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

Press Release

Federal Legislation & Policy

Constitutional Law Expert David Codell Joins NCLR

(San Francisco, CA, January 13, 2014)—The National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) is pleased to announce that nationally respected litigator and constitutional law expert David Codell has joined NCLR as its Constitutional Litigation Director. Codell comes to NCLR with extensive experience in civil rights litigation and most 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.

Codell has worked as co-counsel with NCLR in dozens of cases over the last decade. 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. He recently has been assisting NCLR in drafting and defending laws that prohibit mental health professionals from subjecting their minor patients to so-called “reparative therapy” to change their sexual orientation or gender identity.

For many years, Codell has devoted thousands of pro bono hours to the LGBT community. He has 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.

“Everyone at NCLR is thrilled to have David join us as Constitutional Litigation Director after more than a decade of working together as co-counsel,” said NCLR Executive Director Kate Kendell.“David is one of the most dedicated and brilliant lawyers in our movement. This is an important moment in LGBT legal history, and it is terrific news that David will be working in this new capacity.”

Said Codell: “I am deeply honored to be joining my NCLR friends and colleagues, and I look forward to serving the LGBT community through my work at NCLR. We have exciting work ahead of us in NCLR’s marriage equality cases in Utah, Tennessee, and Idaho, and in litigation in California and New Jersey protecting LGBT youth from harmful mental health practices.”

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. Codell then 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 has run for over a decade. While working at NCLR, he will be based in West Hollywood, CA.

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