Susan Sommer is Senior Counsel and Director of Constitutional Litigation for Lambda Legal, the oldest and largest national legal organization committed to achieving full recognition of the civil rights of lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, transgender people and people with HIV.
Sommer handles groundbreaking litigation and also oversees the work of several attorneys in all areas of Lambda Legal's work, including fighting for equal recognition of same-sex relationships, fighting for the rights of lesbian and gay parents and battling antigay discrimination in employment, housing, public accommodations and law enforcement.
Sommer is the director of Lambda Legal's Youth in Out-of-Home Care Project, which aims to ensure that LGBT youth in foster care are safe and supported. She leads a historic joint partnership between Lambda Legal and the Child Welfare League of America that will make LGBT youth a clear priority for state and local children's agencies around the country.
Sommer was the lead attorney on Lambda Legal's lawsuit that convinced the Arkansas Supreme Court to strike down the state's antigay sodomy law and clearly identify a right to privacy in the state's Constitution for the first time. She played a key role in Lawrence v. Texas, Lambda Legal's landmark U.S. Supreme Court case that struck down Texas' "Homosexual Conduct" law.
A seasoned litigator, Sommer came to Lambda Legal from Lankler Siffert & Wohl in New York, where she specialized in commercial, securities, antitrust, not-for-profit federal and state civil litigation, white collar criminal defense, and regulatory and attorney disciplinary proceedings. Earlier, Sommer taught at Brooklyn Law School and was a litigation associate at Davis Polk & Wardwell.
Sommer clerked for U.S. District Court Judge William Schwarzer in the Northern District of California. A 1986 graduate of Yale Law School, Sommer served as notes editor at the Yale Law & Policy Review. She received her bachelor's degree in American Studies from Yale, graduating Phi Beta Kappa and summa cum laude.