Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund Names Willkie Pro Bono Partner of Year

August 30, 2022

Willkie is honored for expanding access to transgender health care and gender-aligned legal identities.

The Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund (TLDEF) has named Willkie its “Pro Bono Partner of the Year” for its commitment to pro bono service and leadership in advancing legal equity for transgender and non-binary people.

The Firm is being honored for winning a landmark ruling in Georgia federal court that held that employers who refuse to cover gender-affirming care violate federal law. In June, the Court in Lange v. Houston County found that an employer cannot exclude or deny coverage for gender-affirming care under its employee health insurance plan. The ruling is the first of its kind in the South. The lawsuit was originally filed in 2019 by Willkie and the TLDEF, on behalf of Sgt. Anna Lange, a Sheriff’s Deputy for Houston County, Georgia, who was repeatedly denied insurance coverage for her medically necessary gender-affirming care.

The Willkie team was led by partner Wesley Powell, counsel Jill Grant and associate Catherine Fata.

In addition, the award recognizes Willkie’s ongoing work with TLDEF’s Name Change Project, which provides pro bono legal name change services to low-income transgender, gender non-conforming and non-binary people. In 2021, more than 20 Willkie lawyers participated in the Name Change Project and helped numerous individuals establish their new legal identities.

Willkie will be honored at TLDEF’s Pro Bono Recognition Dinner in New York City on September 13, 2022.

Read more about Willkie’s victory in Lange v. Houston County here.