Dates of advising: January 19-21
Dru Levasseur is the Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion for the National LGBTQ+ Bar Association. As a leading figure in the LGBTQ+ equality movement for 25 years, 15 of which in the legal profession, Dru has extensive experience in law, advocacy, philanthropy, and community organizing. He leads the LGBTQ+ Bar’s DEI Consulting Practice, Lavender Law 365®, the only LGBTQ+ inclusion coaching and consulting program designed specifically to enable the implementation of best practice standards for LGBTQ+ equity across law firms, law schools, and companies.
Previously, Dru was Senior Attorney and Transgender Rights Project Director for Lambda Legal, the nation’s oldest and largest legal organization committed to achieving full recognition of the civil rights of LGBTQ+ people and people living with HIV. From 2009 to 2019, a critical time in history for advancing the civil rights of transgender people, Dru led Lambda Legal’s transgender rights work through strategy development, impact litigation, policy advocacy, and public education. He served as counsel in landmark impact litigation cases and amicus briefs in federal courts, including the U.S. Supreme Court. Dru represented Robina Asti, a 92-year-old WWII veteran, in a successful challenge to the Social Security Administration, leading to clarified policy for fairly processing survivor’s benefits. In McCreery v. Don’s Valley Market, he secured a landmark settlement before the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission for a transgender woman fired after transitioning in the workplace. He was co-counsel in Esquivel v. Oregon, resulting in the removal of discriminatory restrictions on transition-related health care for all transgender employees of the State of Oregon, and in Fields v. Smith, a federal case successfully challenging a discriminatory Wisconsin law barring its Department of Corrections from providing medically necessary care for transgender inmates. Under Dru’s decade of leadership, Lambda Legal’s transgender rights litigation docket more than tripled, integrating transgender rights across all areas of work, including health care, employment, education, criminal justice, housing and family law.
Dru was instrumental in the creation and development of Lambda Legal’s Transgender Rights Project in 2013, as well as Lambda’s most popular online publication, the Transgender Toolkit. He led the coalition work to publish the first Trans-Affirming Model Hospital Policy with the New York City Bar Association, Hogan Lovells, Proskauer Rose LLP, and the Human Rights Campaign. The guide has been well-received nationally by hospitals and adopted by government officials. As lead on Lambda Legal’s transgender rights advocacy efforts, Dru participated in the White House’s first transgender policy meeting in 2011, and met regularly with key federal, state and local officials, advising on development and implementation of policy. He represented Lambda Legal in international forums, including the World Health Organization in Geneva, Switzerland, and transgender rights INCLO convenings in Cape Town, South Africa and Buenos Aires, Argentina. A thought leader on cutting-edge issues, Dru authored “Gender Identity Defines Sex: Updating the Law to Reflect Modern Medical Science Is Key to Transgender Rights,” published by Vermont Law Review and excerpted in the book Love Unites Us, highlighting the future of LGBTQ+ rights.
Prior to joining Lambda Legal, Dru was the first staff attorney at Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund, and before that, served as a law clerk in the Massachusetts Superior Court. In 2007, Dru co-founded the Jim Collins Foundation, a trans-led national nonprofit that funds surgeries for transgender people in need, funding twenty surgeries in ten years. He continues to serve as a working group member for Grantmakers United for Trans Communities. Dru also serves on the boards of the ERA Coalition and Fund for Women’s Equality.
Dru graduated cum laude from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. He earned his law degree in 2006 from Western New England University School of Law. He is admitted to practice in DC, NY, GA, and MA.