Sullivan & Cromwell has a long tradition of supporting its LGBT lawyers and non-legal personnel and of serving the LGBT community through pro bono legal representations and other contributions to LGBT causes (see LGBT Pro Bono Activities below). The Firm is proud of, and values, this ongoing commitment to promoting equality and rewarding merit without regard to sexual orientation or gender identification.
The “LGBT Network” was organized in order to further the Firm’s commitment to the LGBT community as a whole, provide a nurturing social and professional community for LGBT individuals within the Firm and enhance the inclusive environment of the Firm overall.
Among other things, the LGBT Network:
- facilitates S&C’s involvement in LGBT pro bono work and its support of LGBT organizations;
- promotes recruitment of LGBT personnel; and
- organizes professional, social, and educational events.
Sullivan & Cromwell and our individual lawyers are proud to support many organizations dedicated to the LGBT community, just a few of which are listed below:
- ACLU Lesbian and Gay Rights Project and AIDS Project
- Empire State Pride Agenda
- Human Rights Campaign
- Immigration Equality
- Lambda Legal
- Lavender Law
- SAGE (Services for Advocacy for LGBT Elders)
- Servicemembers Legal Defense Network
- The Trangender Legal Defense and Education Fund
- The Trevor Project
For more information about Sullivan & Cromwell’s commitment to the LGBT community, or about what it is like to be open at the Firm, please contact any of the following individuals, who represent a cross-section of the larger LGBT community at S&C:
- David H. Braff (Litigation)
- Mitchell S. Eitel (Corporate)
- David B. Hariton (Tax)
- Steven L. Holley (Litigation)
- Alexa M. Lawson-Remer (Litigation)
- Kristin B. Lee (Corporate)
- David B. Rockwell (Corporate)
- Bradley P. Smith (Litigation)
- Adam A. Sofen (Corporate)
- Donald J. Toumey (Corporate)
- Davis J. Wang (Tax)
- Frederick Wertheim (Corporate)
Sullivan & Cromwell has a long-standing commitment to providing pro bono legal assistance to members of the LGBT community. In addition to the pro bono matters handled by our lawyers, the Firm also sponsors several pro bono projects and community activities.
Below are a few cases in which S&C lawyers have provided such legal services:
- S&C, as co-counsel with the ACLU, filed equal protection and due process challenges to a North Carolina law prohibiting second parent adoptions, in effect depriving both parents in a same–sex couple from creating legal relationships with their children. Following the Supreme Court’s Windsor decision, new Constitutional challenges to laws prohibiting marriage by same-sex couples were added. After briefing, on October 14, 2014, Judge Osteen of the Middle District of North Carolina entered judgment for S&C’s clients and issued an order and opinion declaring North Carolina’s ban against same-sex marriage to be unconstitutional and enjoining its enforcement. The court did so after the Fourth Circuit affirmed the district court decision in Bostic v. Schaefer, applying strict scrutiny to find Virginia’s marriage ban unconstitutional, and noting in a footnote the similarities between Virginia’s and North Carolina’s marriage bans. S&C filed an amicus brief in the Bostic case. Several of our clients have now married or had their out of state marriages recognized in North Carolina and taken steps to obtain second parent adoptions.
- S&C’s effort to defeat state laws prohibiting gays or lesbians from serving as foster and adoptive parents continues in Nebraska. In April 2014, the Honorable John A. Colborn of the District Court of Lancaster County, Nebraska, denied in its entirety the State of Nebraska’s motion to dismiss constitutional claims filed on behalf of S&C pro bono clients—three gay or lesbian couples—to strike down an administrative policy that categorically prohibits them, on the basis of their sexual orientation, from serving as foster and adoptive parents to children in state custody.
- S&C continues to partner with Immigration Equality to represent applicants from nations around the world seeking asylum on the basis of sexual orientation.
- S&C sponsors the Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund’s name change clinic, which serves low-income members of the transgender community in New York who are seeking to change their legal names to conform to their gender identities. Recently, S&C celebrated the 150th name change in which the Firm had been involved.
- 2014 marked the 25th year that S&C lawyers have hosted a bi-weekly legal clinic at New York-Presbyterian Hospital’s Center for Special Studies and its Gay Men’s Health Crisis satellite location to provide estate planning services to impoverished individuals living with AIDS and HIV. Since 1989, lawyers at the Firm have dedicated more than 14,000 hours to the project.
- S&C lawyers joined with the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) to challenge an Arkansas statute, Act 1, which prohibited unmarried cohabiting couples from serving as adoptive or foster parents. On April 7, 2011, the Arkansas Supreme Court struck down Act 1 as an unconstitutional violation of fundamental privacy rights under the Arkansas Constitution, allowing same-sex and unmarried opposite-sex couples to adopt in Arkansas.
In 1994, Sullivan & Cromwell became one of the first global firms to provide health coverage to the same-sex domestic partners of its employees. Today, the Firm also provides Family and Medical Leave Act leave, adoption assistance, relocation assistance, and other benefits to same-sex domestic partners. Sullivan & Cromwell lawyers from the Estates and Personal Group also are available to assist with respect to powers of attorney, visitation instructions and healthcare proxies, which have particular importance to LGBT personnel and their families. Specific questions about the benefits provided by Sullivan & Cromwell may be directly addressed to Melanie Corpuz.