Michele Kahn Receives Inaugural LGBTQ+ Vanguard Award

By David Howard King

January 18, 2022

Michele Kahn Receives Inaugural LGBTQ+ Vanguard Award


By David Howard King

Michele Kahn will receive the New York State Bar Association’s inaugural LGBTQ+ Vanguard Award for her decades of advocacy for the LGBTQ community.

The award will be presented at the New York State Bar Association’s Annual Meeting on Wednesday Jan. 19 at 2:30 p.m. Kahn became the first chair of NYSBA’s Special Committee on LGBTQ People and The Law in 2008 and helped drive the organization’s support of same sex marriage.

“Michele Kahn has been a pioneer of LGBTQ+ rights and family law for many decades,” said LGBTQ Section Chair Christopher R. Riano. “Michele has done more for our community than any of us can possibly express, including with her formative leadership here at the New York State Bar Association. Her work has assisted countless LGBTQ+ couples, and we could not be more honored to give her our inaugural annual Vanguard Award.”

Kahn earned her degree from Boston University School of Law with honors before going on to work at two large New York City law firms. Soon she launched her own practice and then in 2006 joined with Eric Goldberg to create Kahn Goldberg.

NYSBA’s LGBTQ Law Section will host two panels ahead of the award ceremony. The first, Representing LGBTQ Clients and Ethical Considerations, will explore unique challenges faced by lawyers in providing representation to LGBTQ clients. The panel will run from 12:35 p.m. to 1:25 p.m. and will feature an exemplary panel featuring Hon. Lewis A. Silverman, judicial hearing officer of the Suffolk County District Court; Samuel W. Buchbauer of the Law Offices of David A. Caraway; Sarah M. Telson, deputy director of legal services for the LGBTQ Anti-Violence Project, and Erin Harrist, supervising attorney for the Legal Aid Society Law and Policy Unit.

The second panel, New York LGBTQ Policy Update and the Federal Equality Act, runs from 1:30 p.m. to 2:20 p.m. and features panelists Richard Saenz, senior attorney for Lambda Legal, Chinyere Ezie, senior staff attorney, Center for Constitutional Rights; Charlie Arrowood, name change project counsel for the Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund.

Honoring attorneys who render extraordinary service to the public and the profession is part of NYSBA’s Annual Meeting tradition. The 145th Annual Meeting will focus on more than 65 different topics from Jan. 18 to 28. Subjects include Law and Ethics during the Pandemic: Individual Rights vs the Common Good; New York State’s Surprise Billing Law Against the Backdrop of the Federal No Surprises Act; New York Energy Leadership: Can NY Become a Hub for the Energy Industry?; and Prosecutors and the Color of Justice: The Role of the Prosecutor in Reforming the Criminal Justice System. 

The Presidential Summit on Thursday, Jan. 20, will focus on two of the leading social justice and civil rights matters of the day: a reevaluation of the #MeToo Movement, and the intersection of transgender rights and sports. Attorney General Letitia James will provide the keynote address.  

Other featured speakers at the Annual Meeting include Court of Appeals Judge Anthony Cannataro; Lily Batchelder, assistant secretary for tax policy, Department of the Treasury; and retired Court of Appeals Judge Leslie Stein, director of the Government Law Center at Albany Law School.  

For more information on NYSBA’s Annual Meeting, click here. Media are invited to most virtual programs but please notify Susan DeSantis at [email protected] or 201-575-5756 and Brandon Vogel at [email protected] or 518-487-5644. 

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