D’Arcy Kemnitz, Esq.
D’Arcy brings more than two decades of non-profit and social justice experience to her role as The LGBTQ+ Bar’s executive director. Under her leadership, The Bar has become the largest and most recognized organization of LGBTQ+ legal professionals in the country. In addition to orchestrating a coalition of more than 25 local, state, and regional LGBTQ+ bar associations, and dozens of LGBTQ+ law student associations, D’Arcy has overseen the annual “Lavender Law” Conference and Career Fair with thousands of attendees each year.
D’Arcy is a frequently quoted expert on LGBTQ+ legal issues, appearing in media outlets including The ABA Journal, ABC News, Time Magazine, and others. She is a distinguished graduate of the University of Wisconsin and the Hamline University School of Law. She has experience speaking on a number of issues related to LGBTQ+ rights and the law and is available to speak at future events.
Judi O'Kelley, Esq.
Chief Program & Policy Officer
Judi joined the National LGBTQ+ Bar’s team in 2017, and works on a broad range of programmatic initiatives including building the annual Lavender Law Conference program, supporting the Bar’s law school affiliate program, and supporting the work of the Family Law Institute. Judi brings over twenty-five years of legal and political experience working for equality within the LGBTQ+ community. While in law school, she worked against anti-gay ballot initiatives in Oregon; after graduating and entering private practice, she moved to Georgia and worked on behalf of local and national LGBTQ+ groups as a pro bono attorney, drafting and lobbying for successful non-discrimination protections and domestic partnership benefit programs for several Georgia municipalities, including Atlanta and Athens. In 2004, she served as President and Campaign Chair for the campaign for the Athens, Georgia area in opposition to Georgia’s constitutional amendment banning same-sex unions, and continued grass-roots organizing and local political work after the campaign. Judi also was the lead plaintiff from 2004-2006 in the case of O’Kelley v. Perdue, in which Lambda Legal, the Georgia ACLU, and the law firm of Alston & Bird sought to strike down Georgia’s anti-marriage amendment. Judi then spent over eleven years on the staff and in senior management of Lambda Legal in roles ranging from Southern Regional Director, to Director of Life Planning, to Deputy Director of Development, to Director of Leadership. Along the way she moved to Seattle, Washington, where she is involved with a number of local LGBTQ+ groups as the Bar’s West Coast outpost.
Judi received her B.A. from Colorado College in 1990. After receiving her J.D. from the University of Oregon School of Law in 1996, she served as a law clerk for Judge James L. Oakes of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit and practiced appellate and employment law in Atlanta for Jones Day and two boutique law firms, before joining Lambda Legal in 2006. Judi has roots in the Washington, D.C. metro area as well as Juneau, Alaska, and is admitted to practice in DC, Alaska, and Georgia. She lives in Seattle with her spouse and twin college-age children, with whom she laughs, cooks, plays video games, and watches Star Trek.
Paul Thaler, Esq.
Chief Development Officer
Paul re-joins the National LGBTQ+ Bar Association and Foundation as the Director of Development. In this role, he is responsible for all of the LGBTQ+ Bar’s fundraising initiatives. Paul has substantial experience in fundraising, LGBTQ+ non-profit leadership, and law. Prior to this position, Paul served as the Director of Development for Reaching Out MBA, another LGBTQ+ nonprofit, as well the Director of External Affairs here at the LGBTQ+ Bar. In his prior role at the LGBTQ+ Bar, Paul was responsible for maintaining relationships with the organization’s internal and external constituents, which included corporations and law firms, as well as overseeing the Bar’s membership efforts. Paul has experience speaking on a number of issues related to LGBTQ+ rights and the law.
Paul is an attorney who previously worked with students in higher education, having served as the Assistant Director of the Law Career Development Office at the University of Baltimore School of Law, and, before that, practiced law for two litigation firms in the Baltimore area.
Paul received his J.D. from the University of Baltimore School of Law and an undergraduate degree from Muhlenberg College.
M. Dru Levasseur, Esq.
Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
Dru Levasseur is the Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion for the National LGBTQ+ Bar Association. As a leading figure in the LGBTQ+ equality movement for 25 years, 15 of which in the legal profession, Dru has extensive experience in law, advocacy, philanthropy, and community organizing. He leads the LGBTQ+ Bar’s DEI Consulting Practice, the only LGBTQ+ inclusion coaching and consulting program designed specifically to enable the implementation of best practice standards for LGBTQ+ equity across law firms, law schools, and companies.
