June 21, 2022

Willkie partners are honored for their accomplishments and leadership in advancing diversity, equity and inclusion.

Pro Bono Practice Group Co-Chair Wesley Powell and M&A Litigation Practice Group Co-Chair Sameer Advani were named among the “Notable 2022 LGBTQ Leaders” by Crain’s New York Business. The series recognizes outstanding LGBTQ professionals across the New York business community who have made significant strides in advancing diversity, equity and inclusion.

A partner in Willkie’s Litigation Department, Wes serves as Co-Chair of the Firm’s Pro Bono Practice, where he leads pro bono efforts on a broad range of civil rights matters, including landmark cases protecting LGBTQ rights. Wes is among the nation’s leading law firm advocates for the transgender community and has fought for transgender rights with respect to healthcare coverage of gender-affirming care, access to restrooms, and asylum, among other matters. He helped establish the right of low-income transgender New Yorkers to Medicaid coverage for gender-affirming healthcare in the landmark case Cruz v. Zucker, and has continued to advocate for transgender government employees denied coverage under government-sponsored health plans. Wes recently helped secure another landmark victory in  Lange v. Houston County, when a Georgia federal court ruled that employers who refuse to cover gender-affirming care violate federal law. The lawsuit was originally filed in 2019 by Willkie and the Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund.

Sameer Advani is a partner in Willkie’s Litigation Department and serves as Co-Chair of the Firm’s M&A Litigation Practice Group. A longtime member of Willkie’s diversity and inclusion committee, Sameer has contributed to many of the Firm’s LGBTQ-focused initiatives, including the addition of pronouns to attorney email signatures. He also participates in New York City’s Pride Parade alongside LGBTQ organization and pro bono client Immigration Equality, and serves as a mentor for the Firm’s LGBTQ affinity group. Sameer has also led teams of associates and Willkie clients to file name change petitions for transgender New Yorkers.

Read Crain’s New York Business’ “Notable 2022 LGBTQ Leaders”  (subscription may be required).

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