Christopher Clark is a Senior Staff Attorney in the Midwest Regional Office of Lambda Legal, the oldest and largest organization dedicated to advancing the civil rights of lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, transgender people and those with HIV. His work includes the legal recognition of same-sex relationships, employment discrimination, family law, students’ rights and transgender rights. Clark was actively involved in Lambda Legal’s efforts to secure civil unions for same-sex couples in Illinois.
Clark recently represented a 16-year-old Ohio high school student who was threatened with suspension for wearing a T-shirt to school that included the message “Jesus Is Not a Homophobe.” Clark obtained a judgment finding that the school district and principal had violated the student’s First Amendment rights, awarding damages and attorneys’ fees, and enjoining the defendants from interfering with the student’s right to wear the T-shirt.
Clark represents the statewide equality group Fair Wisconsin and five same-sex couples in their defense against a legal challenge to Wisconsin’s domestic partnership registry—a registry that provides important legal protections for Wisconsin families. In Ohio, Clark represented a woman in a child custody dispute against her former partner and the sperm donor who both argued that the woman is a “legal stranger” to her daughter because she is not the biological parent. Clark argued the matter in the Ohio Supreme Court.
Clark has also done significant work on behalf of the transgender community. He represented an indigent transgender woman in her successful effort to persuade the Illinois Supreme Court to order officials in Will County, Illinois, to file and consider her motion to change her legal name and her petition for a waiver of the associated filing fees. He also obtained a favorable settlement on behalf of a young transgender woman in Indiana who was barred from her high school prom because she was wearing a dress.
Prior to joining Lambda Legal, Clark worked for over 10 years as a commercial litigator in private practice. He became a partner at the law firm of Sachnoff & Weaver. He is an accomplished trial attorney, having represented clients in bench and jury trials in federal and state courts, as well as in numerous mediations, arbitrations and administrative proceedings.
When the Sachnoff firm merged with Reed Smith in 2007, Clark was appointed the deputy leader of the Chicago litigation practice of the combined firm. He also served on the LGBT sub-committee of the firm’s diversity committee.
Clark graduated with honors from the University of Chicago Law School in 1996, where he was the recipient of the Stonewall Scholarship, given to the student most likely to advance the cause of civil rights for LGBT people. Clark received his undergraduate degree, cum laude, from Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs in 1987.
Clark is currently an adjunct professor at the Northwestern University School of Law where he teaches Sexual Orientation and the Law.