Previously, Dru was Senior Attorney and Transgender Rights Project Director for Lambda Legal, the nation’s oldest and largest legal organization committed to achieving full recognition of the civil rights of LGBTQ+ people and people living with HIV. From 2009 to 2019, a critical time in history for advancing the civil rights of transgender people, Dru led Lambda Legal’s transgender rights work through strategy development, impact litigation, policy advocacy, and public education. He served as counsel in landmark impact litigation cases and amicus briefs in federal courts, including the U.S. Supreme Court. Dru represented Robina Asti, a 92-year-old WWII veteran, in a successful challenge to the Social Security Administration, leading to clarified policy for fairly processing survivor’s benefits. In McCreery v. Don’s Valley Market, he secured a landmark settlement before the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission for a transgender woman fired after transitioning in the workplace. He was co-counsel in Esquivel v. Oregon, resulting in the removal of discriminatory restrictions on transition-related health care for all transgender employees of the State of Oregon, and in Fields v. Smith, a federal case successfully challenging a discriminatory Wisconsin law barring its Department of Corrections from providing medically necessary care for transgender inmates. Under Dru’s decade of leadership, Lambda Legal’s transgender rights litigation docket more than tripled, integrating transgender rights across all areas of work, including health care, employment, education, criminal justice, housing and family law.
Dru was instrumental in the creation and development of Lambda Legal’s Transgender Rights Project in 2013, as well as Lambda’s most popular online publication, the Transgender Toolkit. He led the coalition work to publish the first Trans-Affirming Model Hospital Policy with the New York City Bar Association, Hogan Lovells, Proskauer Rose LLP, and the Human Rights Campaign. The guide has been well-received nationally by hospitals and adopted by government officials. As lead on Lambda Legal’s transgender rights advocacy efforts, Dru participated in the White House’s first transgender policy meeting in 2011, and met regularly with key federal, state and local officials, advising on development and implementation of policy. He represented Lambda Legal in international forums, including the World Health Organization in Geneva, Switzerland, and transgender rights INCLO convenings in Cape Town, South Africa and Buenos Aires, Argentina. A thought leader on cutting-edge issues, Dru authored “Gender Identity Defines Sex: Updating the Law to Reflect Modern Medical Science Is Key to Transgender Rights,” published by Vermont Law Review and excerpted in the book Love Unites Us, highlighting the future of LGBTQ+ rights.
Prior to joining Lambda Legal, Dru was the first staff attorney at Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund, and before that, served as a law clerk in the Massachusetts Superior Court. In 2007, Dru co-founded the Jim Collins Foundation, a trans-led national nonprofit that funds surgeries for transgender people in need, funding twenty surgeries in ten years. He continues to serve as a working group member for Grantmakers United for Trans Communities. Dru also serves on the boards of the ERA Coalition and Fund for Women’s Equality.
Dru is a highly sought-after keynote speaker and diversity, equity, and inclusion trainer for law firms, law schools, and Fortune 500 companies. A national and international media spokesperson, Dru has appeared in the New York Times, the Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, Associated Press, People Magazine, Self, Reuters, ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, ABA Journal, Atlantic, Vice, Daily News, New York Post, USA Today, the Chicago Tribune, Fox News, NPR, Huffington Post, and was profiled in the Advocate and Vanguard Law Magazine. His leadership has been recognized through many honors and awards from institutions such as the National LGBTQ+ Bar Association, Inaugural “Trans 100,” City Bar of New York, Brooklyn Law School OUTLaws, and Connecticut TransAdvocacy Coalition.
Dru is a 2021-2022 Wasserstein Public Interest Fellow at Harvard Law School, and graduated cum laude from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. He earned his law degree in 2006 from Western New England University School of Law. He is admitted to practice in DC, NY, GA, and MA.
Seth Rosen, Esq.
Director of Strategic Growth
Seth is an attorney and seasoned fundraiser and raises funds to support and expand the LGBTQ+ Bar’s work to promote justice and protect the LGBTQ+ community.
As a senior at Brandeis University, Seth spent a year at GLBTQ Legal Advocates and Defenders (GLAD) working as an intake volunteer. Answering countless questions from members of the LGBTQ+ community, Seth saw how a small, dedicated staff tackled enormous problems and helped thousands of people obtain the equality they deserved. The experience was life changing. It opened his eyes to the effectiveness of strategic advocacy and the power of perseverance. Seth’s commitment to social justice and public service led him to law school and then to litigating federal civil rights claims on behalf of the City of New York.
