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Focused on the greater New York metropolitan area, LeGaL is dedicated to improving the administration of the law, ensuring full equality for members of the LGBT community, promoting the expertise and advancement of LGBT legal professionals, and serving the larger community. We are also committed to: Educating the public on legal issues facing LGBT people; Fostering membership participation in pro bono activities benefiting the LGBT community; Eliminating homophobia and transphobia in the justice system; Encouraging judicial and other governmental appointment of those who oppose discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity; Encouraging members of the LGBT community to choose law as a career; and Promoting solidarity among members of the LGBT legal community.
LeGaL was one of the nation’s first bar associations of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) legal community and remains one of the largest and most active organizations of its kind in the country. LeGaL began as a social organization. In May 1978, ten people met in Professor Art Leonard’s living room and formed the New York Law Group, which met on a monthly basis for informal social gatherings. In 1994, the LeGaL Foundation, a 501(c)(3) organization that publishes LGBT Law Notes, the most comprehensive monthly publication summarizing legal developments affecting the LGBT community here and abroad. The Foundation also conducts a weekly walk-in pro bono clinic at Manhattan's LGBT Community Center serving hundreds of individuals each year, along with a similar clinic in Newark and a Youth Clinic with Sanctuary for Families, sponsors the Dr. M.L. Hank Henry, Jr. Fund for Judicial Fellowships and, among its many other activities, runs the area's only career fair dedicated to first-year LGBT law students.