Julie Wilensky, Esq., Senior Staff Attorney

Julie Wilensky, Esq. she / her / hers

Senior Staff Attorney

Julie Wilensky is a senior staff attorney at the National Center for Lesbian Rights.

Julie’s practice focuses on litigation and advocacy to ensure the equal treatment of LGBTQ+ people in many contexts, including employment and employee benefits, education, housing, and health care. Working with broad coalitions of youth, community members, and advocates, Julie led NCLR’s successful efforts to challenge state laws in South Carolina and Arizona that restricted discussion of LGBTQ+ people in public school health education.

Before she joined NCLR, Julie was a deputy county counsel at the Santa Clara County Counsel’s Office, where she was a member of the Social Justice and Impact Litigation team. Previously, she was senior counsel at Disability Rights California, the director of the California office of the Civil Rights Education and Enforcement Center, and a shareholder at Lewis, Feinberg, Lee & Jackson, P.C., where she litigated employment discrimination, disability access, and employee benefits class actions. She also represented same-sex spouses and transgender people in cases involving pension and health benefits. Julie began her legal career as a Thomas Emerson fellow at David Rosen & Associates. She served as a law clerk to Judge Nicholas G. Garaufis of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York and to Judge John T. Noonan, Jr. of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

Julie received the wayOUT Leadership Award from the Bay Area wayOUT chapter in 2019. In 2018, she was a recipient of a California Lawyer Attorney of the Year (CLAY) Award. Julie has also been recognized by the Daily Journal as one of California’s Top 40 Lawyers Under 40 and Top Women Lawyers, and by the National LGBT Bar Association as one of the Best LGBT Lawyers Under 40.

Julie serves as a councilmember on the California Fair Employment and Housing Council, which promulgates regulations implementing California’s civil rights laws. She was appointed by Governor Gavin Newsom in January 2021. She is a past board member of NCLR and of BALIF, the Bay Area’s LGBTQI bar association.

Julie received her J.D. from Yale Law School, where she was an articles and essays editor of the Yale Law Journal, and her B.A. summa cum laude from Yale College.

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