Arthur S. Leonard
When Arthur Leonard first came to New York Law School in 1982,
only one state banned discrimination based on sexual orientation,
gay sex was illegal in half the country, and only a handful of lawyers
were actively litigating sexual orientation discrimination cases.
Today, he reports proudly, the situation has radically changed.
Using law to help win equality has been a guiding passion of
Professor Leonard’s, and he uses his role as a legal educator to
constructively help shape the law.
Over the past 40 years, Professor Leonard has written numerous
articles on employment law, AIDS law, and lesbian and gay law,
including an influential law review article in 1985 on AIDS
discrimination that helped form the nation’s legal response to the
AIDS epidemic. A frequent national spokesperson on sexual
orientation law, and an expert on the rapidly emerging area of gay
family law, he is also a contributing writer for Gay City News, New
York’s weekly lesbian and gay newspaper, and has written for
several other lesbian and gay newspapers in New York City.
Professor Leonard has held a variety of influential and activist
positions in civic and legal organizations, including trustee of
Lambda Legal, trustee of the Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies at
the City University of New York, and chair of the Section on Gay
and Lesbian Legal Issues of the Association of American Law
Schools. He is chair of the Corporate Compliance Committee and a
trustee of the Jewish Board of Family and Children’s Services of
New York. He is also a board member of TENET Vocal Artists, an
early music performing group based in New York City.
He has testified on the New York City gay rights bill, organized
forums that helped change rules on domestic partnership benefits,
and helped produce oft-cited studies of the court system and legal
profession that demonstrated the need for equality of opportunity
and treatment for minorities.
At NYLS, he advises the LGBT student group and has been an
effective advocate for change on lesbian and gay issues. In 2000,
Professor Leonard was honored by the School at a symposium
commemorating the 20th anniversary of the now-celebrated LGBT
Law Notes, an extensively-cited publication that chronicles the legal aspects of the lesbian and gay community. In 2010, the NYLS and
the LGBT Law Association Foundation honored him again on the
publication’s 30th anniversary.
Professor Leonard received the prestigious 2005 Dan Bradley
Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Lesbian and Gay
Law Association in recognition of his significant contributions to
the advance of LGBT rights under the law.
Tobias B. Wolff
Tobias Barrington Wolff writes and teaches in the fields of civil
procedure and complex litigation, the conflict of laws, constitutional
law, and LGBT rights.
He is co-author (with Linda Silberman and Allan Stein) of Civil Procedure: Theory and Practice
(Wolters Kluwer, 5th ed. 2017), and his recent articles include “Class Actions, Statutes of
Limitations and Repose, and Federal Common Law” (with Stephen Burbank) (University of
Pennsylvania Law Review), “Choice of Law and Jurisdictional Policy in the Federal Courts”
(University of Pennsylvania Law Review), “Scott v. Harris and the Future of Summary Judgment”
(Nevada Law Review), “Discretion in Class Certification” (University of Pennsylvania Law Review),
“Managerial Judging and Substantive Law” (Washington University Law Review), “Civil Rights
Reform and the Body” (Harvard Law & Policy Review), and “Redeeming the Missed
Opportunities of Shady Grove” (with Stephen Burbank) (University of Pennsylvania Law Review).
Wolff has served as pro bono counsel in many civil rights cases seeking equal treatment under law for LGBT people. He won the Beacon Award for Public Service in 2013 and the A. Leo Levin Award for Excellence in an Introductory Course in 2009.
Jeffrey S. Trachtman
Jeffrey S. Trachtman litigates complex bankruptcy, mass tort and securities fraud
matters, including some of the nation’s most significant and high-profile cases in
recent years. Skilled and accomplished both as writer and courtroom advocate,
Jeff has built a long and successful record representing clients in both trial and
appellate courts. Jeff is also a nationally recognized pro bono leader. In addition
to helping to build Kramer Levin’s award-winning program as chair of the firm’s
Pro Bono Committee for more than 17 years, Jeff has represented poverty law
and civil rights clients throughout his career, most notably in landmark marriage
equality cases in New York and before the U.S. Supreme Court.
As one of the principal litigators on behalf of breast implant tort claimants in the
Dow Corning bankruptcy, Jeff helped fashion, and obtain judicial approval for, the
$3.17 billion settlement. He continues to represent the interests of tort claimants
in the Settlement Facility – Dow Corning Trust as lead counsel for the Claimants’
Advisory Committee. Jeff has also helped lead litigation teams in bankruptcies
and class actions involving asbestos and diet drugs, and on behalf of the
creditors’ committees in the massive Chrysler, General Motors and Residential
He also has represented creditors or creditor groups in such other well-known
bankruptcy cases as Adelphia, Washington Mutual and WorldCom. Earlier in his
career, Jeff helped lead a team of lawyers that obtained a $90 million recovery –
at the time, one of the largest arbitration awards – in a contract and securities
fraud action arising out of a failed merger between Gulf Oil and Cities Service
Jeff has distinguished himself as an appellate advocate, winning reversal in the
Seventh Circuit of a valuation decision in the United Airlines bankruptcy – more
than doubling the recovery of Los Angeles International Airport bondholders –
and serving as lead counsel in several Sixth Circuit appeals involving plan
interpretation disputes in the Dow Corning case. He has also argued three
Second Circuit appeals involving constitutional and administrative law issues
affecting Social Security disability claimants and served as lead author on
innumerable amicus briefs in the U.S. Supreme Court and other federal appellate
Throughout his career, Jeff has committed himself to pro bono activities. He
helped build Kramer Levin’s widely praised program as chair of the firm’s Pro
Bono Committee from 1994 to 2011. During his tenure, the firm received major
awards from the American Bar Association, the National Law Journal, the New
York State Bar Association and the Legal Aid Society.
In his own pro bono activities, Jeff has litigated extensively in the area of Social
Security disability, as well as civil rights and civil liberties, with a particular focus
on LGBT rights, including serving as co-counsel with Lambda Legal in the New
York State marriage equality litigation and submitting amicus briefs to the U.S.
Supreme Court in the Dale, Lawrence, Windsor, Perry and Obergefell cases. As
a result of these efforts, Kramer Levin earned the Empire State Pride Agenda’s
2009 Equality@Work Award, given in recognition of the firm’s “historic pro bono
litigation” on behalf of the LGBT community.
Jeff has been recognized for his personal pro bono efforts, including receiving
the New York University School of Law OUTLaw 2015 Alumnus of the Year
Award, the City Bar Association’s 2014 Arthur S. Leonard Award for distinguished
service on behalf of the LGBT community, the 2013 American Bar Association Pro
Bono Publico Award and the 2005 New York State Bar Association President’s
Pro Bono Service Award. He is co-founder and was a longtime director of Cause
Effective, an organization that teaches other nonprofits how to generate human
and financial resources. He currently serves on the boards of Volunteers of Legal
Service and the Musical Theatre Factory.