Local lawyer named to national LGBT legal board

Philadelphia attorney Kevin Ray was recently elected to the board of directors of the National LGBT Bar Association.

Ray, 47, practices with Greenberg Traurig LLP, in the company’s business reorganization and bankruptcy and financial institution practices divisions.

Ray grew up in the suburbs of Pittsburgh and received his bachelor’s and two master’s degrees — in arts and library sciences — from the University of Pittsburgh.

He moved to St. Louis, Mo., after graduation and worked as the director of rare books, manuscripts and art collections at Washington University, where he attained his doctorate degree in English and comparative literature.

Ray said he eventually felt drawn to law and earned his law degree from Washington University in 2001, then moved to Philadelphia the same year.

He became involved with the National LGBT Bar Association the following year, after serving on the host committee for the organization’s annual Lavender Law conference, which took place that year in Philadelphia.

Ray said he decided to pursue the board position to continue to expand and build upon the board work he’s already accomplished with other local organizations.

He served as treasurer of the board of directors of Equality Forum from 2004-06 and, since then, has been board chair, a position that ends this summer.

Ray is also the chair of the Human Rights Campaign’s corporate sponsorship committee and a member of the Philadelphia Bar Association’s Committee on Gay and Lesbian Rights, and has worked as a board member of Equality Advocates of Pennsylvania and the Gay and Lesbian Lawyers of Philadelphia.

“I’m wrapping up what is a six-year tenure on the board of Equality Forum, which will be concluding in June of ’09,” he said. “I have a lot of administrative board experience and a very real interest in the legal issues that are particular to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender persons. I was looking for the next step of involvement, and the National LGBT Bar Association is a very active group.”

The organization has been an official affiliate of the American Bar Association since 1992 and currently serves as the umbrella organization for 25 LGBT law groups in cities and states across the country, such as GALLOP.

Ray said the election process was a multifaceted undertaking that he began last fall.

“In the fall, the association sent out a call for nominations and then after that, I had a call from D’Arcy Kemnitz, the head of the Bar Association. She gave me a call and we talked about what their needs were and what the position would entail and I then had to submit a statement of interest. After that, they narrowed down the pool of candidates and then there was a meeting with some of the current board members, and then in February at the annual mid-winter meeting, they voted on the incoming board members.”

The organization and its 501 (c)(3) nonprofit branch together have 24 board members.

Kemnitz said there were about 20 applicants for three board positions and that Ray stood out as a valuable addition to the group.

“Kevin’s just wonderful, especially with his history of work with Equality Forum,” she said. “We’re delighted to have him.”

Michael L. Lehr, regional operating shareholder of Greenberg Traurig, commended Ray’s election.

“We are proud to support Kevin in his new position at the LGBT Bar. His wide-ranging legal experience and numerous community-service affiliations make him an excellent choice for this role,” Lehr said.

Ray will serve a two-year term and is eligible for re-election. Jen Colletta can be reached at [email protected].