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Two lawyers join organization's national headquarters in New York
September 18, 1998

(NEW YORK, September 18, 1998) -- The nation's oldest and largest gay legal advocacy group just got bigger. Marvin C. Peguese and Doni Gewirtzman have joined the national headquarters of Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund as staff attorneys, bringing the total number of lawyers throughout Lambda's offices in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and Atlanta to 16.

"We're thrilled to add two very talented, energetic and committed young attorneys to our staff," Lambda Managing Attorney Ruth Harlow said. "At a time when anti-gay backlash is especially virulent, we have a lot left to do to gain full equal rights and respect."

Peguese is an alumnus of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and also holds a master's degree in political science from Stanford. He graduated in 1998 from the University of California at Berkeley School of Law (Boalt Hall) where he was editor-in-chief of the African-American Law & Policy Report and the inaugural recipient of the Brian M. Sax Prize for Excellence in Clinical Advocacy.

He has interned for the Office of the City Attorney in San Francisco and conducted research on voting rights, race relations, and immigration matters for the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights. The North Carolina native will concentrate on Lambda's work in youth, criminal, and immigration law. "As I help Lambda pursue its impact litigation and advocacy work, I hope to maintain and build alliances with other civil rights organizations," said Peguese. "The fight for the civil rights of lesbians, gay men and people with HIV and AIDS is bound to other civil rights struggles."

Gewirtzman received his undergraduate degree from Wesleyan University. Also a 1998 graduate of Boalt Hall, he was senior Notes and Comments editor of the California Law Review. He is a past recipient of the Coro Fellowship in Public Affairs and interned in Lambda's Western Regional Office in Los Angeles in 1996.

He joins Lambda as its second Skadden Fellow (the first was Suzanne Goldberg, now a Lambda staff attorney), part of a program established by the law firm Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom to encourage young lawyers to work in the public interest for those with limited economic resources. Gewirtzman will focus on litigation, advocacy, and policy efforts to advance the rights of lesbian and gay senior citizens.

"Lambda consistently breaks new legal ground for our community. Now that Lambda is specially focusing on the legal needs of older lesbians and gay men, I'm very excited to be part of its efforts to shape this largely unexamined area of the law," Gewirtzman said.

Lambda Legal Director Beatrice Dohrn added, "Anti-gay extremist groups outspend Lambda ten-to-one. Attorneys of Marvin's and Doni's caliber on Lambda's staff certainly helps to even out the odds."

The additions come on the eve of Lambda's silver anniversary on October 18. Founded in 1973, Lambda is a national organization committed to achieving full recognition of the civil rights of lesbians, gay men, and people with HIV/AIDS through impact litigation, education, and public policy work.

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Contact: Peg Byron 212-809-8585; Ruth Harlow 212-809-8585


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