Achieving LGBT Equality Through Litigation, Legislation, Policy, and Public Education

David Codell, Esq.

Constitutional Litigation Director

David Codell is a nationally respected litigator and constitutional law expert who joined NCLR as its Constitutional Litigation Director in 2014. Codell came to NCLR with extensive experience in constitutional and civil rights litigation, having helped to develop groundbreaking legal theories in landmark cases regarding marriage equality and family recognition, the rights of LGBT youth, and constitutional scrutiny of discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. In addition, Codell recently served as Visiting Legal Director of the Williams Institute, UCLA School of Law’s prominent think tank focusing on sexual orientation and gender identity law and policy.

Prior to joining NCLR’s staff, Codell worked as co-counsel with NCLR in dozens of cases over the course of more than a decade and devoted thousands of pro bono hours to the LGBT community. He served as lead counsel with NCLR and other organizations in a series of lawsuits upholding California’s comprehensive domestic partnership laws. Codell also served as co-counsel with NCLR in the historic litigation in which the California Supreme Court ruled that California must permit same-sex couples to marry and that laws that discriminate based on sexual orientation are subject to the strictest level of scrutiny.

Codell received his bachelor’s degree summa cum laude from Harvard College, and his J.D. degree magna cum laude from Harvard Law School, where he was a Supreme Court Editor of the Harvard Law Review. Following law school, he served as a law clerk for Judge David S. Tatel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit and as a law clerk for Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg of the U.S. Supreme Court.

Following his clerkships, Codell practiced constitutional law in association with Laurence H. Tribe in Cambridge, Massachusetts, later became a partner at Irell & Manella LLP in Los Angeles, and in 2003 opened his own law office, which he ran for over a decade, focusing on constitutional, commercial, intellectual property, and entertainment litigation.

Codell has been honored by many organizations for his advocacy and is a frequent speaker about legal issues at universities and continuing legal education events. Codell is based in West Hollywood, CA.

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