Since then, Seth has gained considerable expertise in nonprofit law and fundraising. He’s held leadership positions at major national and international organizations including Amnesty International USA. Millennium Promise and Malaria No More. He was also the Managing Director of Development, Communications, and Marketing at Gay Men’s Health Crisis, the world’s first HIV/AIDS service organization. Most recently Seth was a Senior Major Gifts Officer at Lambda Legal.
Seth received his J.D. from New York Law School and his M.P.A. from New York University. Seth and his husband, Dr. Jacob Goertz, reside in New York City with their two children and two increasingly plump cats.
Patrick O'Brien, Esq.
Patrick joined the LGBTQ+ Bar staff in October 2021 and provides substantive and administrative support to the programmatic work of the LGBTQ+ Bar, including the Bar’s largest annual event, “Lavender Law.” Patrick was a former LGBTQ+ Bar intern and Co-Chair of the Law Student Congress and is excited to re-join the organization in a full-time role! His early involvement with the LGBTQ+ Bar and his law school’s OutLaw solidified his passion for LGBTQ+ rights and the law. Prior to the LGBTQ+ Bar, Patrick worked in fundraising at various nonprofits in Ohio and was a Case Manager for individuals living with HIV/AIDS.
Patrick was born and raised in New Jersey but now lives in Cleveland, Ohio with his husband, Dan, and his dog, Reba. When he isn’t hard at work at the LGBTQ+ Bar, he enjoys going to restaurants, walking his dog, cooking, astrology, and Tarot cards. He is always interested in new experiences and adventures in different cities.
Patrick received his J.D. from University at Buffalo School of Law and his B.A. from Binghamton University.
Mari Nemec, Esq.
Mari joined the LGBTQ+ Bar staff in the summer of 2023 as the Bar’s first ever Policy Counsel. She provides substantive and legal support to the policy and programmatic work of the National LGBTQ+ Bar Association and Foundation, including monitoring and responding to legislative and judicial issues impacting the LGBTQ+ legal community. Prior to returning to the LGBTQ+ Bar, Mari was a Dorot Fellow at Alliance for Justice, where she prepared reports on federal judicial nominees and monitored the federal courts. She previously served as Manager of Public Affairs at the LGBTQ+ Bar. While in law school, Mari worked for Step Up to Justice, a local legal-aid in Tucson, Arizona, and participated in her school’s domestic violence law clinic. Additionally, she led the University of Arizona’s Pride Law and served as Co-Chair of the National LGBTQ+ Bar Association’s Law Student Congress for two years.
Mari received her J.D. from the University of Arizona James E. Rogers College of Law and her B.A. from the College of William and Mary. She lives in the Washington, D.C. area with her partner and their beloved blue heeler, Miss Matilda Fig. In her free time, Mari enjoys spending time with friends, family, and dogs as well as hiking, cross-stitching, and watching Bravo.
Nicole joined the LGBTQ+ Bar in November 2021 as the Development Manager and is responsible for cultivating donor relationships and expanding the Bar’s fundraising initiatives. She brings more than a decade of experience at nonprofit organizations, where she developed partnerships with donors and sponsors, produced successful fundraising events, and created engaging communications pieces. After spending 12 years in New York City, Nicole now lives in Maryland with her partners, her son, and a very temperamental cat. Outside of work, she loves singing, baking, and drinking strong coffee. She received her MPA in Nonprofit Management from Baruch College and her B.A. from the State University of New York College at Oneonta.
Logan joined the LGBTQ+ Bar staff in January 2019, working as its Operations Associate. In this role, he performed administrative tasks, maintained customer service with the organization’s members, and assisted with advocacy programming.
He currently works as the Development Associate, assisting with sponsors and donors and ensuring the membership of the Bar is vibrant and opportune. Logan brings prior nonprofit and administrative experience to the team, as well as passion for LGBTQ+ equality. He worked in retail for four and a half years, learning immensely about the human condition. He wants a career devoted to justice for all marginalized people, and puts his professional talent into causes he is passionate about.
Logan was born and raised in Louisville, Kentucky, where he attended the University of Louisville. He earned two bachelor’s degrees, graduating in 2017 with a B.S. in Geography and a B.A. in History. He moved to the Washington, DC area to pursue a career in social justice work. Now based remotely in Raleigh, North Carolina, he plans to eventually move home to Kentucky to assist in community organizing. In the meantime, he is learning that Cincinnati-style chili is not as beloved outside the Ohio Valley region as it should be. Logan is a lover of drag artists, maps, spicy food, cats, pop divas, and progressive politicians.