Jon W. Davidson is Legal Director and Eden/Rushing Chair at Lambda Legal, the largest and oldest national legal organization committed to achieving full recognition of the civil rights of lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, transgender people and those with HIV. Based in the organization’s Western Regional Office, he is responsible for strategically guiding Lambda Legal’s legal work and supervising the organization’s attorneys, Legal Help Desk specialists, and legal assistants in all five of Lambda Legal’s offices.
In his more than 15 years at Lambda Legal, Davidson has been counsel in cases that have won lesbians and gay men the freedom to marry; protected domestic partner benefits against attack; championed the rights of LGBT students; secured asylum for LGBT people persecuted in their home countries; and put an end to HIV-related discrimination in employment, insurance and public accommodations. Davidson also has helped reform antigay practices of the Los Angeles Police Department and was the co-drafter of AB 205, California's comprehensive Domestic Partner Rights and Responsibilities Act.
Davidson joined Lambda Legal in 1995, and previously served as Senior Counsel in its Western Regional Office. Prior to that, Davidson was head of the Lesbian and Gay Rights Project of the ACLU of Southern California, whose staff he joined in 1988. From 1980 to 1988, Davidson was an associate, and then a partner, at Irell & Manella, one of Los Angeles's leading law firms, where he specialized in litigation involving the media and the entertainment industry.
From 1979 to 1980, Davidson served as a law clerk to Hon. William Matthew Byrne, Jr., of the United States District Court for the Central District of California. Davidson has been an Adjunct Professor of Law at the UCLA School of Law, University of Southern California Law Center, Loyola Law School, and Whittier Law School, where he has taught law classes dealing with sexual orientation and HIV-related issues. The Stanford University and Yale Law School graduate also has served as an advisory member of the Subcommittee on Sexual Orientation Fairness of the California State Judicial Council's Committee on Access and Fairness and of the Legal Advisory Committee to Los Angeles's HIV and AIDS Legal Services Alliance. In 2010, Davidson was presented with the Dan Bradley Award by the National LGBT Bar Association, the organization’s highest honor.