Annual Update 2009 - Staff
Front Row (L-R): Lexi Adams, Jay Kaplan, Genie Cortex, Sharon McGowan;
Second Row: Chris Hampton, Katie Smith, Shelbi Day, Lori Rifkin, Elizabeth Gill;
Third Row: Robert Nakatani, Nora Ranney, Anna Mumford, Sam Ritchie, Leslie Cooper, Christine Sun;
Back Row: James Esseks, John Knight, Paul Cates, Ken Choe, Rose Saxe, Matt Coles
LEXI ADAMS is the major gifts officer. She joined the staff in 2002 to work on our development and public education programs.
CHRIS ANDERS is the federal policy director and legislative counsel to the ACLU’s Washington National Office, responsible for advancing the Project’s mission on Capitol Hill and in the White House.
PAUL CATES is the public education director. A former attorney for the New York City Legal Aid Society, he came to the ACLU after working at Pro- Media Communications.
KEN CHOE, senior staff attorney, has been with the Project since 2000. Before joining the ACLU, he was a political appointee in the Clinton administration focusing on health care law and policy.
MATTHEW COLES has been director of the Project since 1995. Previously, he was a staff attorney at the ACLU of Northern California.
LESLIE COOPER, senior staff attorney, joined the Project in 1998. She was an attorney at Robinson Silverman Pearce Aronsohn & Berman LLP in New York.
GENIE CORTEZ is the development director. Prior to joining us, she worked as a senior director for Changing Our World, Inc., a national fundraising and philanthropic services consulting firm.
JARED DAVIDSON is the paralegal. He joined the Project after working as a legal assistant for the ACLU’s Racial Justice Program.
SHELBI DAY is an attorney in the ACLU of Florida’s LGBT Litigation Project. Prior to joining the ACLU of Florida, Shelbi worked at a private practice in Tampa.
JAMES ESSEKS is the Project’s litigation director. James was a partner at New York’s Vladeck, Waldman, Elias & Engelhard, P.C.
MATT FAIELLA is a staff attorney at the New York Civil Liberties Union, where he specializes on LGBT issues. He previously worked as a staff attorney at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit, in Atlanta.
ELIZABETH GILL is a senior staff attorney, based in San Francisco, who splits her time with the Project and the ACLU of Northern California. She joined the Project after working at Caldwell, Leslie, Newcombe & Pettit in Los Angeles and clerking in federal trial and appellate courts.
CHRIS HAMPTON is the public education associate. Previously, she worked for Lambda Legal and the University of Kansas and was a reporter and editor for a gay newspaper.
JAY KAPLAN has been the staff attorney at the ACLU of Michigan’s LGBT Project since its founding in 2001. Prior to that he worked for a disability rights agency and specialized in HIV/AIDS legal issues.
JOHN A. KNIGHT is a senior staff attorney based in Chicago and also the Director of the Lesbian and Gay Rights Project at the ACLU of Illinois. Previously, he was a trial attorney with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
SHARON MCGOWAN started as a staff attorney in August 2004 and was previously the ACLU’s Brennan First Amendment Fellow. She previously worked for Jenner & Block and was part of the litigation team on Lawrence v. Texas.
ANA MUMFORD is a program strategist. Prior to coming to the Project, she worked for SEIU and on the John Edwards for President campaign.
ROBERT NAKATANI is senior strategist. Previously, he was the Project’s Development Director for seven years.
NORA RANNEY is legislative and field director. Nora joined the Project after working as a policy analyst for the New York City Council speaker, and previously worked with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and several issue-based and candidate campaigns.
LORI RIFKIN is a staff attorney at the ACLU of Southern California and focuses on LGBT and women’s rights. Previously, she worked for Rosen, Bien & Galvan, a civil rights law firm in San Francisco, and the ACLU of Connecticut.
SAM RITCHIE is the public education coordinator. Previously he worked for the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) and in film production.
ROB ROSENWALD leads the ACLU of Florida’s LGBT Litigation Project. Prior to joining the ACLU of Florida, Rob worked at a private practice in Miami.
ROSE SAXE started as a staff attorney in the fall of 2004. Before joining the ACLU, she was an associate at Rosen Preminger & Bloom LLP, a small firm in New York City specializing in employee benefits law.
KATIE SMITH is the staff assistant for the LGBT Project. She joined the Project in 2007, after graduating from Barnard College of Columbia University.
CHRISTINE SUN joined the Project and the ACLU of Southern California as a staff attorney in 2005. Previously, she worked on LGBT rights issues with the ACLU of Northern California and was an associate at Keker & Van Nest, LLP.