mentors to law students. LGBT Bar LA also administers and raises funds for the Donald L. Snow Scholarship, which it awards to deserving law students each year.
LGBT Bar LA encourages its members participate in a variety of pro bono activities throughout the year. LGBT Bar LA promotes the interests of its members, and the LGBT community as a whole, by preparing and/or joining amicus briefs filed in legal cases raising issues of importance to the community.