April 20, 2023

On March 8, Willkie and client MetLife teamed up through a limited-scope clinic to provide pro bono legal services to 10 low-income transgender New Yorkers seeking to change their legal name. Legal Services NYC, the largest civil legal services provider in the United States and a long-time Willkie pro bono partner, provided the client referrals, training and supervision. 

Following the hybrid training on applying for name and gender marker changes for low-income transgender New Yorkers, the Willkie/MetLife teams met in-person or virtually with their clients. The teams then drafted the petitions and gathered supporting documentation in preparation to file in New York City Civil Court.

Through this clinic, the legal and non-legal volunteers’ efforts will significantly impact the clients they assisted. Once the orders are issued by the court, these clients will have a legal name that matches their gender identity and can obtain government identification that matches their new legal name. Legal name changes help clients avoid inquiry and discrimination in employment, encounters with police, and other threats to their privacy and safety, as well as supporting their emotional wellbeing.

The MetLife volunteers included Peggy Allen, Mauricio Andrade, Nanci Blaisdell, Ana Caicedo, Pat Curran, Jon Damon, Fernanda Franco, Jackie Hehir, Miriam Hernandez, Nichola Issardin, Jared Jamesson, Audrey Kucia, Kate Lindsay, Matt Michaels, Mat Momen, Sarita Pillai, and Kat Skilton. 

The Willkie volunteers included partners Sameer Advani, Sarah Gelb, Shaimaa Hussein, Christopher St. Jeanos and Rita Molesworth; counsel Conrad Bahlke; associates Sarah Abel, Arianne Connell, Kelsey Gedin, Adam Lorenzana, Lana Makoviy, Brianna McRae, Joshua Nelson, Timothy Ryan, Danielle Stadler and Xueer (Sherry) Yu; law clerks Jack Clarke, Philip Dalgarno, Steven Dhesi, Margaret Ebacher-Rini, Andrew O’Connor and Alison Robins. Willkie pro bono paralegal Yudelka Peralta, senior administrative assistant Miriam Medina, and legal recruiting assistant Rachel Weber also provided assistance.

Arianne Connell
Arianne Connell Associate Corporate & Financial Services
Jack Clarke Law Clerk Corporate & Financial Services
Philip Dalgarno Associate Business Reorganization & Restructuring
Andrew O'Connor Associate Corporate & Financial Services